Lector Guidelines


  1. Look up at Assembly when announcing the reading. Pause for a beat or three after announcing the reading before starting the reading.
  2. Understand and express what you’re reading.
  3. Make eye contact only when appropriate, usually not more than 3x during the reading unless the reading is unusually long.
  4. Don’t be afraid to pause to allow the Assembly to understand the reading, but don’t let reading get choppy.
  5. At end of reading, look up at the Assembly and proclaim, “The Word of the Lord,” then pause for a brief meditation (length of Hail Mary).


  • Coordinate with your teammate as to who will do which reading. This is most conveniently done when you and your partner first receive your assignments, so that if you subsequently need to seek a substitute or swap for a reading, you’ll be able to tell the person accepting the assignment which reading they’ll be doing.
  • Prepare the readings.
  • Go to monthly “Prayer & Practice” Monday session, listen, practice, learn, offer your own thoughts.


  • Check the intercessions online. Pay special attention to the phonetic spelling of names mentioned.
  • Watch for tongue-twisters.
  • Be prepared for any themes in the intercessions.


  • Review your reading in the lectionary to be sure you don’t stumble over formatting.
  • Check with the presider as to any special rites, blessings or ceremonies, or anything else that might be added to the ordinary order of Mass.
  • If you are reading the intercessions, ask the presider whether he plans to skip the Creed, and whether anything else will happen immediately after the homily.  Be mindful of blessings or rites that might follow the homily.
  • Review Intercessions. If you are doing the intercessions, review them and review the list of names of sick and deceased, especially the most recent ones that are handwritten.
    Make sure you can pronounce them. If unsure, ask the presider and/or other people in the
    sacristy. Also, check to ensure the lector’s binder has a complete copy of the intercessions. When you’ve finished reviewing, take the lector’s binder to the pillar near the ambo.
  • Prepare the Ambo. If you are to read the first reading, after you and your teammate have finished reviewing the lectionary layout, take the lectionary out, place it on the
    ambo, open it to the correct page, and adjust the microphone so that it’s placed most appropriately for you. Note on adjusting the mic: grasp the stem of the mic and use that to adjust, otherwise your fingers on the foam covering may create a ghastly noise over the speakers.


  • The lector walks with the priest and the altar servers from the sacristy to the entrance to the church, carrying the Book of Gospels.
    During the procession, the lector walks between the altar servers and the priest. Carry the Book “slightly elevated” and make sure it is right side up. Hold it high enough so it is above your line of sight as you look straight ahead, with arms slightly extended to the front. Keep it natural and comfortable, but with the respect and reverence appropriate to the Book of Gospels.
  • During the procession, feel free to sing. Don’t tailgate the altar servers, but use their pace as a guide for how fast to walk. When you get to the front of the church, the altar servers will bow and go to their seats. As they move toward their seats, step up to the altar and place the Book of Gospels on the altar (without bowing). While you are putting the Book on the altar, the priest will probably be bowing and moving to his chair.
  • After you have placed the Book on the altar, descend a few steps to the left side of the altar, and make a simple bow (which is a head bow), then go directly down to your seat. Pay attention to where the priest is so you don’t have to dodge each other. Your pace should be measured, but not slow. The key is reverence and respect.
  • The priest then will begin the mass. If the Gloria is sung, there will be a prayer immediately after that. When the prayer is finished, everyone sits down and the readings begin. Some priests invite everyone to sit. Others simply sit.

Worship LectorFIRST READING: 

Don’t Rush to the Ambo. If you are doing the first reading, it’s a good idea to stand still
for a few moments while the assembly sits down. At about the point where everyone is
seated but there are still noises of shuffling, scraping, creaking etc., walk with dignity to the ambo. When you arrive at the ambo, adjust the microphone as necessary so it is properly placed for you if you haven’t previously done so, or it was changed by someone.
Wait for the assembly to settle down. Have a pleasant look on your face while you wait for latecomers to be seated.
You are waiting out of kindness to everyone in the assembly, so that all may better hear God’s Word. When the
noise has died down to an acceptable level, proclaim your reading. At the end of the reading, proclaim, “The Word of the Lord,” and maintain eye contact as the Assembly responds, “The Word of the Lord,” then pause for the period of meditation, about the length of the Hail Mary. After your reflection, turn the page to the next reading if necessary, then walk back to your seat at a dignified pace.

