The Reader

Is it correct to still refer to a Reader at Mass as a Lector?


Are you a Reader at Mass?
If Yes, what do you like about being a Reader?


After I joined the church via RCIA I wanted to do something. But I was not sure. The opportunity of reader came up and I felt it was right for me. I wanted to use my God given talents in service to Him and His Church.

Hello Cyril.

Lector is the term that is used for a male who does the readings at Mass. When a woman does the same job she is referred to a just a Reader. That way we know that there is a gal doing the man’s job.


I’m hopeful this was tongue-in-cheek. If not, sigh . . . Although “lector” is often used locally (and people usually know what you mean and do not find it either offensive or heretical), in most cased “reader” is actually the correct designation. A lector is one of four minor orders. A reader is, well, one who is reading.

Yes, but the term Lector is usually used for those who have been formally instituted/commissioned, and others would be called Readers.

By the way, Canon Law does not differentiate between males and females serving as Lectors; Canon 230, #2, simply refers to “Lay Persons.” So, the Church does not consider it a “man’s job.”

I was asked to serve our parish as a Lector, and I said yes because I love the Word of God, and this is one way to share it.

Pax Christi!

My suggestion: call the, um, person at the ambo: The Grand Proclaimer!

No? Okay.

But such a person doesn’t have to be of the laity, right?

Just asking.

God bless.

Pax Christi!

I don’t like being a lector, I LOVE it!

The actual standing up there and proclaiming. LOVE it!

But I hate walking in procession. Hate it. I wish I could be invisible.

God bless.

I love being a Lector at Mass.

It gives me the chance to share my love of reading as a gift back to God and to the parish.

When I very first became a Catholic, like another poster, I wanted to do something and was told that the Church was in need of a fuller participation my her members. Okay. I was invited to Lector and yes, it was presented to me as Lectoring, not being a Reader. I practiced the readings for the Mass the night before I was scheduled and did so. I got lots of compliments on my reading voice the next day and felt happy to fit in. So I did it again and again. In total I did the readings about a dozen times over a few months and only for daily Mass at one particular place. There was a little voice inside my head tough that sometimes made me a little uncomfortable with the actual doing of the task. I told others I was a Lector at Mass because that is what I was told I was doing. I was really ignorant of Church history and a thing called Liturgical abuse. I hadn’t been Catholic very long. I had seen many other women doing the Readings including a Sister or two. I fit right in. And my fault of needing to got fed.

Guess what? I read a little something that said women weren’t the ordinary persons to be used as READERS, not Lectors in Mass and it was supposed be done out of the ordinary, meaning not often. I talked to the Pastor at the Church and he said not to worry, it really didn’t matter who did the readings at Mass as well as a few other things about the Church changing etc. and I grew more uncomfortable. I stopped and listened to that small voice and heard. Then I found out more about the movement to include women in the Priesthood and realized I was being used to further a cause that wasn’t mine. I withdrew my services as “lector/reader” and made a good Confession of my part in a sin that was not totally mine.

I have learned a few things about what the Church believes and teaches regarding women since then. I still feel my ignorance and my trust was taken advantage of by others who are trying to manipulate the Church into acceding to their wishes. I’m smarter and a little more cautious than I used to be.


The title of lector is properly given to a cleric instituted into one of the minor orders, generally a seminarian. A lay parishioner reading at Mass would thus simply be called a reader. Compare the situation of an acolyte (cleric and instituted minister) and an altar server (layman from the parish).

God bless.

I love being a reader at Mass, but I get nervous on the “big days”, especially Palm Sunday or Good Friday when I have to read the Passion. I also serve, and I love doing both because I know I’m helping God and His Church.

In the 2010 translation of the Roman Missal I think the term “lector” is only used when referring to an Instituted Lector. The term “reader” is used more frequently, about tasks that can be done by an instituted lector or another person who has not been instituted. Two examples:

“In the absence of an instituted lector, other lay persons may be deputed to proclaim the readings ….”. GIRM, n. 101.

“The reader then takes his own place in the sanctuary with the other ministers.” GIRM, n. 195. By using the term “reader” here it indicates that the person doing the reading sits in the sanctuary, from the beginning of Mass. If the term “lector” had been used that the translators would be indicating that only an instituted lector does this.

In the 1981 General Introduction to the Lectionary I don’t think the term “lector” is used at all. For example: “When there are instituted readers available, they are to carry out their office at least on Sundays and major feasts, ….”. (Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, n. 51.

In the 1989 USA Book of Blessings, it has: “1828 This order is not intended for the institution of readers by the bishop, …”

The 1974 General Introduction to the Liturgy of the Hours has: “259 The lector should stand in a suitable place to proclaim the readings, whether these are long or short.” Here the term “lector” seems to refer to the person proclaiming the reading, whether instituted or not. This is the only example of this I have found in an approved translation.

The translations I am referring to are those used in Australia.

The Latin IGMR only uses the term ‘lector’ as does the French. This is another one of those semantics things like the take/receive argument about Communion.

I hate to say it but I’m just happy to get through it since the times I have been asked to be a reader were all last minute just before Mass.

There is a difference between a Lector and an Instituted Lector. The first can be a man or woman, the second can only be a man.

Very few parishes have instituted lectors because in most dioceses that ministry is reserved to those who are studying for the permanent diaconate or the priesthood.

It’s unfortunate that you allowed this misinformation to discourage you from continuing in this ministry which is certainly open to women. I pray that in time you might regain your comfort level to once again use this God given talent which you obviously must have for your own spiritual benefit as well as that of your fellow parishioners.

It’s a HUGE misundertanding to think that women who serve the Church in its liturgy are being “used” to promote a female “priesthood.”

You have every right to choose not to serve in that way, but please don’t accuse those who do of being pawns, “ignorant of Church history and . . . liturgical abuse.”

And to say that following canon law requires confession . . . :eek:

Being both female and reader at Mass is not a sin.


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