Today was my 1st experience as lector. I was a lot more nervous than I thought I was going to be....it felt like I ran out of breath during the 1st reading, but the 2nd reading and the prayers I thought went really well.
Right before Mass today, the sacristan came down the center aisle asking various people, "Would you like to do the reading today?" My husband, who usually serves as an usher, never a reader, agreed to do it (even though he hadn't shaved :eek:). He did well, too. He started both readings a little too fast, but when he got going, he slowed down and worked with the acoustics in the church. After Mass, the priest told him he had done well, with the only suggestion that he adjust the microphone next time.
I was pretty proud of him! I'll bet your family was proud of you, too.
Hi, anytime that one does something new, there's going to be some nervousness - but after you've Lectored for a few times, you won't be as nervous. :)
May I suggest that you visit the website - www.lectorprep.org ??
It's a great site that gives you insight into the readings, so when you proclaim them at the Ambo, you'll have a better understanding of what you are reading.
There's also some history and background / setting for each reading, and also tips on hard to pronounce words & names, plus places in each reading where a slight pause or emphasis is helpful to the listener. So they understand the readings better as well.
Also, I find it helpful to say a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read.
I think the lectorprep.org site has a prayer for Lectors listed.
I do lector training for our diocese. Lectorprep is a great site. Also LTP's Lector Workbook is wonderful (I just got my order delivered this morning, just in time for our fall Lector meeting) One of the things I stress with new lectors is to breathe. Sounds odd, but if you don't breathe correctly you are going to run out of breath, as the OP found out. Pay attention to punctuation and use that time to breathe. Don't rush through the readings...a big problems with new people is they read too fast. I say, if you think you are going too slow you probably aren't. And practice, practice, practice, preferably in front of someone or at least in front of a mirror. Better yet, record yourself. Also say a pray to the Holy Spirit before you start...and pray the readings during the week.
I started lectoring over the summer. I love it but before each time I walk up the steps to do the reading i feel panicky!!! my heart is beating 100 mph and I get sweaty. Once I start reading I'm ok though. Even if I stumble over a word it doesn't bother me like I thought it would. Actually I thank God if I make a little mistake b/c it didn't detract from his word but it will keep me from getting a big head too! :p
I have been a Lector for almost 5 years now in a small church. I used to get really nervous before I went up to read. It has gotten better. I always find it goes better if you read the scripture ahead of time and if there are hard names to practice them serveral times. There is a book to help pronounce names on the website that Prairie Rose suggested, out priest has one of those in the sacresty for us to look at.
I know this is a little old, but hopefully somebody can still benefit from it.
I have been a lector now for about 10 years. The opportunity has taught me a lot.
First thing: don’t ever, ever, ever lose the butterlies. If you lose the butterflies, you will screw up.
I have learned, over time, that there is a balance between under-preparation and over-preparation. If you are under-prepared, you are not going to know where the pauses are and will not know where to breathe. If you are over-prepared, you are going to perform the readings, not read the readings…and you will, in all likelihood, get it wrong. So learning that balance is very, very, very important. Don’t worry: it will come with time.
The next thing to learn is that this is not about you. I know that this sounds like a really strange thing to say but I have seen it in several instances: you will get good at it. People will praise you for the quality of reading. It will go to your head. And you will deliver a dramatic performance. It isn’t a dramatic performance. It is reading the Word of God. I speak from personal experience here btw.
Do you ever watch the National Shrine Masses on EWTN? For Solemnities etc. There are normally the same two lectors who read for their televised masses. One has a very haughty attitude and one just does the reading. Both are technically very competent, but you can hear the difference in the two. You should strive not to be the haughty one.
One thing I do that might be of benefit to you is as I enter the sanctuary and bow before the altar, I pray for God’s mercy. When the priest goes to read the Gospel, he says the following prayer:
[INDENT]Cleanse my heart and my lips, almighty God,
that I may worthily proclaim your holy Gospel.
[/INDENT]You could easily adapt such a prayer for yourself as you approach the lectern.
The next thing is context. You said that you read for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The first reading was Ex 17:8-13. OK, I’m sure you studied that before hand, but did you study its context? Did you read Ex 17:1-7 on your own – to understand what was going on with the Isralites before this battle? Do you know who Amalek is? If you understand those two details, it will bring out the importance of this passage to you…and you, through your inflections, can convey that context to the congregation listening to you. The point is: learn the context of what the readings are during the week prior to actually reading them. To me, knowing the context is actually more important than a bunch of repetitive practice.
Hope the above helps you. But I hope that you enjoy being a lector. I’ve found it to be very rewarding.