Lectoring Ministry


The Ministry of Lectoring ensures that the Word of God is proclaimed during the liturgy in a vibrant and life-giving manner. Parishioners of all ages who participate in this ministry allow their voices to become the incarnate Word of God for the gathered assembly. Contact Doris Pavlick if you would like to serve as a Lector, and let her know whether you would like to read at the Saturday evening or Sunday morning Mass. Orientation will be provided for new lectors. The reading schedule is usually prepared at 3 month intervals. Please advise Doris of your availability in advance of schedule preparation. It is your responsibility to find a replacement if you need one. Be sure to consult the schedule as well as the procedures posted below:



Lector's prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for calling me to be a lector at Your Eucharistic celebrations. Help me to always take this role seriously, and diligently prepare myself for it, by studying the sacred texts before Mass, and by striving to be a better Christian. By my physical action of proclaiming Your Word, I AM the instrument through whom You become present to the assembly in Your Word, and through whom You impart Your teachings. Let nothing in my manner disturb your people, or close their hearts to the action of Your Spirit. Cleanse my heart and my mind, and open my lips, that I may worthily proclaim Your Word. Amen. (from St. Angela Merici, Brea CA)

Before Mass:
  • Prepare for your reading at home before your scheduled reading time. Practice reading aloud at home and check the pronunciation guide at the back of the Lectionary for unfamiliar words. If you are still unsure of the pronunciation, ask the priest when you arrive at church.
  • Choose to wear clothing that demonstrates your respect for this ministry.
  • Arrive at church 15 minutes prior to Mass, and check off your name on the whiteboard schedule at the back of the church.
  • Check to see if the Psalm will be sung by the choir, or if the first reader has to read it.
  • First reader checks the Lectionary on the Ambo to make sure it is open to the correct reading. The ORDO, which we use to verify each days readings is located in the cupboard just outside the sacristy.
  • First reader checks to see if the microphone is on. (Note that if the microphone is not on, then ask an usher to turn it on)
  • Second reader reviews the Prayers of the Faithful on the stand just outside the office at the back of the church before Mass begins. (Note that there will always be a copy of the intercessions waiting for the second reader at the Ambo.)
  • Note: If there is no list of intercessions at the back of the church or at the Ambo, The Prayers of the Faithful can be read from the appropriate date in the Living With Christ Sunday Missal.
  • At 5 minutes before Mass, readers should proceed to the Vestry for communal prayer and blessing of the Ministers for that Mass.
  • Observe the 5 minutes of silence before Mass begins and pray a Lector's prayer that asks the Lord to make you a worthy vessel for proclaiming His message, and that His people hear His voice and not yours.

Procession:
  • If the Deacon is not present, the first reader carries the Book of Gospels in the procession to the Altar (except during Lent and Advent).
  • During the procession, do NOT bow at the bottom of the stairs, walk slowly and smoothly up the stairs.
  • Stay on the right of the Altar, place the Book of Gospels flat on the Altar slightly to the right of centre, continue around the Altar, and proceed down the stairs to your pew.
  • NOTE: do NOT turn around and go back the same way you came up or you will bump into the priest and do NOT turn around and bow.

First Reading:

  • After the Opening Prayer, and the children have left for the Children’s Liturgy (if applicable), both the first AND the second reader come to the base of the Sanctuary.
  • The readers bow to the priest at the base of stairs.
  • The first reader proceeds to the Ambo and the second reader sits on the pew beside the Ambo.
  • Before beginning the first reading, wait 5-10 seconds so that everyone is tuned into you, this will assure the focus is on God’s Word.
  • Begin the first reading by saying A reading from the book of _
  • Read slowly and enunciate clearly. Make eye contact with the congregation while you read.
  • Finish the first reading by pausing for 5 seconds before saying loudly and emphatically “The Word of the Lord”.
  • The congregation will respond “Thanks be to God”.
  • Wait at least 15 seconds before sitting beside the second reader on the pew beside the Ambo. This will help create an atmosphere of silence and reflection.

Psalm:
  • If there is a choir at Mass, then the choir will sing or recite the Psalm verses and lead the singing of the response to the Psalm.
  • If there is no choir for the Mass, then the first reader will read the Psalm and lead the recitation of the response to the Psalm.
  • Lift your arm at the end of each verse when it is time for the congregation to respond
  • In both cases there should be a pause of silence approximately the length of the Our Father between the first reading and the Psalm.

Second Reading:
  • After the Psalm is finished, the second reader stands at the Ambo.
  • Before beginning the second reading, wait 5-10 seconds so that everyone is tuned into you, this will assure the focus is on God’s Word.
  • Begin the second reading by saying A reading from the book of _
  • Read slowly and enunciate clearly. Make eye contact with the congregation while you read.
  • Finish the second reading by pausing for 5 seconds before saying loudly and emphatically “The Word of the Lord”.
  • The congregation will respond “Thanks be to God”.
  • Second reader closes the Lectionary after the 2nd reading and places it on the lower shelf, to make room for the priest to place the Book of Gospels on the Ambo (except during Lent and Advent).
  • Wait 15 seconds before both readers leave to go back to their pews. This will help create an atmosphere of silence.
  • Do not bow at the bottom of the stairs before returning to your pew.

