I have a question about lectors methods of reading the readings at Holy Mass. One of our lectors tends to yell the readings but prior to saying “the word of the Lord” he pauses, bows and then ends the reading by saying “the word of the Lord”. Others have built upon this ritual by bowing to the alter. My real concern relates to one lector who changes her voice to inflect different characters as in a theater performance. I am extremely distracted an believe these rituals are inappropriate. I’ve checked cannon law but can’t find anything on this. I want to have a respectful conversation with our priest but need to be more informed. Can you help?
A professor I had in seminary once said: “The readings at Mass are to be proclaimed, not dramatically re-enacted.” I think that’s good advice for anyone who is reading. When we read the Scriptures at Mass we need to remember that we’re not reading the local newspaper nor are we reading lines from a play. There’s a happy medium in which the readings are truly proclaimed but not in such a manner that it comes across as a performance.
This proximate preparation may also consist of practice in reading the scriptural exts, which should take care to avoid a sense of the dramatic, while presenting the readings in all of their depth and richness…
… Thus, a style of reading that would present simply dull recitation of words should be avoided, as should a style that would turn the reading of scripture into a dramatic act.
In technical preparation, care is always taken that the manner of proclaiming is never in any way dramatic or theatrical, since this would draw attention to the one reading, and take away from the content of the Word being proclaimed.
As for bowing, there is no bowing except when passing by the altar. Therefore there is no reason to be bowing when in the ambo.