“In the liturgy God is speaking to his people and Christ is still proclaiming his gospel!”
— Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Liturgy, 7, 33
What Lectors Do
Lectors read the Word of God at Masses and other Liturgies. They share with the priests the task of making the Word of God come alive for the parishioners at Mass.
Qualities of a Good Lector
- Knowledge, appreciation and love for the scriptures
- The maturity and ability to proclaim the scriptures with poise and confidence
- An understanding of the role of scripture in daily life, the liturgy, the
sacraments, and the liturgical seasons
- Good public speaking skills
- Ability to convey warmth, to gain and keep the congregation’s attention, and to motivate others through speech
- A commitment to live the message of the scriptures that is being proclaimed
How To Prepare
You should have been given a Lectors Workbook which contains the Sunday Readings and Gospels for the current year. If you don’t have one contact the Rectory. The Workbook contains helpful notes about the Readings and Gospels and tips for good Lecturing. If the workbook isn’t available you can see the readings on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Be sure to go over the two Readings. If your partner doesn’t show up you will need to do both Readings so be prepared. Look over the Gospel. The Readings have been chosen according to their relationship with the Gospel and being familiar with the Gospel will help you in interpreting the Readings. Identify the type of passage you are to read. Is it a story? Is it a dialogue between different characters or voices? Is it a prophecy, a letter, a series of laws, a parable, or a song? The notes in the Workbook will help you with this.
Use the Workbook to check the pronunciation of unfamiliar names in the scriptures. There is a pronunciation book in the Sacristy you can use as well. And another good source for pronunciation is the Bible Words website.
Prepare well. The best way to prepare is to practice. Practice reading aloud in front of a mirror, your family or friends. Go over the Readings in the Workbook at least four times during the week before you are scheduled to read at Mass.
Read intelligently, in a lively manner, and when indicated, conversationally.
Read what you believe. Consider yourself a “Proclaimer of the Word of God.”
Observe and learn from other Lectors when you are not scheduled to lector.
When doing the Readings and Prayers of the Faithful during Mass, read slowly and deliberately – you are proclaiming the Word of God! HINT: Since we all have a tendency to read in public too fast, a good rule of thumb is if you think you are reading too slowly, you’re probably reading at the correct pace.
Occasionally, you might be asked to fill in at Mass if no Lector has shown up. It’s a good idea to be dressed appropriately and to look over the readings during the week in case you’re called on. But if early enough, you will have the chance to look over the Readings before Mass.
What to do on Sunday (or other Liturgies)
Try to arrive at least 15 minutes before Mass. Talk to your partner to decide who will read the Readings and the Prayers of the Faithful. The Priest usually reads any announcements.
Before Mass you should look over the Readings in the Lectionary. While the text is the same as the Workbooks, the layout is different and you’ll do a better job if you’re familiar with the Lectionary text.
Look over the Prayers of the Faithful to become familiar with them and to make sure of the pronunciation of any names. Check with the Priest if you have any questions.
Put the Lectionary on the Podium open to the first Reading and the Prayers of the Faithful binder in the shelf under the Podium if the Sacristans haven’t done so.
While waiting with the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers before Mass starts, greet parishioners as they enter the church.
When Mass is ready to start, line up for the opening procession. Altar Servers go first followed by the Eucharistic Ministers then the Lectors. The Priest is last.
When the opening procession reaches the Altar, genuflect or bow when the Priest genuflects or bows. Then go to your seats.
During Mass you are asked to sit in one of the front pews located on the right side of the church facing the altar. You should receive Communion with the Congregation.
If you are doing the first Reading, when the time comes get up and walk to the Podium. You should give a short bow to the altar as you walk to the Podium. When you have finished the Reading turn the page to the second Reading for the second Lector, then go back to your seat. After the Responsorial Psalm is sung, the second Lector should get up, walk to the Podium offering a short bow to the Altar, and do the second Reading. When finished, turn the page to the appropriate Gospel for the Priest to read. After the Homily read the Prayers of the Faithful which are usually in the binder.
When Mass is over, process out with the Priest, Altar Servers and Eucharistic Ministers in the same order as you processed in. After processing out, stand near the doors and offer goodbyes to parishioners as they leave the Church.
Becoming a Lector
If you would like to become a Lector at St. Mary’s Church contact the Rectory (508-543-7726). Lector nominations are usually given during Lent at all of the Masses. One of the current Lectors will help you get started and can answer any questions you may have.