The Ministry of Lector calls us to be servants of the Living Word of God. In proclaiming the readings at liturgy, the lector does more than simply read. A lector’s spirituality must include an understanding of Holy Scripture as God’s Living Word made present to mankind throughout history, but most fully present in the person of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
Who may proclaim the scriptures during the Mass?
In the absence of an instituted lector, other laypersons (readers) may be commissioned to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture. The duty of the reader is to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the Gospel. A reader may also announce the intentions for the Prayer of the Faithful and, in the absence of a psalmist, proclaim the Psalm between the readings. [General Instruction of the Roman Missal (hereinafter GIRM) #99]
The readings should be proclaimed by a lector or reader, and the Gospel by a deacon or, in his absence, a priest other than the celebrant. If a deacon or another priest is not present, the priest celebrant himself should read the Gospel. Further, if another suitable lector is also not present, then the priest celebrant should also proclaim the other readings. (GIRM # 59)
After each reading, whoever reads gives the acclamation, to which the gathered people reply, honoring the word of God that they have received in faith and with grateful hearts. (GIRM # 59)
What are the Requirements to be a Lector during the Sacred Liturgy?
For all parish liturgies, including Sacramental celebrations, weddings and funerals, readers should be formed and fully initiated Catholics. In the ministry of lector/reader, the reader is ministering to the community. This is most appropriately done when the individual is able to proclaim the Scripture from the depths of their lived faith.
What about sacramental celebrations of First Holy Communion, Confirmation, and Holy Matrimony?
Sacramental celebrations are Parish liturgies where the reader ministers to the assembly by proclaiming the Word of God. It is important that this be done in a reverent, life-giving manner. As always, readers during sacramental celebrations should be fully initiated members of the community who are properly formed for this role.
During the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, the candidates will become fully initiated. Since the confirmandi are being ministered to by the faith community, it is inappropriate for confirmandi to exercise ministerial roles, such as reader, during the liturgy. An exception may be made if a person who is to be confirmed has been involved in a liturgical formation process to become a lector.
What type of training is necessary to become a Lector?
Those who exercise the ministry of reader must be truly suited and carefully prepared, so that the faithful may develop a warm and living love for Sacred Scripture from listening to the sacred readings. Training should include both spiritual and technical preparation. Biblical formation of the reader should enable the reader to understand the readings in context and to perceive by the light of faith the central point of the revealed message. The liturgical formation should equip the reader with some grasp of the meaning and structure of the Liturgy of the Word and of the significance of its connection with the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The technical preparation should make the reader more skilled in the art of reading publicly, and include their own voice along with proper use of sound equipment. (Lectionary for Mass, Introduction, #55)
How should a Lector prepare for his/her role in the Sacred Liturgy?
The Lector should prayerfully prepare before arriving for the celebration of Mass by reading the assigned scripture, taking care to discern the meaning and importance of the text. The Lector should also practice the readings aloud, making sure to pronounce words distinctly, and to understand their meaning. The Ministry of Lector is one of evangelization, inviting the congregation into a deeper and richer relationship with God, and as such the Lector should come prepared to proclaim the Sacred Scriptures with conviction and passion. The Lector should also arrive at Church early enough to attend to any practical details, reading over the announcements and petitions, and to communicate with the priest about any necessary details.
How are the scripture readings chosen?
In the readings proclaimed during the Sacred Liturgy, the table of God’s Word is prepared for the faithful, and the riches of the Bible are opened to them. Therefore, it is preferable to maintain the arrangement of the biblical readings as found in the Lectionary, by which light is shed on the unity of both Testaments and of salvation history. It is unlawful to substitute other, non-biblical texts for the readings and responsorial Psalm, which contain the Word of God. (GIRM # 57) Additional information on the structure of the Order of Readings for Mass may be found in the Lectionary for Mass, Chapter IV, The Structure of the Order of Readings for Mass.
What is acceptable attire for a Lector?
The Lector should wear appropriate clothing which shows respect for the Ministry of Lector, is modest does not distract the congregation from the action of the Sacred Liturgy. (GIRM # 339)
How does a Lector know which Mass he/she is scheduled for?
Monthly schedules are provided for Lectors on the counter in the Music Sacristy of the church. If a Lector is unable to attend the mass he/she is scheduled for, it is their responsibility to find a substitute.
How do I become a Lector?
If you or someone you know who is a parishoner of Saint James Parish wishes to become a lector at Mass, please contact Charles Spacht at (814) 899-9291 or contact the Parish Rectory during normal business hours.