“The Word of God as proclaimed in the sacred scripture lies at the heart of our Christian life and is integral to all our liturgical celebrations (Book of Blessings, 1827).”
The ministry of lector is an important and essential one for our celebration of the liturgy. These instructions include information about this ministry here at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Mary’s. They also include some information from “Guidelines for Lectors from the Archdiocese of Portland.”
This ministry is open to women and men age sixteen and above, who have been fully initiated. They should be practicing Catholics, in good standing with the parish community and possess a love of the scriptures. (Guidelines for Lectors”) At Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Mary’s, there are two lectors for each Mass. They serve as part of a liturgical ministry team which is on a four week rotation, roughly, plus holidays or holy days of obligation.
Preparation for this ministry begins at home with reading the scriptures silently and aloud and studying them. “The lector designated to proclaim the readings from Scripture should have both the perspective and the ability to understand the Word, and must proclaim the sacred texts from a standpoint of faith. Therefore, preparation for this ministry should include both study of the scriptures and prayerful reflection on the passages to be proclaimed”. (Guidelines for Lectors) “Good Communication skills are necessary for anyone who proclaims the Word of God. Pauses, enunciation, phrasing, and the speed with which one proclaims should be well practiced. Silence after the readings is essential Readers use the text as written, they do not add their own words”. (Guidelines for Lectors)
Before Mass and Opening Mass
Lectors are asked to arrive at least 20 minutes early for Mass. This allows the lector to practice with his or her partner and also to become familiar with the Prayers of the Faithful. Once lectors have practiced and before Mass begins, the open lectionary should be placed on the Ambo and the brown book, containing the Prayers of the Faithful, should be placed on the table near the Ambo.
The Old and New Testament Readings
At the conclusion of the Opening Prayer, the first lector will make a profound bow in the aisle nearest his or her seat in the pew and will move to the Ambo to proclaim the First Reading. Please be sure the people are seated and ready to listen before beginning. Proclaim the reading, pause briefly, and say “The Word of the Lord.”
The second lector will bow and move to the Ambo after the Responsorial Psalm. Again, proclaim the reading-brief pause-“The Word of the Lord.” If there is only one lector, please step down from the Ambo and return to the pew for the Responsorial Psalm. After the reading and the people’s response, place the lectionary on the table near the Ambo.
Prayers of the Faithful through Recession
The Prayers of the Faithful happen once the Creed is finished. Be ready to move to the Ambo as soon as the Creed is completed. Please be in the aisle when the congregation is saying “Amen” Don’t look at Father during the introduction or conclusion prayers; just look down at the prayer book. Return the Prayers of the Faithful book to the table beside the Ambo after Father says his prayers and the concluding prayer. Both of Father’s introduction and conclusion prayers are in the brown book, so you will know when it is time to leave the Ambo, make a profound bow at the side of the altar, and return to the pew.
Neither lector processes out with the the priest and the acolytes at the end of the Mass. After Mass, the lectors should return the Book of the Gospels, lectionary, and Prayers of the Faithful book to the Sacristy. If you have a few moments, get some feedback from your partner or Father regarding your delivery, ie, speed, volume, clarity, etc.
“Christ is truly present in the word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are proclaimed in church.” (Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, 7)
Please watch the following training video by Msgr. Gerard O’Connor, of the Archdioceses of Portland.