Hi, I’ve recently gone through lector training and will be doing the reading for the first time tomorrow. I tend to get kind of nervous in front of crowds, and would appreciate any prayers sent my way. Also, if anybody has any advice, that would also be welcomed.
I too get stage fright. You know what they teach you in public speaking in school? Forget about it. Do what works for you. Stick your eyes to the reading if you don’t want to be frightened by the crowd. Or if you need to stare to the crowd to give a sense of connection, stare straight to the back and not into people’s faces.
Come to Mass early and pray. Don’t worry about mistakes. Don’t try to read too fast, its not a race. Just go at a steady pace. Don’t be afraid to correct yourself. There’s no grading here. After you get this first one out of the way, it just gets easier.
If you have time right now or early tomorrow, read the reading a couple of times or more so you’ll be familiar with it.
You’ll be fine. Do you already know what the passage is that you’ll be reading, though? Because there’s no substitute for standing in your house and literally reading it out loud two or three times. (Also, please don’t adopt the ultra-slow, super-exaggerated “lector voice” that some people think they have to have to read Scripture. When you listen to a book on tape they don’t speak. . . . like. . . . this. :))
I agree, but at the same time many people read way faster than they realize, being nervous and all.
Nothing like practice, and if you can practice into a recorder beforehand and play it back, you can get a better idea of how you sound.
Also, try not to memorize the passage, but be familiar with it. Read both before and after it to prepare, so you have some context of what the text is saying. The better you understand it yourself, the better it will sound.
First of all, practice. You don’t need to memorize the reading, but be familiar with it. That will help your confidence.
We tell our lectors to make eye contact with the parishioners, but your first few times out, don’t worry about that. Especially since you’re nervous in front of crowds.
Just before it’s time for you to read, take a few deep breaths.
And most of all – pray. Pray to the Holy Spirit to help you, remembering that these are not your words, they are God’s.
I’ve found that “Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word” is a great help in preparing.
There’s also 2 websites I recommend - www.lectorprep.org and www.proclaimnet.org that are helpful as well.
They give you some background info about the readings and help with hard to pronounce words and some tips on places to pause to help make it easier for the people in the pews to understand. In my experience, observing the punctuation is important.
But most of all - don’t worry - you’ll do fine!!!
I know what you mean. We have a lector who instead of imparting the words of St. Paul to me becomes a source of temptation to sin for me during Mass.
I was briefly a lector at daily mass one Saturday a month (after a few times I decided it wasn’t for me since people said they had a hard time hearing me).
One tip, besides practicing beforehand, that probably help you is something my spiritual director taught me. It’s a technique that he said people learn how to sing. It’s a five step process. Whisper, softly, normal, loud, yell. I didn’t get a chance to do it, but someone suggested standing in front of the microphone. hope this helps.
Thanks for the advice everybody, it went better than I expected it to. I think I did alright, but I’m not ready to look at the parishioners just yet. Your advice really helped.
Glad to hear it!
You got the first one out of the way, the next ones would be peanuts.
I’ve been a reader in various parishes for the last 25 years. I experience the same knees knocking & feeling faint the first couple of times I read in the new parish.
When I was a lector, I used a site called: lectorprep.org/
It is a great site that helps you understand the readings, pronounce words and names,and so on.
It understandable to be nervous, but if you practice out loud during the week, and arrive early enough to review the readings in church I guarantee that you will overcome most of your nervousness.
I used to get nervous myself. The trick I use for looking at the congregation when I read is that there are usually some familiar faces or friends seated at different areas of the Church.
Look at them only, and since they are often scattered, the people sitting around them have the sense your looking at them as well. That method often covers the entire congregation.
The other thing to remember is to be close to the microphone.