Has anyone fumbled while Lecturing at church?



While attending daily mass today I was asked to be a reader. I did not expect to read but gladly offered to assist at mass. I was a little nervous when I got to Lectern but for the most part I read well. By the end of reading I fumbled a word,it threw me off and I went back to the beginning of sentence, arghh. I got through it but felt awful when I returned to my pew.
Indeed, it was a humbling experience which I hope never to encounter if ever I have to read again. I was wondering if any of my fellow Catholic brothers and sisters have ever gone through this and if so, how did you get past the feeling a failure?



So your tongue got in front of your eye-tooth and you couldn’t see what you were saying? :wink:

Within a day or two (or even less), I seriously doubt anyone else will even remember your mistake unless you bring it up. The Mass (and life) goes on after the readings.

I know that our lectors, and even our priest, have occasionally stumbled on a word and/or started a sentence over, and I don’t think badly of them for it at all. Even though I usually do recall the gist of the readings, I usually don’t remember the details (including any reading mistakes or who was lectoring) by the time we get to the Homily.

I do recall one time when I was younger, trying not to giggle when someone mis-read “brazier” as “brassiere,” but I don’t remember who the lector was–and honestly, I don’t even think I could have pointed out the next day who it was (and I knew most of the people at my parish at that time)! So, really, I’m pretty certain that you are the only person who is worrying over it–and quite possibly the only person who even remembers it.

And besides, if I am judging someone else for a little reading trip-up, then I really need to be working more on my own prayer life! :wink:


It’s really bad when you mispronounce a biblical name and the priest says it correctly about 20 times during the homily! :doh2:


It wasn’t a tongue twister word, I think I started to read to fast because of
My nerves. Live and learn…


At our church, we probably have 3 mistakes a month at least! I think the rest of us are so happy we are not the ones up there that we don’t pay any attention to mistakes :wink:


One reader in my parish is famous for reading a passage from the wrong day.


Not to worry. Anyone who has been honored to Lecture, has also been sent a dose of humility. I made such a ridiculous mistake trying to say a name once that the whole parish burst out laughing. “Oh oops!”

Don’t worry about. Plan to practice difficult words should your chance to read comes up again and let mistakes be a source of fun humility. And if there are serious complainers invite them to check with the person in charge of the Liturgy to see if they can become a reader. This usually results in silence.

A little different, but once our Choir Director, who was one of the most gracious folks you could ever meet, was accused of being the director to get attention after one of our Masses. She simply handed her arm full of music books, sheet music and other related materials to the person making the statement. As she did so she said: “You can take over anytime you want.” Silence followed. The complainer put the arm full of books down on the piano and walked away. Go figure!


I’m not a lector so I haven’t done this, but occasionally someone will. As the others have said, no one remembers so no one will criticize you for such an honest mistake.


I’ve never read at mass, but I can tell you that such occurences are common enough, both during reading during mass and in other situations, that there is just no reason to consider it a failure.

As I’ve said, I’ve never read at mass, but I do teach college math courses, and it’s a rare day when I don’t garble at least one word. And I don’t just mean that I mispronounce words - more like say something that sounds like I randomly decided to gargle with a mouth full of gum drops. It happens, and it’s embarrassing the first time or two, but if you end up speaking in front of people often, you just take it in stride - and probably actually find it funny.

So - it’s not a failure, no matter how simple the word was, and it shouldn’t discourage you from reading again. Sometimes the mouths don’t come out of our words right.


That has happened at my parish too. Boy, the pastor was mad. I was just glad it wasn’t on my shift :slight_smile:

I was a lector for years, and of course, things happen. Don’t sweat it. Try reading your readings more than a few times prior to Mass and it will be a LOT easier.

I remember a few years ago, we were doing a narrative version of the Passion (with the priest as Jesus and one commentator and three “voices”. I was one of the voices for the people saying “Crucify him” and embarassing…when I yelled “Crucify Him!” I started to cry. It was hard to control it. Took a deep breath and carried on. But I don’t want to ever have to do that “voice” again. Not in front of 1,000 people. No way.




The Lord sees the Heart, you dwelling to much on yourself, you did it to Glorify God, not yourself, so if you made an error it was human, and to forgive is divine. I find when reading I bring a small ruler as it is a bit nerve racking reading in public and put the ruler underneath the sentence.

I am sure you read perfectly, concentrate on the positive and not the negative…


I’ve never been a lector and never will be, but once in college I helped father distribute ashes on Ash Wednesay at his request.

When the first person came up, I got my line backwards and said, “Turn away from the Gospel and embrace sin!”

The whole auditorium (no chapel) laughed at me, including father. I just laughed, too. What else could I do?

I still laugh about it sometimes.


My husband is a regular lector at our church and I often have to speak in front of groups. Fumbling words is just a part of it. Normally if we just mispronounce or skip a word or something relatively small like that we just continue on! A little bluffing helps. Most of the people in church don’t know how to pronounce it, have a missalette and can read the correct thing there, or they are listening and still don’t notice. Our rule of thumb is, We may be wrong, but we’ll be wrong with confidencer! LOL :smiley:


Don’t feel bad. I dare say it happens to everyone at least once. Truth be told, I don’t think it’s noticed or remembered.


Actually, the correct question would be:
“Has anyone NOT fumbled . . .”



I’ve rarely had a mistake that left me stumbling but once I was reading “Then a shoot will come out from the stump of Jesse…” but when I read it it came out “Then a shoot will come out from the rump of Jesse…” It was very difficult to maintain a straight face and keep reading. Nobody seemed to notice but I had a minor meltdown during the Offertory as I suddenly visualized what I’d read.

Luckily I was able to meltdown silently though I’m sure those behind me must have wondered why my shoulders where shaking so.


Isn’t a better question: “Who hasn’t fumbled while Lecturing at church?” You shouldn’t feel like a failure–even public speakers, people who do it for a living fumble–as you call it. Have you not heard your various priests fumble at times over the years? Have you not heard other readers fumble at times over the years? Do you think much about it at Mass–I know I don’t and if you asked me after Mass–I wouldn’t be able to tell you if there was a fumble during the readings–just not where my focus is–and I guess that’s true for 99% of those who attend Mass (I’d say 100% but there is always that one guy).

Speaking to a large group is very hard–even if it is just reading–I know I dread it but that’s because I have a tendency to be very self-conscience and I really have to work not be focused on me but on the announcement or the reading or the material I need to deliver–just remember 99% of those sitting out there–are glad it is you up there and not themselves–their listening to the readings, not writing of review of your performance.

I say way to step-up when there was no one else to do it.

The peace of Christ,


It happens to priests also. Just calmly start the sentence over.


:rotfl::rotfl: Dude stop! :rotfl::rotfl: you’re killin me!


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