At the end of the responsorial psalm, pause briefly, then walk at a dignified pace to the ambo. Note you may need to adjust the mic so it is appropriately placed for you.
When finished with the second reading, and after your meditative pause, close the lectionary and put it below on the shelf in the ambo. Then return to your seat.

Walking to the Lectern. When the homily, blessings or rites are finished and as the presider is walking back to the Presider’s Chair, walk to the lectern and stand near it. If there is a Creed, then say it and don’t proceed to the area near the ambo, behind the pillar, until halfway through the Creed. If there is no Creed, you’re ready to begin the General Intercessions. (If somehow you are caught unawares, simply walk briskly to where you need to be, acting as if this is precisely the way you planned it. There is no reason to act flustered no matter how flustered you may be feeling.)

At the Lectern. Stand near the lectern but not at the lectern until the end of the recitation of the Creed, then move to the lectern with the Lector’s Binder. You will usually have time to check the position of the mic and open the Lector’s Binder to the General Intercessions while the presider is opening up his three-ring binder. If possible, note how long the presider’s prayer is, check the last line, and then turn to face the presider until he is finished with the opening. Then turn and start the intercessions.

Eye contact is not as important during the intercessions, but you should look at the assembly while saying “We pray to the Lord.” Keep looking at the assembly as they say “Lord, hear our prayer.”

Don’t rush to the next intercession. Give the last one a second or two to sink in.
When you are finished with the intercessions, turn to face the presider while he prays the
closing prayer. When he is done, close the three-ring binder and put it on the lower shelf
of the lectern. Then walk back to your seat.

As lectors, we are very visible to the assembly. People may notice that we did a good job, they
may like the way we interpreted a reading, or they may just recognize us because we stood up in front of them and read. It is expected that when one proclaims that one is present for the whole Eucharist. If you know in advance that you will have to leave mass early, it’s best to arrange for a substitute. If something comes up and you have to leave before the end of the recessional, do so as inconspicuously as possible.

After mass, you are still one of the lectors. People may come up to you and compliment your reading. Sometimes they instruct you, or complain. Whatever may happen, go with Christ.

Scheduling is administered by the parish. All active lectors will receive their schedule from Erin Lima. When you can’t meet your obligation, send an email to Erin Lima (elima@holyfamily.org), and she will find a substitute.

Identify a specific Mass or Masses that you would be willing to take in trade for an assgned Mass.

Call or send email to the lectors assigned to the Mass or Masses you are willing to take.
If a recipient of your call or email agrees to a trade, call or send him/her an email to confirm (with copies to anyone to whom you had sent a prior email requesting a trade).
In the confirming, call or email, identify your partner and request that the lector who agreed to the trade contact your partner to determine reading assignments. If, however, you and your partner had already agreed on the reading assignments, simply inform the trading lector as to what you and your partner had agreed. Promptly advise the Liturgy Administrative Assistant of the trade.

Lector Pledge

I promise, as a lector dedicated to serving God’s people,
to prayerfully prepare to proclaim the sacred Scriptures
and to selflessly assist my fellow lectors in our goal of
rousing the faith of the assembly and inspiring them to discipleship.

Lector Prayer

Lord, invest me with your power
as I prepare to proclaim the marvel of your message
I have prepared my reading,
I have tried to take within me
the meaning of what I am about to proclaim.
Help me to proclaim, not just with my lips,
but with my whole heart and soul.
Lord, make me a hollow reed
so that your voice will be heard by all who hear me.
Free me of excessive concern over my performance.
Convert my feeling of nervousness and
turn all my apprehension into an energy
for proclaiming your word with power and authority.
May your Spirit live in me and
fill the holy word that I proclaim.

Courtesy of http://www.lectorprep.org/

Dear Jesus, thank you for calling me to be a lector at your Eucharistic celebrations. Let me take this role seriously and diligently prepare myself for it by studying the sacred texts before Mass, and by striving to be a better Catholic Christian. By my physical action of reading, I AM the instrument through whom you become present to the assembly in your word and through whom you impart your teachings. Let nothing in my manner disturb your people or close their hearts to the action of your spirit. Cleanse my heart and my mind and open my lips that I may worthily proclaim your word.

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