The Mechanics of Lectoring
Check in at sacristy at least 15 minutes before start of Mass:
- Let the main celebrant know that you are there to lector. If there are two lectors, talk with the other lector about who reads which reading.
- Locate the correct readings in the Lectionary. Make certain that the Lectionary on the pulpit is opened to the right spot for the 1 st reading. If the priest or deacon chooses to use the Book of Gospels, make sure the Lectionary is placed on the side table after the reading just prior to the Gospel.
- Practice the Prayer of the Faithful petitions & general announcements found in the vestibule side hallway. (These are lector copies, leave them there; the originals are in a folder at the Lectern)
[Note: Check with priest/others for the correct pronunciation of proper names if you are unsure]
Line up for Processional into Church:
- Cross bearer and altar servers lead (if present).
- Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are next.
- Both Lectors are requested to join in the procession.
- If the Deacon is present, he is next carrying the Book of Gospels.
- Priest follows at the end
- Before entering the sanctuary, the procession stops, faces the tabernacle, and all genuflect (or bow if physical issues won’t allow a genuflection) toward the tabernacle!
- Walk right up to the altar and bow. Do NOT genuflect. And proceed to the chairs located in back of the Lectern.
First Reading Guidelines:
- Remain in your pew until the priest concludes the opening prayer (Collect).
- Proceed to lectern as the congregation takes their seats and are getting settled.
- If you pass across the center aisle/front of the altar, pause and bow briefly.
- Upon reaching lectern, find your spot in the lectionary, then pause and establish eye contact with the congregation. WAIT until the congregation is completely settled and you clearly have their undivided attention.
- Announce the scripture reading (e.g. “A reading from the book of Exodus”) then pause.
- Read the scripture & then pause at the end.
- Complete the reading with “The word of the Lord.”
Responsorial Psalm Guidelines:
- These are usually sung when a choir is present; when in doubt, confirm with the choir leader before Mass starts.
- If choir does not sing these, the Lector reads them & leads the congregation in the responses.
Second Reading Guidelines:
- Basically a repeat of guidelines for First Reading. After the reading, place the lectionary on the side table next to the lectern.
- Return to your place and remain standing for the reading of the Gospel.
Prayers of the Faithful Guidelines:
- Toward the conclusion of the Creed, begin to approach the Lectern.
- As the priest says the introductory prayer, get your script ready for reading.
- Announce to the congregation the proper response (e.g. “Lord hear our prayer”)
- Devoutly read each petition.
- If there is a petition for “and for all of our personal intentions we now add in silence”, pause for 30 seconds before you announce… “Let us pray to the Lord”.
- Remain at lectern until priest has concluded the closing prayer; then return to your place and be seated.
Both lectors are encouraged to process out with the priest.
Some final “odds & ends”:
- If you can’t make your scheduled Mass, find a substitute. Having two lectors scheduled at each Mass does NOT mean we have an installed spare! A listing of lector names and telephone numbers accompanies each new schedule. Save them for reference.
- A computer now develops our schedules; provide any changes in your time preferences or restrictions online.
- At Masses without a choir – lead the congregation in the Communion Antiphon immediately after the priest receives communion. You can do this while remaining in your pew.
The Ministry of Lectoring
It boils down to three very important basics:
- Know what the scripture text means.
- Practice, Practice, Practice……read the passages out loud.
- Pray about it, make yourself an open tool of the Holy Spirit.
1. Know what the scripture text means
- We have Lector Workbooks that are handed out to every lector.
- The theme of the passages can sometimes be a little obscure – especially for some of the Old Testament readings. The workbook will help you unravel the main themes and the connection that exists among the three readings.
- Identify, if possible, one or two sentences from each reading that best captures the “essence” of the reading and plan to appropriately emphasize it during your reading.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
- Don’t rely on everyday miracles! Give the Holy Spirit a fighting chance by doing your homework!
- Reading the passages silently is undeniably helpful – but not sufficient. You need to practice out loud to identify “tongue twisters”, to get your phrasing in sync with your breathing patterns, etc.
- It’s ideal if you can record yourself – a tape recorder can be your best critic.
- Get familiar enough so that you can make occasional eye contact with the congregation without disrupting the flow of your words.
- For most people, you will do best if you speak louder than you think is necessary and speak slower than you think is necessary.
- Work on varying the speed of your delivery and the pitch of your voice to provide a devout level of animation and emotion to the readings. To the extent possible, make the readings come “conversationally alive” as you deliver them.
3. Pray about it
- A lector is a Minister of the Word. Take this responsibility seriously.
- In private conversational prayer, open yourself up to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Not only will you grow spiritually, your delivery of the scripture will really improve.
- Then force yourself to relax – it’s in the hands of the Holy Spirit!
What happens from that point forward is His will.