Welcome to the Ministry of the Word!
“As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 10:7)
At Sacred Heart, we are grateful for Vatican II for opening the door to ensure active participation of the congregation inside and outside the Mass through the Liturgy of the Word.
Your willingness to respond to your Baptismal call to serve the people of God, in the capacity of a Minister of the Word, more commonly known as Lector, reflects your commitment to Christ. Your willingness to commit to a twelve week schedule; to arrive on time and to be well prepared for your assigned Mass is a further reflection of your willingness to respond fully to your Baptismal call.
When you pray, prepare and proclaim the Word of God well, you not only enhance the beauty of the Liturgy but you become the instrument through whom God speaks to all members of the assembly. "God speaks to His people, revealing the mystery of their redemption and salvation and offering them spiritual nourishment.² (General Instruction on the Roman Missal)
Once you are commissioned to serve in the ministry, a Lector cross will be made available in the Sacristy for you to wear during the Mass in which you serve. Wear this cross humbly for it signifies that you have accepted the awesome privilege of proclaiming the Good News of the Lord!
God bless your efforts!
At Sacred Heart Parish, parishioners are invited to serve in the Ministry of Lectoring through a process of discernment which considers the important responsibility, the need for flexibility and dependability, and the ability to collaborate with other liturgical ministers. Although Sacristans are not limited in terms of service, all liturgical ministers are asked to always reflect on their own fruitfulness and faithfulness in their ministry.
- A practicing Catholic of faith and prayer
- A deep love and devotion to Scripture
- Basic communication abilities
- A voice that is clear, understandable, and audible
- A blending of self-confidence, maturity, poise, and humility
- A willingness to engage in ongoing formation
- The ministry schedule, which in most cases will be for twelve weeks, will be made available in the Narthex the weekend prior to the first weekend of the new schedule. Those not picked up over the weekend will be mailed out during the week so that all liturgical ministers will have the updated schedule prior to the first week of the new schedule. The ministry schedule is also available on line at sacredheartboise.org.
- Be sure to notify the parish office at 208-344-8311 of any known schedule issues, e.g. vacations or changes in availability for the following months, so the schedule may be prepared appropriately.
- Remember it is your responsibility to secure a substitute should you have a schedule conflict.
- If you repeatedly miss your scheduled time for serving without securing a substitute you will be removed from active ministry.
- The 1st Lector's name on the schedule is designated as the 1st reader; the 2nd Lector's name on the schedule is designated as the 2nd reader; it is the Church's desire that the Word of God be proclaimed by more than one (1) voice, thus two (2) Lectors are assigned for the Sunday Masses.
- Committing oneself to ongoing faith and ministry formation is essential in being an effective minister, regardless of the ministry. Attend workshops, classes, retreats, and small Christian communities to help you grow in your own faith.
- Prayer and preparation are the keys to your being an effective proclaimer of God's Word. To that end then, pray that you proclaim the Word of God as He wills it to be proclaimed and prepare well for your reading, by reviewing the reading, learning about the reading, turning to your Bible and reading the passage immediately preceding and following the text chosen for the Mass at which you will be reading, so that you better understand the context. Practice your reading aloud to maximize your ability to effectively proclaim God's Word.
- Practice making eye contact with the assembly. Remember you want to capture the attention of the assembly, so that the members of the assembly hear the Word of God and can reflect on the words being spoken to them.
- Your respect for the ministry should be reflected in your appearance and attire; appropriate attire includes being properly groomed and wearing a suit and tie or clean, nicely creased trousers with shirt and tie or nice sweater (for men); pants suit or skirt or slacks with blouse/sweater (for women). Please note: no shorts at any time! Jewelry or clothing which would be distracting to the assembly should not be worn.
- Be confident. You have the guidance of the Spirit to guide you. If you are focused on God's Word and have prepared well, you will be the instrument through whom God speaks to the Parish Community.
- Remember each time you proclaim the Word of God, you are proclaiming the Good News of the Lord!!
- A Liturgical Minister may perform only one liturgical ministry at a time, at Mass, thus, e.g. if you are performing the function of lector at Mass, you may not also perform the function of Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist at the same Mass. Because the Sacristan’s work is done prior to Mass, a Sacristan may serve as a lector or a Eucharistic Minister.
Responsibilities Before Mass
- Plan on being in the sacristy at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled Mass time; check your name off the posted schedule or insert your name for the person for whom you are substituting. Take a Lector cross to wear during the Mass.
- Check the Lectionary and be sure that the correct readings are marked.
- Review the Prayers of the Faithful (if necessary) and be sure you are aware of how to pronounce any names to be mentioned in the intentions of the day. Never eliminate any of the prayers of the faithful or petitions unless specifically instructed to do so by the Presider (Celebrant). In the event you are asked to eliminate any of the petitions, never eliminate the petitions naming the sick or the deceased of the parish.
- Please note that at daily Mass, (held in Chapel), there is only one Lector assigned who proclaims the reading and the psalm response even when there is music, but does not offer the Prayers of the Faithful. When proclaiming the psalm response, pause after the reading and then proclaim the psalm antiphon; Remember that the time before Mass is preparation time, thus your demeanor should be one of respectful quiet.
Responsibilities During Mass
- A Deacon present at Mass carries the Book of Gospels in the processional, reads the Prayers of the Faithful and assists in the distribution of the Eucharist. In the absence of a Deacon, the designated 1st Lector carries the Book of Gospels in procession. The designated 1st Lector also reads the Prayers of the Faithful in the absence of the Deacon. In the absence of a deacon, the designated 2 nd Lector may read the pulpit announcement.
- If there is only one Lector, and no Deacon, the Book of Gospels will not be carried in procession, but will be placed upon the altar, open, before the start of the Mass.
- There is no need to bow, genuflect or otherwise personalize your presence within the Liturgy, nor is there a need to raise the Lectionary before or after your reading.
- The 1st Lector is to come forward from the assembly after the Opening Prayer is concluded and the Celebrant takes his seat at the Presider's Chair. When there is a reverent quiet evident, The 1st Lector proclaims the reading. When finished, the Lector is to return to his/her seat within the assembly.
- The 2nd Lector is to come forward from the assembly after the Responsorial Psalm is sung. When there is a reverent quiet evident again, the 2nd reading is to be proclaimed.
- After completing the 2nd Reading, the Lector is to put the Lectionary in the rack on the ambo to make room for the Book of Gospels, from which the Gospel is proclaimed by either the Deacon or the Celebrant.
- If there is only one Lector, the Lector is to remain at the lectern while the Psalm is sung. The 2nd reading is to be proclaimed when there is a reverent quiet evident again.
- If there is no Deacon to read the Prayers of the Faithful, then the 1st Lector approaches the lectern when the Creed is about 2/3 completed and begins the Prayers of the Faithful after the Celebrant completes the introductory prayer. Remain at the lectern after you have finished the Prayers of the Faithful, until the celebrant has completed the ending prayer; then return to your seat within the assembly.
- It is helpful to mentally count to 5, before saying "The Word of the Lord",2 to allow the assembly an opportunity to absorb what you have just proclaimed, before you finally conclude with "The Word of the Lord2.
- The Book of Gospels remains at the lectern at the end of Mass. The thinking is that one leaves the Eucharistic celebration carrying the Word of God in one's heart, living the message received.
(General Instruction of the Roman Missal)
When the Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself is speaking to his people, and Christ, present in his own word, is proclaiming the gospel. The readings of God's word must therefore be listened to by all with reverence; they make up a principal element of the liturgy. In the biblical readings, God's word addresses all people of every era and is understandable to them, and a fuller understanding and efficacy are fostered by a living commentary on it, that is to say, by the homily, understood as an integral part of the liturgical action (GIRM 29). (1)
Vocal Expression of the Different Texts
In texts that are to be delivered in a loud and clear voice, whether by the priest or deacon or by the Lector, or by all, the tone of voice should correspond to the genre of the text, that is, accordingly as it is a reading, a prayer, an instruction, an acclamation, or a liturgical song; the tone should also be suited to the form of celebration and to the solemnity of the gathering. Other criteria are the idiom of different languages and the genius of peoples. (38).
The liturgy of the word must be celebrated in such a way as to promote meditation. For this reason, any kind of haste which impedes recollection must be clearly avoided. Brief moments of silence are appropriate during the liturgy. Such moments should be suitable for the gathered assembly, in which the Word of God is taken into the heart by the fostering of the Holy Spirit, and its response is prepared through prayer. Such moments of silence are opportunely observed after the first and second reading, and then, at the completion of the homily (56).
- In the readings, the table of God's Word is laid for the faithful and the riches of the Bible are opened to them. Hence, the arrangement of the biblical readings must be observed, whereby the unity of each Testament and of the history of salvation is demonstrated; nor is it permitted that the readings and responsorial psalm, which contain the word of God, are substituted by other, non-biblical texts (57).
- In the celebration of the Mass with a congregation, the readings are always given from the ambo (58).
- By tradition, the office of reading the Scriptures is a ministerial, not a presidential function. The readings should be delivered by a Lector, the Gospel being proclaimed by the deacon or by a priest other than the celebrant. If, however, a deacon or other priest is not present, the priest celebrant proclaims the Gospel. Further, if a suitable Lector is not present, then the priest celebrant also delivers the other readings. After each reading, whoever does the reading proclaims the acclamation. Responding to it, the gathered people honor the word of God which they have received with faith and grateful hearts (59).
- The Lector is instituted to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the gospel reading. He may also announce the intentions for the General Intercessions and, in the absence of the psalmist, sing or read the psalm between the readings. In the celebration of the Eucharist, the Lector has specific duties which he alone ought to perform, even though ordained ministers may be present (99).
- In the absence of an instituted Lector, other lay people may be designated to proclaim the readings from the Sacred Scriptures. Such designated Lectors must be truly qualified and carefully prepared for this office, so that the faithful will develop a warm and lively love for Sacred Scripture from listening to the reading from the sacred texts (101).
- All subsequent citations are from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, unless otherwise noted.
- GIRM, no. 339: …lectors, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate and dignified clothing.
- Ibid., no. 274. If, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is present in the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself.