The Lector is the person who proclaims with faith God’s Sacred Word during the Mass. The Lector is one who is intimately familiar with the Sacred Scriptures and engaged with the sacred text.
The Word of God is not merely read, but proclaimed, within the liturgy. Effective proclamation involves the delivery of the message with clarity, conviction and appropriate pace. It demands the ability to evoke faith in others by demonstrating one’s own faith. As a ministry which presupposes faith, it should rouse faith in those who hear the word proclaimed.
Reverence: All Lectors should show the greatest reverence for the Word of God by their demeanor, their attire, and the manner in which they handle the Lectionary and the Book of the Gospels.
Clothing: Lectors should always dress in a fashion that becomes the dignity of the office they hold and the sacredness of the words they proclaim. Good taste and common sense are the best guides in this area.
Preparation to exercise the ministry of reader at a particular liturgy has two parts, remote and immediate preparation. Immediate means arriving with ample time before the liturgy begins, locating the readings in the Lectionary and checking the sound system.
Remote preparation has three dimensions:
1. Scriptural preparation involves understanding the text and interpreting it sufficiently so as to evoke a response from the assembly. Such preparation includes finding the passage in the Bible so that the section before and after the passage may be read, to get deeper sense of the meaning.
2. Spiritual preparation involves prayer over the text and reflection on its message, either alone or in a group.
3.Practical preparation involves mastering difficult words, learning the right pronunciation and practicing the delivery of the text aloud, ideally in the presence of someone who is able to critique the delivery. Rehearsal of the practical function (including proper use of the microphone) of the lector at Mass would also include the appropriate periods of silence during the Liturgy of the Word. (After the reading is introduced, time between the conclusion of the reading and “the Word of the Lord is encouraged.) The lector should receive resources that assist the lector to proclaim the sacred text.
The readings other than the gospel are proclaimed by lay ministers. A different lector for each reading is encouraged. The gospel is ordinarily proclaimed by the deacon. In the absence of a deacon, the priest celebrant proclaims it.
1. When no deacon is present, the Lector may carry the Book of the Gospels, slightly elevated, in the entrance procession. The Lector walks in front of the priest. If there will be more than one Lector exercising their ministry at Mass, then they also process in with the other ministers in front of the Lector carrying the Book.
2. When reaching the entrance to the sanctuary, the Lector, carrying the Book of the Gospels, goes up the steps on the ambo side of the altar; moves to the back of the altar, and then lays the Book of the Gospels flat at the back center of the Altar. The lector then steps back, bows profoundly (from the waist) to the Altar he/she placed the Book. The lector should take care not to hinder the priest/celebrant who is arriving to reverence the Altar.
3. The Lector then takes his/her place in the sanctuary near the ambo standing for the opening hymn. The Lector will remain in the sanctuary until after the Prayers of the Faithful. However, if a deacon is present, the Lector will return to
his/her place in the assembly after their reading.
4. The Lectionary for Mass is never carried in procession. It should be placed on the ambo before Mass.
Liturgy of the Word:
1. The lector reads from the ambo/podium the readings that precede the Gospel.
2. The lector introduces the reading saying: “A reading from the (Book of…, or Letter of St. Paul to the, or Acts of the apostles)… The lector does not read the quote for the chapter and verse of the reading. The lector should then pause before beginning to proclaim the reading.
3. The lector should pause at the end of the reading before saying: “The word of the Lord.”
4. After the first reading, the Lector sits down at their place near the ambo.
5. If there is no psalmist, the lector may also proclaim the responsorial Psalm after the first reading.
6. However, if there is no second reading and the lector will not be announcing the Prayer of the Faithful, the lector returns to their place in the assembly.
7. After the second reading, the Lector removes the Lectionary which they read from and places it in the shelf at the top of the ambo/podium.
8. When no deacon is present, the lector, after the introduction by the priest, may announce from the ambo the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful.
9. The lector does not process out with the other ministers at the end of Mass (which also means that the Book of the Gospels nor the Lectionary are carried out at end of Mass).
Note: Once commissioned by his/her pastor the lector may serve at any liturgy in the Diocese with the permission of the local pastor.