Guidelines for a Lector
We, the Lector Ministry of St. Michael's Catholic Church, Sharjah, serve by proclaiming the Word of God and conveying the Scripture message. It is a blessing for us to be a Lector, since we become an effective instrument through which God touches the minds and hearts of His people.
- Lector's position in the Catholic Church:
It was in the mid 1960's that lay readers were reintroduced into the Catholic Church. One announcement of this shift is found in the document of the Second Vatican Council The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: There we read: Servers, readers, commentators, and members of the choir also exercise a genuine liturgical function. They ought, therefore, to discharge their offices with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry and rightly expected of them by God's people. Consequently they must all be deeply imbued with the spirit of the liturgy, each in his own measure, and they must be trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner. (No. 29).
Another description of the ministry of the reader is found in the writing of H.H.Pope Paul VI: The office of the lector, and it is proper to him, is to read the word of God in the liturgical assembly.... He should meditate assiduously on the sacred scriptures so that he may more fittingly and perfectly fulfill these functions. Aware of the office he has undertaken, the reader is to make every effort and employ suitable means to acquire that increasingly warm and living love and knowledge of Scripture that will make him a more perfect disciple of the Lord. (Ministeria Quaedam, Pope Paul VI, 1972, No.5).
- Who can be a Lector:
Any confirmed Catholic over 16 years of age who has a passion to proclaim the Word of God.
- Dress appropriately:
- Dress code:
All Lectors should dress modestly in an attire that expresses the dignity of our celebration. All clothing should be neat, clean, and appropriate signifying the honour of the ministry you perform.
Men: decent trousers and shirt. For Special occasions like Christmas and Easter, coat and tie is preferred.
Women: Dress should be conservative, including skirt length and general style.
- Inappropriate Dresses
Shorts, Tee shirts, jeans, tight pants, baggy pants, clinging blouses, sports shoes, high heels r sandals and slippers are never acceptable.
In short, your attire should not be the point of attraction, rather your reading should hold the attention of the congregation. Remember - you are attending a sacred celebration!
- Violation of dress code
If any violation of dress code is brought to the notice of the Parish priest or Spiritual Director, the concerned Lector will be given a warning, and no reading allotted for 3 months. If the violation is repeated, their name would be deleted from the Reader's Sodality.
- Before the Mass:
Please arrive 15 minutes early and check the Lectionary to make sure the correct readings are marked with the ribbon, and familiarize yourself with the reading. Place the ribbon at the first reading. If you are going to be doing the first reading adjust the microphone gently. Do not adjust the microphone at the BASE. Please notice that the microphone has a "flexible" section just a few inches from where you read into it. Adjust the microphone by flexing that section.
- Preparation before reading:
Say the prayer before reading which invokes the Holy Spirit to empower you, as well as the assembled faithful to grant wisdom to understand the Word you are proclaiming. Practice the readings 3 or more times till you understand the passage.
If you have prayed with your reading, if what you are to read has meaning for you, that meaning will come through your reading, and God can use you to touch the hearts of others.
- First Reading:
Just after the opening prayer, walk up the steps and bow slowly and deliberately to the altar. Walk slowly. Do not hurry. You should approach the lectern with reverence. You are going to a holy place, the lectern, to read from the holiest of books, that of Scripture. Just as you approach with reverence the altar, the table of the Lord from which we receive the bread of life, so you approach with reverence the lectern, the table from which we receive God's Word
Say, "A reading from the book of." (Do not say, "Our first reading is .")
Eye contact is very important and does not come automatically. Before you begin, look at the congregation for a second. Keeping eye contact with them once in a while will encourage them to listen more attentively. It is important to look at them, even if they do not seem to be looking at you.
At the end of the reading, pause before you say "The Word of the Lord’’
Responsorial Psalm: Start by saying "Our Response to the Psalm is ----------
Read the Psalm slowly, clearly and prayerfully. At each response required, pause and wait for the congregation to say the response. If the congregation fails to respond as you expect, the Lector can lead the response.
8. Second Reading:
Walk up the steps as soon as the response to the last Psalm starts. Do not rush up to the altar before the 1st reader has finished. Take position on the altar near to the Lectern so that the 1st reader comes to the other side and reverence the altar together. At the end of the reading, pause before you say " The Word of the Lord ‘’ and exit the Lectern.
The gospel acclamation will be recited by the assembly.
- Prayer of the Faithful - ( POF ) (Intercessions):
Lector should stand and go up the steps during that part of the Apostle's creed which begins with "I believe in the Holy Spirit’’
- Bow slowly and deliberately at the altar.
When finished reading the intercessions - Do Not leave the lectern! It is very important that you wait until the priest finishes saying the concluding prayer, and then you return to your position.
- The 1st and 2nd reader should not take the Missalette to the Lectern and read from it - read only from the Lectionary on the Lectern
- Do not say "FirstReading", "Second Reading", Do not say the theme or chapters, verses, which Sunday of the year, etc.
- Start the reading by saying "A reading from"
- End the reading by saying "The Word of the Lord"
- Do not add, alter or delete anything from the reading
- The Lector doing the POF takes all the Missalettes to the Lectern
- Do not make an artificial accent or tune while reading
- Be seated in the right hand side first pew
- When unable to do allotted reading:
- If Lector knows in advance that he/she cannot take up allotted reading, please inform the Mass Coordinator (MC) sufficiently in advance.
- If he/she cannot reach in time before the Mass commences, please inform the MC but do not keep this for the last minute. The ideal form of communication would be SMS or calling him/ her on the mobile. Please save the contact numbers of MCs on your cell phone.
- Do not appoint a proxy lector in your place. In the absence of any Lector, only the MC has got the right to appoint alternate Lector.
- Absent without excuse:
If any Lector is absent for 2 consecutive readings without a genuine excuse, he/she will not be allotted any reading the next month.
- Attendance of lectors Ministry's meetings:
Once every 3 months, there will be a meeting of Reader's sodality. Attendance is mandatory for all meetings of the Readers sodality. All such meetings will be announced in the Church and also informed through e-mail by the Coordinator.
- If you are unable to attend the meeting-
Kindly send an excuse note by e-mail (which is essential) or, alternatively contact the Coordinator with a valid reason, followed by an e-mail.
Only genuine excuses such as illness or work obligation are considered reasons for excuse.
- If you not attending meeting and neither sending excuse note –
You will not be allotted reading till a valid and genuine excuse note is received
- When going on leave/ travelling outside UAE:
- If you are availing leave or traveling outside the UAE -
Please inform the coordinator on or before the 20th of the month by e-mail to facilitate Roster preparation for the subsequent month with this information input.
- If you go on leave / travel outside the UAE without informing, no reading would be allotted for 2 months
- If you are absent for 3 consecutive months without a genuine excuse, your name is liable to be deleted from the Reader's sodality.
- Term of Coordinator:
The term of the Coordinator will be maximum 2 years after which a new Coordinator will be selected. If at any point of time the coordinator is intending to leave the UAE for good, the Parish priest and Spiritual Director should be informed at least 6 months in advance so that a new coordinator is selected.
- Removal of name from the Lector's sodality:
The Parish priest has got the discretion to remove any Lector from the Lector's sodality if any complaint of serious nature against the Lector is received by the Parish priest or the Spiritual Director for Lectors. All such decisions will be taken after due verification of the complaint.
- Voluntary resignation:
If any Lector intends to resign from the sodality, he / she must give a notice in writing or through e-mail. Such notice, citing reasons should be sent to the Parish priest and cc to the Spiritual Director for Lectors and Coordinator.
In the Scriptures, by the Spirit, may we see the Saviour's face, hear His Word and hear His calling, know His Will and grow in His Grace and always remember the words of Isaiah 50: 4 - "The Lord has given me a well-trained tongue, that I may speak to the weary a word that will rouse them"
- Fr. Ani Xavier, Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Rodson Goes, Spiritual Director for Lectors