The Lector Ministry
When the Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to His people, and Christ, present in His own Word, proclaims the Gospel. Therefore, all must listen with reverence to the readings from God's word, for they make up an element of greatest importance in the Liturgy. General Instruction of the Roman Missal #29
Lectors are members of the Assembly who proclaim the Word in the first two scripture readings. They also assist in creating a hospitable and prayerful environment by praying the Prayers of the Faithful in the absence of a deacon. [see GIRM, no. 101]
Training and preparation are necessary for those persons wishing to be Lectors. Proclaiming the Sacred Scripture is different from other kinds of public speaking. Not only do Lectors need to be effective communicators, but they need to absorb and express the spirit of the Liturgy as well. Annual training sessions are required in January.
What are the qualifications for readers? The GIRM lists two that are fairly general: readers are to be "truly suited to perform this function" and "should receive careful preparation." In general, "truly suited" means individuals who are confirmed Catholics living in communion with the Church and who are able to proclaim the readings in a manner that expresses the dignity of scripture.
Speaking of readers at the Liturgy, Vatican II said, "They exercise a genuine liturgical function. They ought, therefore, to discharge their office with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry and right expected of them by God's people. Consequently, they must all be trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner... Christ is present in His word since it is He Himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in the church."
Schedules, Procedures, etc
- Fall 2017 Schedule (PDF)
If out of date, please email Brian
- Lector Roster (XLS) (Summer 2017)
- Current Letter to Lectors (Word) (Fall 2017)
- Lector Prep Website
- Discussions on upcoming readings
- The New American Bible (basis for Lectionary readings)
- Roman Catholic Lectionary
- Links to other Lectionary Websites
- Catholic Bible Commentary
- Website for Lector Resources
- America Magazine on Lectors
- Catholics Proclaim
- The Lector at Mass (USCCB)
Help with difficult pronunciations
Prayer for Lectors
Heavenly Father, I ask for your grace as I proclaim your Word to the people of my Parish. I ask that when I speak it will be your voice they hear, and be inspired to live according to that Word. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
Am I worthy to be a lector at Mass?
No, and yes. The Word of God is Jesus Christ and none of us are truly worthy to have the word of God on our lips. As the priest prays privately before proclaiming the Gospel: “Lord may Your Word be on my heart and on my lips that I may worthily proclaim Your Holy Gospel.” All of us who proclaim the scriptures should make this prayer our own. Our church strongly encourages us to break open the Scriptures for ourselves, to read it on our own and study it. Leading a congregation in this task publicly is a great responsibility.
If you have any questions or problems, or if you are interested in learning more about this ministry and how to become a lector, please contact:
- Jim Welsch (849-1979)
- John Carroll (881-8815)
Christ Our King Lector Procedures
- Always check the schedule and coordinate a replacement if you are unable to read when assigned. Please do not rely solely on the Weekly Bulletin; use the schedule emailed to you. It should arrive about a week before it takes effect. (Contact the Lector Coordinator if you have not received a new schedule before the start of the quarter.)
- The schedule is also posted on the parish web site.
- Prepare readings at home carefully and thoroughly. Read them aloud while practicing. Also, read the notes in the margin of your workbook to help you understand the texts.
- Each lector should prepare both readings in case of a no-show.
- Jacket and tie for men.
- Professional attire (nice dress, pants, skirt, etc.) for ladies. No sleeveless shirts or dresses.
Before the Liturgy
- Arrive at church at least 20-25 minutes before Mass begins.
- Sign your name in the Sign-In Book, located on the table across from the Sacristy. If you are a sub, replace the scheduled lector’s name with yours.
- If no deacon is present, a copy of the petitions will also be available in the notebook; Lector #2 can take this copy to the pew for additional review, if needed; be sure to return it after mass.
- Check in with the Presider and inform him which reading you will do.
- Secure a seat with your family close to the front (preferably one of the first two pews) in the section next to the choir. Be sure to sit at the end of the pew. If you are Lector #1, ask someone to save your seat or use one of the special “Reserved for Liturgical Minister” signs found under the sign-in table to reserve it.
- Be sure that the lectionary is in place at the ambo and open to the correct page. Become familiar with the page layout and arrangement of the reading, which may be different from that of the workbook.
- If you are Lector #1, adjust the microphone to your desired position. Lector #2 should not move it (until reading at Mass).
- Practice the reading silently to become as comfortable as possible with the layout and environment. Leave the lectionary open to the first reading when finished, but with the ribbon marking the second reading.
- Be off the altar before the prelude music begins, approximately 10 minutes before the liturgy starts.
- If you are Lector #2 and there is not a deacon present, ensure that the petitions are in place at the ambo. Read through them several times and be sure of the pronunciation of unfamiliar words or proper names. Check with the Presider on pronunciation of any names you are unfamiliar with.
Lector # 1 During the Entrance Procession
NOTE: If there is a Deacon present, Lector #1 will not take part in the procession. Simply take your seat for the beginning of the liturgy. [see GIRM, no. 339]
- Five minutes before the Liturgy begins, get the Book of the Gospels from counter in the Sacristy.
- As the procession forms, take your place with the Book of the Gospels held high and vertical; place your left hand high on pages, your right hand low on binding and be sure the cross is facing forward. You will follow behind the cross bearer and altar servers. If no servers or cross bearer are present, you will lead the procession.
- On the Presider’s signal, the procession will begin. Be sure to walk slowly and with dignity, even if the altar servers do not. Do not try to keep up with them if they hurry down the aisle.
- Stop at the foot of the first step and bow your head before ascending. Do not bow from the waist, as the Book should not bow. This is the only time the Lector bows while performing their duties during Mass. [see GIRM, no. 274]
- Walk to the angled area behind the altar on the choir (left) side and stand facing the altar with the Book held high until the Presider has kissed the altar and moved clear toward his chair.
- Place the Book on the altar and open it a few inches to allow it to stand without support. The open pages should face the RCIA section. Step back and, then walk slowly to your place in the assembly. Be sure to join in the gathering song and other prayers. [see GIRM, nos. 194-195]
- Remember, the lector is a representative of the assembly and should participate actively in the Liturgy.
Lector # 1 During the Liturgy
- After the opening prayer and when the Presider sits, walk slowly to the ambo. Briefly check the page correct, then look at the assembly and begin “A reading from....”. Memorize this line so you can look up continually while proclaiming it.
- At the end of the 1st reading, pause briefly before saying “The Word of the Lord.” Do not make this statement sound like part of the reading.
- Step back slowly, and return to your seat
NOTE: If there is only 1 lector, do not return to your seat. Remain on the altar by turning towards the altar and standing back behind the ambo, leaving plenty of room for the cantor. Once the cantor is finished and off the altar, step back into the ambo for the second reading.
Lector # 2 During the Liturgy
- At the completion of the Responsorial Psalm and when the cantor starts moving, walk slowly to the ambo, pause and check the page, then look at the assembly and begin “A reading from....” Memorize this line so you can look up continually while proclaiming it.
- Pause briefly at the end before saying “The Word of the Lord.”
- Close the lectionary and place it on the left side of the shelf under the ambo (do not cover the Presider’s homily notes).
- Step back slowly and return to your seat. Remain standing as the Gospel will begin shortly.
NOTE: If there is a Deacon present, Lector #2 does NOT lead the Prayers of the Faithful.
- If no deacon is present, when the assembly stands after the homily walk immediately to the top step and stand facing the altar, at a point even with the center of the ambo. Recite the Creed, using the copy at the ambo if needed. At the phrase “We acknowledge one baptism ....” move into place at the microphone and then begin the petitions as soon as the Presider completes the introductory prayer. Stop reciting the creed once you turn so that your voice is not amplified.
- NOTE: If no deacon is present and if the Presider starts the Creed while still at the ambo, do not leave your pew until he turns and proceeds towards his chair.
- NOTE: If no deacon is present and if there is no Creed, go immediately to the ambo after the homily and start the intercessions as soon as the introductory prayer ends.
- NOTE: If you use the copy of the Creed from the ambo, it can be helpful to pickup the petitions sheet at the same time, so it will already be in your hand when you turn into the ambo.
- If no deacon is present, proclaim the intercessory prayers as thoughtfully and carefully as you do the readings. Pause very slightly after each petition before saying "We pray to the Lord." Pause again after the people’s response before beginning the next petition.
- If no deacon is present, remain in place at the ambo with your head bowed during the Presider’s closing prayer. Do not back up or move away from the ambo. Return to your place in the assembly when the Presider's closing prayer is finished.
NOTE: Periodically there will be an announcement for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. If so, it will be noted at the bottom of the petitions sheet. This announcement should be made after the Presider's closing prayer. Wait until everyone is seated, make the announcement and then return to your place with the assembly.
- When introducing the reading, pronounce the “A” in “A reading from...” as a schwa (...as in “uh”) rather than a long vowel (...as in “hay”)
- If you need to shift glasses or put them on to read, do so as soon as you comfortably can, but before reaching the ambo.
Thank you for the tremendous service that you are providing God and this parish community!
From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (English Translation to Third Typical Edition approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops):
309. The dignity of the Word of God requires that in the church there be a suitable place from which it may be proclaimed and toward which the attention of the faithful naturally turns during the Liturgy of the Word. It is appropriate that generally this place be a stationary ambo and not simply a movable lectern. The ambo must be located in keeping with the design of each church in such a way that the ordained ministers and readers may be clearly seen and heard by the faithful. From the ambo only the readings, the Responsorial Psalm, and the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) are to be proclaimed; likewise it may be used for giving the Homily and for announcing the intentions of the Universal Prayer. The dignity of the ambo requires that only a minister of the word should stand at it. It is appropriate that before being put into liturgical use a new ambo be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual.