First, Second and Gospel Readings


Hello, I found out today that when its time for the readings, one is to listen and look to the pulpit, instead of reading or following along in the missal. Is it wrong to follow along and is it wrong when the Gospel is being read, the hold the missal and read along with the Deacon or the priest instead of looking at him the whole time? I have always read along but if I’m in the wrong I would like to correct myself. thanks!


In return, I would like to ask you how you found out it was wrong? Did another fellow Church member tell you, you were doing wrong? Being Anglican I don’t know what you guys do - just know in our church some read it at the same time and some listen. We all face the Deacon/Gospel but it is open to our own preference whether we read and listen or just listen. :slight_smile:


Normally when something is proclaimed it’s because we are meant to HEAR it. Remember that for centuries that’s how we’ve been instructed in the Faith & Scriptures, verbally.

That said, there are various reasons why someone would want to follow along: quality of the reader, person is a visual rather than auditory learner, poor acoustics, hearing impairment, etc., etc., etc… If you get more out of it by following along, do that. I get more out of it by listening.



If you search CAF, you will find that this has been discussed extensively.


I second this!!! :wave:

I try to always read the scriptures ahead of time in case there are any “auditory malfunctions” that might occur during Mass. And then I am ready to let the Word speak to me in the way that perhaps my eyes can’t register.

It’s not “wrong” to read along as the Scriptures are proclaimed and for many people it makes sense to do so. But it’s good to use all of our senses to discern God’s presence in our lives and this just happens to be the time where hearing is emphasized over other senses.


Nothing wrong with following along in the missalette. Many of today’s speakers are very poor in delivery, get a lot of words wrong, etc. There are far too many homophones in English to be comfortable just hearing something read. Not to mention distractions or wondering thoughts. Besides that, it’s always good to be able to go back to a previous sentence or two in order to make sense of it all.

And if you attend in a vernacular other than your own, you certainly can’t be blamed for using a missal. You can generally pick up more off a printed page.


You are not obliged to sit up and look to the pulpit and listen.
You are absolutely free to follow the readings in the missalette. As ProVobis has said there are a number of reasons why this is even advisable.


Just one more note. There is no requirement or even suggestion that you “look to the pulpit”.

Personally, I absorb more if I follow along. But if I am in a position where I don’t have the readings in front of me, I close my eyes and listen as intently as I can. The important thing is that you open yourself up to the Word - however that works best for you.


There is actually official guidance to listen rather than read from the USCCB. I have always disagreed with this approach, and I would wager that most of the others who have posted in this thread disagree as well, but it is probably the source of the admonition that Franklin33 received:

Hearing the Word of God

…The key word in all of this is listening. We are called to listen attentively as the reader, deacon or priest proclaims God’s Word. Unless one is unable to hear, one should not be reading along with a text from a missal or missalette. Rather, taking our cue from the General Instruction itself, we should listen as we would if Christ himself were standing at the ambo, for in fact it is God who speaks when the Scriptures are proclaimed. Carefully following along with the printed word can cause us to miss the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit, the message that the Spirit may have for us in one of the passages because we are anxious to ‘keep up,’ to move along with the reader.

My retort would paraphrase theirs:

Carefully following the poorly pronounced readings in the echoing sound system can cause us to miss the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit because we are anxious to discern what words were actually spoken, instead of following along and comprehending the message that the Spirit may have for us.


Then the same (the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit) should apply if the reading is done in Latin or in Spanish or in German, no?


A long time ago, I was designing a parish bulletin and found that I wasn’t allowed to print the readings for the reason that they are meant to be heard, not read.

I also think the USCCB is wrong on this. I get much more out of following along with the text than either reading or listening alone.




The idea is about hearing and listening and therefore following along in the missalette is inappropriate except in situation where that is not possible or perhaps when the reading is in the vernacular that one does not understand. The liturgy of the Word is not Bible study but listening to God himself – it is a proclamation.

I am a lector as a part of my contribution to the liturgy and it is true that many readings sometimes are not well read. In our parish we have tried to train lector on how to read. Lol. Among other things that were emphasized was that it should not be the first time that the readings of the day be heard during the mass but that they should be read and reflected on already, well before the mass, that when we come for the mass we already known what the readings are so that it is easier to know the content despite the poor pronunciation or the pa system of the church.


The thread is about whether it is REQUIRED or not to look at the readers/priest and listen or whether you may follow the readings/gospel by reading the missalette.
It is NOT required to look and listen. People are free to do either and whichever makes them more comfortable and able to understand better is fine.


[quote="thistle, post:14, topic:346133"]
The thread is about whether it is REQUIRED or not to look at the readers/priest and listen or whether you may follow the readings/gospel by reading the missalette.
It is NOT required to look and listen. People are free to do either and whichever makes them more comfortable and able to understand better is fine.


Hey, why the capital letters? What did I say to deserve that?

Nobody is saying it is required. I was saying the idea .... . is to listen and to hear. You don't have to (following the missalette) if you already read and reflected on the readings before the mass. That was clearly a suggestion, an advice to go about this. It is not a declaration or something. So why so touchy?:shrug:

I was trained in GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) and that was what my instructor taught us.


Sure nobody is saying it isn’t, either.

However, the spirit of the mass as stipulated in GIRM and as instructed clearly means that it is for the congregation to listen and to hear. That is why the lectors should read well and perhaps improve the pa system. Our instructor went further in saying that when we are following the missallette, we may inadvertently looking for fault whether the reader misses a word or pronounces it wrongly or not pausing the comma and we get distracted, therefore we should let our mind as free as possible by just listening… but those was his personal opinion. God is speaking in the mass and we listen to the King. This in no way is saying that one cannot follow the missallette, for heaven sake.


But those are general instructions, not specific. If one is accustomed to absorb material through reading only, how can you tell him he is wrong for doing so? Many used to absorb the epistle and gospel, first read in the Latin, then repeated in vernacular, two different inputs for better absorption and authenticity. Some choose to follow the English in their missals as it’s being read. Some choose to follow it in Spanish. And so forth. Evelyn Woods teaches one to read with his fingers. Different strokes…


Goodness, what is the problem guys?

I did not say it is wrong to follow the missallette. I did not say anything like that at all. There are people, like you say, would listen better by reading. Trully, trully, I say to you, I have no problem with that.:wink: I don’t know how to make it more explicit, my brother?

Different strokes … yessssssss a thousand times. The GIRM stands however that it is preferred, when possible, to just listen because this also encourage us to read the readings before we go to the mass.:slight_smile:

Also what would you do when your King is making a proclamation? Would you be browsing through the text just in case he does not say it clearly?:wink: It is a matter of one’s disposition during the mass. We have stopped with ‘commentator’ in this part of the world because it is distracting to the flow of the mass and besides Catholics should know when to sit or stand.

Not trying to be smart here. Have a good day.:thumbsup:


Well, I agree with you there. Or read the passages to yourself before Mass starts, but then you’ll need a missalette or handmissal for that. I use the time to study the Latin and do the translation myself.


Glad that perhaps you have read my posts.

I too bring my missal to the mass. Never referred to it though because I know what is in there already as I had read it before that or discussed it with my cell group members. I bring the missal however because you never know you may need it. Usually I would give it to my children during the readings. You know, children.

Fortunate or unfortunately, the mass we attend is not multi-lingual and you would know just to expect. No problem in the vernacular.

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