Lector Rules

St. Ann Roman Catholic Church > Sacraments & Liturgy > Lector Rules

Saint  Ann  Catholic  Church  of  Mamou

Ministry of Lector

This lay ministry is held in high esteem by the Church.  Before Vatican II only men who had been ordained to this Minor Order were allowed to read at Mass.  Since Vatican II the Church has allowed lay men and women to proclaim God’s Word.  The role of the lector at mass is no less important than before.

Am I worthy to be a lector at Mass?

No, and yes.  The Word of God is Jesus Christ and none of us are truly worthy to have the word of God on our lips.  As the priest prays privately before proclaiming the Gospel: “Lord may Your Word be on my heart and on my lips that I may worthily proclaim Your Holy Gospel.”  All of us who proclaim the scriptures should make this prayer our own.  Our church strongly encourages us to break open the Scriptures for ourselves, to read it on our own and study it.  Leading a congregation in this task publicly is a great responsibility.

How can I best prepare to read at mass?

Practice! Practice! Practice!  You should NEVER get up in front of people to read something you  haven’t practiced reading beforehand.  Read over the readings to yourself and out loud.  If there is a word you’re not sure how to pronounce, look it up online or ask the celebrant before mass begins.  It is also important to understand the basic meaning of the passages you will be reading.  There are many good commentaries available online and at your Catholic bookstores.  Remember that the Bible was originally shared through oral transition.  It was distributed, not in writing, but by word of mouth.  If you are reading a narrative, be a good story-teller.  If your are reading an Old Testament prophesy or a New Testament epistle,  proclaim the message as if you are the prophet or the apostle speaking.  Very often people do not pay attention to the reading at mass because they are poorly read.  Only you can change that by practicing your readings ahead of time.

What do I do when I am unable to serve when I am scheduled?

Please call someone on the Lector list to replace you.  Please consider this your responsibility.  If you are unsuccessful in finding a replacement, please call the sacristan for that mass or the rectory.

How should I dress for mass when I am scheduled to serve?

The house of God is a sacred space deserving respect at all times.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the heavenly banquet and we should always dress as if we are participating in a very important occasion.  Whenever you are scheduled to serve, your attire should be even more “dressy” and should not include: jeans, t-shirts, strapless or low-cut tops.  Use your best judgment.

How should I act in church?

As a leader in the community, you bear a special responsibility to set a good example for the others preparing for mass.  Genuflect reverently to the Tabernacle before entering your pew.  Kneel and pray prayers of preparation for Mass.  You also have a responsibility, as a leader, to set a tone of humility.  You should neither boast of your role as a lector nor act as if you are better than anyone else.

Where do I sit for mass?

The lector for weekend masses is to be seated in the sanctuary before mass begins.  Before sitting please sign the minister’s binder in the sacristy.

When do I make the Introductory announcements before mass?

The lector’s binder can be found on the table against the wall next to your pew.  Please read the “Introduction” page from the pulpit about 3 to 5 minutes before Mass is to begin. Please wait until the celebrant is in the sacristy and getting vested for Mass BEFORE making these announcements.

What do I do if the microphone is not on or if there if major feedback?

One of your jobs as a lector will be to check to make sure that the sound system is ON.  BEFORE going out to make your announcements please turn the system ON.  When you begin to read the introductory announcements before mass, if you notice that the system is not ON stop and go to the sacristy to turn the system ON.  Then return to the pulpit and start over.  If the sound system is not ON, then the cantor’s microphone in the choir-loft will not be on either…. If there is major feedback form the sound system during the Readings at mass, DON’T STOP reading.  As they say “the show must go on.”  The sacristan and Fr. Mark will go to the sacristy to lower the volume.

When do I step forward to read the First Reading?

After the celebrant leads the Opening Prayer and everyone sits, step up to the pulpit.  Wait until the celebrant is sitting before stepping forward.  DO NOT say “The first reading is a reading from…”  Simply say what the lectionary has.  Do not add any words.  “A reading from the book of…”

Can I lift the book off of the pulpit?

NO.  Please leave the Lectionary on the pulpit at all times.  If you lift the book to hold as you read, then the microphone is blocked from picking you up and no one will hear the reading.  At the end of the reading DO NOT pick up the book to say “The Word of the Lord.”

Will the cantor sing the Psalm Response?

If there is a cantor upstairs, they will sing the repeated response and you are to read the stanzas between the sung response.  If there is no cantor, then you will need to read the response, lead everyone in repeating the response and so forth.  There is no need to say “The Psalm Response is…”  Simply begin by reciting the response.

Should I pause between the readings?  For how long?

YES! There should definitely be a pause between the First Reading and the Psalm.  And there should be a pause between the Psalm and the Second Reading.  Count to 5 slowly.

After the Second Reading should I reverence the Lectionary before walking back to be seated?  

YES!  After you have said “The Word of the Lord” and the congregation has responded “Thanks be to God” please step back and make a simple bow toward the Lectionary.  Then turn and go to your seat.

When do I step forward to read the “Prayers of the Faithful”?

Have the binder in your hands and ready during the Profession of Faith (Credo).  As soon as we conclude the Creed.  Please DO NOT wait until the celebrant prays the introduction.  After the introduction you should be ready to begin the prayers immediately.  After you read the last prayer, remain at the pulpit until AFTER the celebrant prays the closing prayer.

How should I reverence the Altar when leaving the sanctuary? 

After the prayers of “Prayers of the Faithful” please exit the sanctuary this way: take the steps down to the mouth of the sanctuary, turn back to face the Altar and make a profound bow.  Then turn and go to your pew.  Remain in a prayerful posture as the collections are passed and the Offertory Hymn is sung.  This is another time when you will serve as an example to everyone else at mass.

Are there any differences for lectors at a weekday mass?

Yes.  At weekday mass, the lector is to announce the Entrance and Communion antiphons.  ALWAYS use the Missalette for these.  The other missalette uses optional antiphons that don’t always correlate with what the celebrant has in his Missal at the altar…  The weekday lector is seated in the congregation when mass starts, so he or she must enter the sanctuary after the Opening Prayer.  Please approach the sanctuary steps, bow at the waist to the Altar, then step up into the sanctuary.  After the Psalm Response step back from the pulpit, bow to the Lectionary, then proceed down the sanctuary steps, turn around and bow to the Altar, and return to your pew.  … Weekday Lectors should still practice their reading before mass, read with purpose, and pause between readings.