What matters most typically have a negative impact the readings at Mass?


What matters most negatively impact the readings at Mass? Please choose up to 3:

  • Reader is not understandable (accent, voice quality, etc.)
  • Reader is ill-prepared (cannot pronounce words, overly nervous, etc.)
  • Reader is offensive (shrill voice, gruff voice, etc.)
  • Reading is read too quickly.
  • Reading is read too slowly.
  • Reader attempts to edit the reading on the fly.
  • Reader attempt to add commentary before or after reading.
  • Reader overly personalizes the introduction and conclusion.
  • Reader is dressed inappropriately.

0 voters


One great improvement is that the readers of the NT epistle stopped changing “Brothers and sisters” into “Sisters and brothers” at my parish. What a struggle that was! Whew! The main problem now at my parish is readers that read too fast. In all sincerity is it possible to read too slowly?


Volume ought to be an option… Some of the readers at my parish seem to forget that there is a microphone at the Ambo…


None of these things have a thing to do with the spiritual efficacy of the readings at Mass, if we as participants properly prepare for Mass by reading and pondering the Word of God that will be not be merely read in the Liturgy of the Word, but proclaimed, at the Mass.

If any or all of these things are distracting enough to keep you from focusing on God, the issues are not with the voice, demeanor, tone, dress, rate of delivery, et. al., of the lector. The issues are internal, rather than external…


That’s absolutely incorrect. Your premise is simply not true.

There are a number on things that can impinge upon the “spiritual efficacy” of the readings at Mass. I listed several. I am sure there are even more.


I didn’t see an option for an inadequate sound/speaker system, unless that is part of the “reader is not understandable” option.

I do often run into people who mispronounce words, but if they are children or from another country, I use that as an opportunity to practice patience.


It’s interesting to see that some feel that reading too slowly is a factor where they attend the Mass. I have not experienced that. I certainly have experienced the opposite where the lessons are read too fast.


I usually don’t see the readers as the view of them is blocked by the pillars.

But the audio system is strictly crap, I don’t know if its just broken or it isn’t calibrated corrrectly, but I can barely make out most of what is being said.

Considering the fact that the church was built more than 100 years ago- in the pre-electronics era, the acoustics should be good enough that a microphone isn’t necessary


For me it’s rarely the reader but people in the congregation making a lot of noise. When this happens I read the words instead. If it happens during the homily it’s obviously more of a problem and if I really can’t follow I say private prayers in my head. I guess a better sound system could help.


Really? During the readings? Even my parish quiets considerably once Mass begins.

I did attend Mass once in a parish where people where moving around (to the lavatory, drinking fountain, smoking area, dealing with babies, etc.) throughout the entire Mass. I guess it was just the “culture” of the parish? It reminded me of attending the Divine Liturgy is Greece. People always moving…


To be fair the problem is probably me as I have always struggled with filtering ambient noise. Most people are of course silent but there are often screeching babies and toddlers or a person having a coughing fit, some churches are also very echo prone so even a little noise can make an impact.


I know what you mean – my parish has very “live” (and excellent) acoustics as well.


As a reader at Mass I feel honored and blessed to read the Sacred Scripture. All readers had a workshop with the pastor and many things were addressed. Questions were asked and answered. It was very productive. I try NOT to criticize the other readers because I understand “where they are coming from” being one myself. If something begins to be a problem with a reader(s) our pastor addresses it personally. I also have honest family members who give me feedback about the way I read at Mass. I take what they say and try my best to correct it and it helps. I always have and always will consider it an honor and a true blessing to be a reader at Mass. In our small community it is very hard to get people to volunteer for this. The rotating list is pretty tight. So we encourage & welcome any and all who are of age to read and be a part of our Church community in that way.


Those are both gifts. Cherish them. Many are not so lucky.


I can’t say as I notice a problem with readings at Mass 95 percent of the time.
There is one church I go to occasionally where the sound system is either a little wonky or the elderly reader is standing too close to the mike, as the words are a bit garbled. I just pull the reading up on my phone and read it. There may have been a couple places where the reader reads too softly or doesn’t stand close enough to the mike. Again, that is what missals and phones are for, looking up the reading when you can’t hear.


My wife and I are both lectors. Our priest also held a workshop before we were put on the schedule. We are given a workbook each quarter which explains the readings in great detail. (A thorough understanding is crucial in being able to convey the message accurately. ) The book also has pronunciation helps for the difficult words. Above all, we are encouraged to practice practice practice. As for the other side of the equation, I encourage my RCIA students to read them ahead of time. We actually go over the next Sunday’s readings in our class each week, then I encourage them to put the missalette down, look at the reader, and listen to God’s word being proclaimed.


None of which you listed…those are only a list of “things that bother me personally”


If we had a reader attempt to add commentary or overly personalize something, it would be met with a polite smile and nod, but it would also be his/her first and last time doing so. Our priests and several lay people wouldn’t tolerate it and would address it afterwards.


You’re right; there are. Primary among all of the them are “not looking at the Mass as if it were a performance by professional orators / actors / vocalists” and “entering into a state of prayer, rather than into an attitude of critique.”


That’s simply not true. There are indeed things that can have a negative impact on the readings (and of course other things) at Mass. I’ve listed a few in the first posting of this thread.

Of course I’m not much for “participation trophies” when it comes to the celebration of the Mass. If there are better options, I don’t want readers that are difficult to understand. I don’t want readers that ad lib or clearly take part in the ministry to put themselves on stage. The Mass is far too important to allow that sort of shenanigans.

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