According to ancient tradition and the teaching of the Church, lay ministers called lectors proclaim the readings other than the Gospel. “By tradition, the function of proclaiming the readings is ministerial, not presidential.
The readings, therefore, should be proclaimed by a lector…” (GIRM*, 59) It is not the ordinary practice of the Church for ordained ministers to proclaim these readings.
“Whenever there is more than one reading, it is better to assign the readings to different readers, if available.” (LMI, 52**) Our parish community is working toward having enough trained lectors to fulfill this goal on Sundays when there is more than one reading before the Gospel.
The proclamation of the Word of God is truly a ministry in the Church. Lectors bring the living
Word of God to the liturgical assembly. In and through them, God speaks to the gathered
faithful. The ministry of the word, therefore, is treated seriously and with great dignity.
The Word of God is not merely read during the liturgy. It is proclaimed. Effective proclamation involves the delivery of the message with clarity, conviction, and appropriate pace. Proclamation is a special ministry that presupposes faith and also rouses faith in those who hear the word proclaimed.
Ideally, members of the assembly listen to the proclamation of the Scriptures and do not read along in missalettes. In the act of communal listening, the worshipers experience not only unity among themselves but also the presence of Christ speaking to them through the word.
All liturgical ministers, especially the ministers of the word, must be properly trained for
their ministry. The ministry of the word requires skill in public reading, knowledge of the principles of liturgy, and an understanding and a love of the Scriptures.
Normally, only properly trained lectors are scheduled for liturgy (LMI, 55). Lector formation workshops are offered on an ongoing basis within the parish as well as through the Archdiocesan Office of Divine Worship twice each year.
Lectors are fully initiated (baptized, confirmed and admitted to first Communion), practicing Catholics whose lives witness to the word that they proclaim.
They must be in good standing with the Church. Lectors do not require a mandate to read at Mass; however, lectors should be blessed and commissioned for service in the parish before they begin this ministry.
Lectors should periodically participate in enrichment programs such as bible study, Scripture sharing and/or proclamation techniques.
*General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
**Lectionary for Mass, Introduction.
For more information on becoming a lector, please contact: [email protected] or