Prayers of the Faithful:
  • After the end of the Apostles Creed or Nicene Creed, the second reader proceeds to the Ambo where the Prayers of the Faithful will be waiting.
  • After the priest has invited the faithful to pray, read each intercession, then pause for 5 seconds [you may want to bow your head at this time of prayer].
  • After 5 seconds say, “We Pray”, and the congregation will respond –“Lord hear our prayer.”
  • Repeat until all intercessions are read.
  • Stay at the Ambo until the priest ends the intercessions with the concluding prayer.
  • Return to your pew after the concluding prayer.
  • Do not bow at the bottom of the stairs before returning to your pew.

After Mass:
  • The First reader returns the Book of the Gospels to the vestry and the Lectionary to the Ambo.
  • If it is the final liturgy of the weekend, then the Second reader should ensure that both the Book of the Gospels and the Lectionary are properly stored away.
  • Readers are responsible for finding a replacement if they are not able to read. Please contact one of the other readers to make a switch.

Becoming a Better Lector

The following steps will help you become a better lector, but in the end, it is the Holy Spirit who proclaims Gods Word through you. Your job is to prepare as well as possible and then let the Word move through you to the members of the congregation. When that happens, the faithful will receive the power to respond actively with full faith, hope, and love through prayer and self-giving, not only during the Mass but in their entire Christian life!

  • Read Scripture - You cannot effectively proclaim Gods Word without being intimately familiar with Scripture. The Sunday lectionary is organized on a 3-year cycle based on the first three Gospels, Matthew in Year A, Mark in Year B, and Luke in Year C. When preparing your reading, read the Gospel first, then read the first and second readings, which are intended to prepare the congregation to hear the Gospel. Be sure to read the passages that come before and after your reading in the Bible, and also to read the lectionary passages that occur the week before and the week after your reading. By doing this, you will get a sense of what the Church intends by selecting this particular passage for this particular Sunday. You can also try the Lectio Divina method of meditating Scripture.
  • Practice Pronunciation and Enunciation - To practice means to read the reading out loud while standing up. Practice out loud at least six times, and practice on at least two different days other than the Sunday you read. You can practice in front of a mirror, with a tape recorder or video camera, and in front of your family. Be sure your posture portrays both confidence and reverence.
  • Pray - Read the Gospel as a Sunday night prayer the week before you read. Read your reading as a morning prayer at least twice in the week before you read. Pray for the Scripture to open the ears of those who will hear your reading. Pray for the strength to put aside your own ego and for the Spirit to speak through you.
  • Find the Emotion - If you want the Scripture you proclaim to speak to peoples hearts, you have to find the emotion in the reading. Read the passage several times and try to discover the primary emotions. Once you have identified the primary emotion, recall times when you have felt that emotion and let the emotion come through as you proclaim.
  • Find the Most Important Phrase - Every reading will have at least one important phrase. Most readings have several, so underline all the powerful, interesting or disturbing ideas in the reading. Then read the Gospel again and discern its main idea. Read you reading again, focusing on the underlined parts. Pray about it and then decide what the most important phrase is in the reading. Emphasize that phrase in such a way that its importance is clear to everyone in the congregation.
  • Make Eye Contact - Always look at the congregation for a long time before you begin to read. Use your finger to keep your place. Always use eye contact on the opening and closing sentences. Make eye contact on the most important phrase. The more times you practice reading out loud, the easier it will be to make frequent eye contact with the congregation.
  • Project - To project does not necessarily mean to speak louder, although that is often the result. Humans are built with two air cavities. If you inhale so your stomach pushes out, you are filling your lower air cavity. If you try to make your chest bigger, you are filling your upper cavity. To project your words effectively, fill your lower air cavity first, then your upper air cavity. As you read, use the air from the lower cavity first. Keep in mind that you want to use your diaphragm instead of your throat. Control your breathing and make sure you feel your stomach muscles moving as you read.
  • Vary Your Pace, Pausing and Volume - Almost every reading has fast parts and slow parts. Most readings also have loud parts and quiet parts. Some readings call for clipped, staccato rhythm, others call for smooth, melodic rhythm. When you practice, try different paces and find the pacing that works best for your reading.
  • Vary Your Style - Some readings read like stories, and some are read as prophesies. Be conscious of the kind of reading you are assigned, and match your proclamation style to the style of your reading. Also, be aware of the season of the church year you are in, and when your Mass is being celebrated. These will also influence your style.

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