New Reader/Lector at mass here, Help!


I’ve been put as a lector for next year without my knowledge (until I got the schedule in the mail) and I’m nervous because I have never done the readings before and have had no training.
I can’t contact my parish because the office is closed until February.
Are there any online resources that can prepare me?
How will I know what to say and when to go up?


There will be a book at the lectern when you go up to read. I’d recommend buying a Sunday missal so you can go over the reading before the Mass each Sunday. In the meantime here is a link with the readings:


Many churches have their lector training document online . Just search catholic lector training. There is also a book to help with pronunciation. We were using it for bible study. They have the reading and commentary. Important for you to understand the passages you are reading.


Talk to your pastor about it this Sunday at Mass. Tell him you were mistakenly put on the list and would like to be taken off until after you receive training (or taken off, period, if you aren’t interested in reading at Mass).


And, if after training you decide that you would like to be a lector, there a wonderful book that gives detailed help for reading. Background, pronunciation help, and tips for when to pause, etc… Cost is around 12 bucks. Our parish provides one for each of our 60 lectors. I highly recommend it.


How can the parish office be closed until February? That doesn’t sound right. What would happen to sick calls, etc., if that is true.

No one should be “put on as a lector” without having first being asked if they were willing. Some people are just not suited to do this. Reading aloud in public is not easy. It needs training first.

You surely can talk to your priest after Mass? Just tell him “Father, I was shocked to see my name on the lector schedule! No one even asked me if I could do it, or if I was willing to do it. Please remove my name immediately.”


I live in a small town in a small populated country with limited parishes and priests. I will speak to my priest when I see him and I’m hoping he will instruct me on how to be a Reader because I think I would like to do it.


I’ve never been asked to be a reader, but when I see the bored look on the faces of those around me, I don’t think I could do it either. Once my boss had me fill in for her in her classroom, and I saw that 4 or 5 fell asleep before I finished the first sentence. And here I had spent a day preparing for it. It was different, however, when I held my own classes. :slight_smile:


One important thing to do is to get a workbook. My parishes use this one, and while I am not a big fan of the publisher, I guess it is not too bad. It provides invaluable tips and instruction for proclaiming the readings. I think it provides pronunciation keys as well; if it doesn’t then you can purchase one of those to help with the unfamiliar Hebrew names and such.

It goes without saying that the more preparation you make time for, the better. I never get much notice because I am not an official lector but only a pinch-hitter, but I make sure to read the reading carefully and slowly beforehand, and pray on it. Pacing during the liturgy is very important. Never rush yourself or slow down artificially - keep a metronome in your head and a good sense of the delivery tempo, and you will do well.


You can also hear the readings and hear the pronunciations on the USCCB.ORG website.


I agree that you should get a workbook to help you prepare for the readings. Ask your priest if the parish provides them before purchasing your own.

It seems odd that you would be put on the schedule to read without proper training. There really isn’t much to it, though. Each parish is different, so ask Father what is normally done.

When I prepare for my reading, I am sure to read it over a few times and make sure that I have the pronunciations down pat and understand the overall tone of the reading. Pay attention to your audience by making eye contact and not relying heavily on the Lectionary. Read the readings slowly but not too slowly. Certain readings, especially lengthy ones, require a slower pace because a lot of information is being given to the audience. You don’t want them to miss any details.

Ask your priest if you can practice in front of the microphone a few times. Have him or another person sit in a pew in the back of the church. This will help you figure out how loudly you need to project your voice.

Finally, I don’t know how your parish does it, but at my parish, there are two readers for each Mass on Sundays and holy days - one for each reading. If this is the case at your parish, always look over both readings just in case the other reader doesn’t show.


No lector training in my parish either, just sign up and be put on schedule.

Practice your upcoming readings aloud and remember that how you are heard from the front might be different then in the back of the parish due to the sound system.

What helped me to keep my place reading was NOT looking up when reading. This allowed me to better focus on my pronunciation and pace of speaking.

Above all,remember to always pray that the Holy Spirit be with you as you read.

My prayer usually goes as follows: " God, please help me to read Your written words with humble love and forgive me for MISPRONOUNCING some of the old testament names"


Try the Lector Workbook. it will bring you peace of mind.


I don’t understand why anyone would need a special workbook to be a reader. In my parish, at some Masses, the priest will just commandeer someone 5 minutes before Mass starts to be a reader. So you go up to the lectern and read. No big deal. If you make a mistake or mispronounce something, well this happens sometimes.


It makes a big difference.
Some folks read like it’s a laundry list with no projection and no sense of where a sentence begins or stops.
It’s more effective to read well, not mechanically, IMHO.


Some people take pride in their ministry? My mother is a career-volunteer lector and also reads newspapers on the radio for the blind. She has her workbook and prepares diligently for reading even when she is not scheduled, because she is often called up in the event of an absence.

A lector also has a lifelong obligation to enrich himself in knowledge of the Word of God. It is a disservice to the liturgy to have a stream of so-called “lectors” who do not understand or comprehend what they are reading, in the historical and spiritual contexts, as well as what the teaching of the Church says about the passages.

Lector was, until recently, a minor order in the Church, and is still a ministry with instituted members, frequently seminarians. It is easy to see why this important liturgical ministry was set apart and so highly valued.


My first suggestion would be to make the Bible your friend. Read it over and over and over again - all the readings come from the Bible, anyway. My second? Find out what the readings are for that Sunday and practice them. You still should get training as soon as you can (maybe talk with another lector/reader), because each parish has its own way of how the readers approach the ambo.

For instance: are the readers part of the procession? Where do the readers sit (believe me, these are all important)? Is there generally a deacon present (because it is the deacon’s job to read the prayers of the faithful if present - otherwise, it’s a job that falls on the lector)? What’s the microphone setup (when I was in college, the parish I attended had a clip-on microphone in the ambo - very easy to drop)? What is considered appropriate attire for readers?


But it is a big deal, a very big deal. It is proclaiming the written Word of God. And I would venture that it’s the only time that week, other than the other readings at that Mass, that a (vast?) majority of the listeners will come in contact with Sacred Scripture that week. Why wouldn’t someone who has the honor of being one of the the two or three readers what to prepare to do it to the best of their ability? Wouldn’t you you think that radio and tv announcers and commentators prepare before they go on the air?



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