The reader’s ministry (lector) is one of the most important: with the proclamation of the Readings s/he helps the community to grasp, in the best possible way, what God is saying to us. Since the beginning, proclaiming the Gospel has been reserved for an ordained minister (although, preferably, not the president). However, the previous readings and the Responsorial Psalm, as well as the intentions for Universal Prayer, are ministries of the lay.
In addition to the instituted lectors, who are exclusively male, in most Christian communities this ministry is exercised more habitually by men and women, adults, young people or even, to a certain extent and under given circumstances, children, where no official or permanent role is specified. All that is required is that volunteers be able to perform this role and that they have carefully prepared. And that they carry out their ministry with dignity, both in their posture and bearing, giving due attention to preparation, technique and delivery, so that their reading be clear and intelligent thereby successfully communicating the Word of God to the congregation. Importantly, each reader should strive to be a perfect disciple of Christ and no less a perfect herald of the Word in the assembly and beyond. In its introduction, the Lectionary itemises several points which describe the ideal reading technique, preparation and spiritual attitude (cf. OLM 51-55).
In the Blessings Ceremony, it is possible to do a “blessing of readers” through a rite offered specifically for the non-instituted readers, if considered worthwhile. This can provide a certain officiality and gravitas to readers who exercise this ministry and have made a more permanment commitment to this role. The text offers timely prayers and motivations for a deeper surrender to the Ministry of the Word.
The pages of the Bible cease to be writings and become living words, spoken by God. It is God, who through the reader, speaks to us and questions us, we who listen with faith. The Spirit “who has spoken through the prophets” (Creed) and has inspired the sacred authors makes the Word of God that “we hear outwardly have its effect inwardly” (Lectionary, Introduction, 9). But in order to listen to the Word of God, we also need our heart to be open to receive the Word in our heart. God speaks and we listen to him, in order to then put into practice what we have heard. It is very important to listen. At times perhaps we do not fully understand because there are a few somewhat difficult Readings. et God speaks to us in another way; [we must be] silent and listen to the Word of God. Do not forget this. During Mass, when the Readings begin, let us listen to the Word of God.
We need to listen to him! It is in fact, a question of life, as we are reminded by the profound expression that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). Life which gives us the Word of God. In this sense, we are speaking of the Liturgy of the Word as a “meal” that the Lord prepares in order to nourish our spiritual life. The meal of the Liturgy is a lavish one which draws largely from the treasures of the Bible (cf. sc, 51), both the Old and the New Testaments, because in them, the Church proclaims the one and the same mystery of Christ (cf. Lectionary, Introduction, 5). Let us think about the richness of the Bible readings offered by the three Sunday cycles, which in the light of the Synoptic Gospels, accompany us throughout the Liturgical Year: a great richness. Here I wish to also recall the importance of the Responsorial Psalm whose function is to foster meditation on what was heard in the reading that precedes it. It is preferable that the Psalm be enriched by song, at least in the response (cf. girm, 61; Lectionary, Introduction, 19-22).
The Liturgical proclamation of the very same readings with the songs derived from Sacred Scripture, expresses and fosters ecclesial communion by accompanying the journey of each and every one. It is thus understandable that some subjective choices such as the omission of readings or their substitution with non-biblical texts are forbidden. I have heard that when there is a story in the news, some people read the newspaper because it is the news of the day. No! The Word of God is the Word of God! We can read the newspaper later. But there, we are reading the Word of God. It is the Lord who is speaking to us. Substituting that Word with other things impoverishes and compromises the dialogue between God and his people in prayer. On the contrary, [exige-se] the dignity of the pulpit and the use of the Lectionary, the availability of good readers and psalmists [are required]. But we must look for good readers! Those who know how to read, not those who read [distorting the words] [deturpando as palavras] and nothing is understood. This is how it is. Good readers. They must be prepared and rehearse before the Mass in order to read well. And this creates a climate of receptive silence.
We know that the Word of the Lord is of indispensable help so as not to get lost, as is clearly recognized by the Psalmist who, speaking to the Lord, confesses: “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119: 105). How can we face our earthly pilgrimage with its difficulties and its trials without being regularly nourished and enlightened by the Word of God which resounds in the Liturgy?
Of course it is not enough to listen with our ears without welcoming into our heart the seed of the Divine Word, allowing it to bear fruit. Let us remember the Parable of the Sower and of the results achieved by the different types of soil (cf. Mk 4:14-20). The action of the Holy Spirit which renders the response effective needs hearts that allow themselves to be fashioned and cultivated in such a way that what is heard at Mass passes into daily life, according to the admonishment of the Apostle James: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jas 1:22). The Word of God makes a pathway within us. We listen to it with our ears and it passes to our hearts; it does not remain in our ears; it must go to the heart. And from the heart, it passes to the hands, to good deeds. This is the path which the Word of God follows: from our ears to our heart and hands. Let us learn these things. Thank you!
You must know how to read and project your voice properly so that the Word of God is heard and understood by the whole congregation. Readership is a service, so the willingness/availability of those who come to read must converge with the choice and confirmation of this service by the community.
Yes It is up to those responsible for this group to choose and train the readers, and to set up a reading rota.
The ultimate objective of proclaiming the Word of God in any Church celebration is that whoever hears the reading can understand it, pray it and, in due time, adapt their own life to the message received. For this, the reader must know what he is reading (study the context of the reading and pray it in his own time), and for whom they are reading it (attention to the microphone, reading technique, respect for silences…)
Every liturgical assembly needs at least four liturgical ministers to serve: the president, the lector, the cantor and the acolyte.
Were the president of the celebration to do everything, someone might think that the mass were his alone, when that is not true. Because Jesus wanted and continues to want it to be for all Christians assembled. What He wants most is that each one does his/her part, so that the celebration belongs to everyone and everyone feels that they are responsible for it.
Any questions or requests for information should preferably be submitted to the parish registry office, in order to obtain the most appropriate response.