New Lector - Neophyte...What reading material must I purchase to prepare fully?

Hi everyone,
As some of you know, I have just been welcomed into the Catholic Church last Easter Vigil April 3rd 2010. My husband and both my young sons are baptised Catholic also and have recieved all sacraments up to date.

I felt the call to become a reader of the word lector and attended a parish ministries meeting. New to this position coming, yep I am nervous of course and would appreciate any material I can get my hands on to learn each up coming dated reading so I am prepared…

I really want to deliver the people in prayer a reading they enjoy hearing and one they can reflect one. It’s something I feel I need to embrace…Being a small parish people will be surprised seeing me up there, but I must look confident, feel confident, read beautifully and enjoy reading the word of God. Honestly I am a quiet shy girl normally but understand my calling…Bit of pressure but I can do it…

Any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated thankyou…I can only do my best…Ps I have been participating in mass for years as a non catholic too whilst my boys were altar boys and they still are…even better now I am CATHOLIC!!! HOORAY!!! My family are complete and finally together as one united with Christ…

God bless to everyone…x

Welcome home! Praise God that you followed His call and are now receiving grace through His sacraments and His word. Thank you for your desire to serve Him by proclaiming His Word at Mass.

There are many resources for helping lectors with their speaking skills, but the most important thing to do is to read over the readings several times beforehand and PRAY over them. Ask God to give you insight into the readings and to guide you as you proclaim them. Dedicate a period of time to meditate on the readings. If your parish uses disposable “missals,” ask to take one home for your preparation, or go here for daily and Sunday readings.

That was pretty much what I was going to say, because that’s what we were told to do. It can be a tad nerve racking to read in front of people, but personally I found that if I’ve read over the reading a couple times then I’m not stumbling and sentences flow better.

Your parish may provide you with a lector’s workbook that has all the readings for the liturgical year. The best part about the workbook is that it provides help with pronouncing the more difficult words and advice on what phrases to place emphasis on.

When you know what reading you have, practice, practice, practice reading out loud, loud and slowly. Practicing the reading allows you look up at the congregation from time to time while you are. When I do the lector training, I always tell the new lectors to imagine that they are speaking to someone in the last pew without benefit of a microphone.

My advice to you is to approach this as a ministry and not a job. Therefore, your reading of the Scriptures at Mass should be an act of prayer and worship.

  1. Prepare yourself by reading the excerpts ahead of time. I would even recommend going to your Bible and reading several verses before and after the verses you’ll read at Mass, so that you can see what the context of those verses is. Also, practice speaking the readings aloud so that you can say things like “in fidelity to” without making it sound like “infidelity to”, and properly pronounce names like “Melchizedek”.

  2. Prepare yourself with prayer. Before the priest reads the Gospel, he prays:
    Cleanse my heart and my lips, almighty God, [Isa. 6:5-7]
    that I may worthily proclaim your holy Gospel. [Eph. 6:19]
    And when a deacon is going to read it, the priest prays this over him:
    May the Lord be in your heart and on your lips [Ps. 19:14]
    that you may proclaim his Gospel worthily and well, [Eph. 6:19]
    in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
    I would recommend making a habit of praying before you read at Mass. When I was a lector at my previous parish, I would pray the following on my way up to the ambo:
    I beseech You, Holy Spirit:
    be in my heart and on my lips,
    that I may worthily and fittingly proclaim the Word
    which You inspired in prophets and apostles,
    to the glorification of God and the sanctification of His people.
    Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  3. Based on the last part of my prayer: allow your reading of the Scriptures at Mass to be an act of glorifying God and of edifying and sanctifying His people. The Scriptures aren’t read at Mass simply to be some history lesson for the people – everything at Mass is, first and foremost, worship of God.

Agreed with the above, and fortunately there are sites online to help you with the pronunciation of unfamiliar Biblical words – and this includes the name of the book (!), like Philippians or Colossians, both of which I’ve heard get butchered.

My other piece of advice would be to avoid the slow, overly precise, word-by-word style that people for some reason think is required of Bible lectors, involving two-second pauses at each comma, severe consonants, and an intonation as though each word were a whole sentence by itself. I don’t know why so many people do this, but the best lectors read with a normal speech patter, as though they were reading aloud to their family a letter from a relative.

Here are some common errors for new lectors to avoid :smiley:

Phillipians have lips (fi-LIP-ians). They are not Filipinos.
Colossians rhymes with galoshes, not coliseum.
Cephas (SEE-fus) is NOT Caiaphas (KY-a-fus).
Lyre sounds like liar, not lee-ray.
Put the “die” in diadem (DYE-a-dem, not DEE-a-dem).
Pilate sounds like pilot, not pee-LA-tay like the exercise program.
Don’t forget the first “T” in immortality!
Phrygia is FRIDGE-ee-a, not fry-GEE-a.
End the reading with “The Word of the Lord.” The “This is…” was dropped years ago.

Make sure to prepare, but don’t think to much about yourself…like, whether people will like your reading style or be enriched by your skillful, insightful reading.

It is good that you feel a call to serve in this way, but it ain’t rocket science! :wink:

Read the reading in advance, think about it and pray, and visit this site: to check pronunciation.

Don’t try to sound compelling or dramatic. Just read in a steady voice at a good pace, with natural intonation that matches the punctuation. I find it helpful to keep my finger at the end of the line I am reading, in case my eye skips a line.

oh yeah, just a heads up in case someone jumps on ya;)…“lector” is actually a minor order, which is no longer used, afaik. Lay people who read scripture at Mass are normally called ‘readers’.

Our converts are on fire with the Spirit and want to be involved in the liturgy. How sad for the many cradle Catholics who have a Ho-Hum attitude toward the true faith. We have a convert who has become a Reader in our parish and is excited about it.

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