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Church Cleaning Rota
|6th August 2020||Team B||-|
|13th August 2020||Team C||-|
|20th August 2020||Team D||-|
|27th August 2020||Team A||-|
Being a Reader at Mass Guidance for Those Reading at the Liturgy
Article first published in the St Francis' Newsletter dated April/May 2009.
Why have readers?
We are all involved through our attentiveness in every part of the mass. Some have particular liturgical roles. One of these is the be a Reader (or Lector), an office with a long an honerable history, dating back to the early life of the Church.
The Mass is composed of two parts
1. The Liturgy Of The Word, when the focus is on the Lecturn (or Ambo) and the homily of the priest. We feed on Christ in His 'Word', presented to us in the form of readings, psalmody, lessons and the Gospel. 2. The Liturgy of the Eucharist, when the centre of attention is the Altar. Here we are nourished by Christ sacrementally present in the forms of bread and wine.
The Reader has a vital contribution to make in the Liturgy of the Word. Catholics believe that Christ is present in His Word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the Scriptures are read in Church. This important act of service to the community is comparable to the work of Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion. Both have roles of dignity and significance - each deals with holy things and makes available Christ's presence in Word and Sacrament for His people. What could be a greater privilege than that?
Guidance for those reading at the Liturgy
At least once you should get the feel of the space and the sound of your voice in the church. If there is a microphone, practice with it switched on. Practice reading from the lectionary book. Do not read from a hand missal or leaflet, which will lead you to look downward, even to mumble and will look very undignified. Listen carefully to other readers and note their good points.
Be on time and be ready
Arrive at church in good time before the Mass. Go to the lectionary and check that the page is correctly marked. Notice where your passage is in the book, so that you don't fumble when you come to read.
Proclaiming the Reading
When the time comes, go to the lecturn in a dignified manner. Make sure that the microphone is set so that you read into it, even if you did this before Mass. Give the congregation a moment to collect their thoughts before you begin. Stand tall and do not let your head fall forward. Announce the reading with the words in the lectionary. Do not say 'The First Reading' or 'The Second Reading'. Simply read what it says in the book, 'A Reading from...' pause slightly before beginning to read the text.
Read solemnly, loudly and clearly, so that the imporatance of the words is obvious. Remember that it is God's Word. It is more of a 'proclamation' than a reading of it. Read slowly, so that it even feels a little too slow to you. It will sound just right to the ears of the listeners. Practice this speed of reading or you may have a tendency to speed up as you read. Remember the words are all important. If you rush them the people will not hear them and you will sound as though you do not think that they are important.
The Bidding Prayers
When the decon is not available the Reader will often lead these, known also as 'The Prayer of the Faithful' or 'Prayers of Intercession'. The celebrant introduces and concludes the prayers while the Reader speaks the biddings. It is important not to rush but to leave time for the congregation to actually pray. There should be a pause before the words 'Lord, hear us'.
The reading of the gospel at Mass is reserved to the priest or deacon. This is an instant of the principle that at Mass every ordained minister or authorised layperson performs all the roles allotted to them and only those roles. By the same principle it belongs to the Reader to proclaim the first and second Scripture reading and that task isn't to be taken over by a priest or deacon.
Following the reform of Vatican II, there is a renewed emphasis on the importance of the Liturgy of the Word, with the treasures of the Bible opened up more lavishly. The work of the Reader is of the greatest value in the process of renewal.
Do remember, being a Reader at Mass is a service to the Liturgy, the Church and the community. It requires a spirit of humility and fidelity, for which we should pray.