Lector Ministry

Lector Guidelines


  1. Look at Assembly when announcing the reading.
  2. Understand and express what you’re reading.
  3. Make eye contact only when appropriate.
  4. Don’t be afraid to pause.
  5. At end of reading, look up at the Assembly and say “The Word of the Lord,” then pause for a moment of meditation.


  • Coordinate with your teammate as to who will do which reading.
  • Prepare the readings.
  • Go to monthly “Prayer & Practice” Monday session, listen, practice, learn, offer your own thoughts.


  • Check the intercessions online.
  • 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 check 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. When you’ve finished reviewing, take the lector’s binder to the lectern.
  • Prepare the Ambo. If you are to read the first reading, when 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. Don’t leave this up to the
    sacristan. (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.)


  • One lector processes in with the Book of Gospels. 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 that the book is right side up. It need not be held as high as you can possibly reach. Hold it high enough so it is above your line of sight as you look straight ahead. Arms are slightly extended to the front. Keep it natural and comfortable, but one purpose is to emphasize the fact that you are carrying the Book of Gospels, so don’t minimize it either. It’s a procession. The important thing is to move with respect and reverence.
  • 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 without bowing and place the Book of Gospels in the clear plastic holder. While you are putting the Book on the altar, the priest will probably be bowing and moving to his chair.
  • When you have placed the Book on the altar, make a simple bow (which is a head bow) and 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. Father Niall almost always says something like “Let us listen to the proclamation.” 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. Reverence and respect. Be Aware of Microphone. When you are at the ambo, note that the microphone is properly adjusted. You adjusted it to your height earlier, but sometimes someone else readjusts it. You needn’t look directly at it or touch it to take note of its adjustment. If it’s where you put it earlier, don’t touch it. If someone moved it, readjust it.
Wait for the assembly to settle down. Some people may be walking in. If there isn’t a continuous stream, wait for them to sit. Have a pleasant look on your face while you wait.
You are waiting out of kindness to everyone in the assembly, the latecomers and the
early, so that all may better hear God’s Word. At some masses, there will always be
people walking in, so we cannot expect absolute silence or absolute stillness. When the
noise has died down to an acceptable level, proclaim your reading. At the end of the reading, pause for the period of meditation. After your reflection, turn to the next reading if necessary, then walk back to your seat at a dignified pace. If the musicians begin before you are done, then walk back to your seat in a dignified way.

Don’t Rush to the Ambo. At the end of the responsorial psalm, take a short contemplative pause similar to those at the end of the first and second readings.
Be Aware of Microphone. The lector who reads the second reading may need to adjust
the mic. If so, do it as simply and matter-of-factly as possible. Don’t make a fuss over it.
Put it where it needs to be in one smooth motion. Practice this before you do a second
reading so your mic adjustment doesn’t distract.
Housekeeping. 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 go back 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. 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. You will usually have time to check the position of the mic and ensure the General Intercessions are ready for you while the presider is opening up his three-ring binder. (If Peter is the cantor at your mass, he usually will have placed the three-ring binder on the top of the lectern for you. Peter positions the mic pretty far from where he stands, so you may want to adjust it.) 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 so it’s out of the cantor’s way. 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.

Lector Substitution Procedure
The following are procedures for lectors seeking to trade an assignment or seeking a substitute for an assignment. Trade partners or substitutes should be sought only from the current roster of lectors.

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

Send broadcast email to all lectors requesting a substitute for a specified assignment.
When a volunteer offers to substitute, call or send the volunteer a confirming email and, as a courtesy, copy all others to eliminate unnecessary additional emails with other lectors who might volunteer.

Identify your partner in the confirming call or email and request that the substitute lector contact your partner to determine reading assignments for the Mass. If, however, you and your partner had already agreed on the reading assignments, simply inform the substituting lector as to what you and your partner had agreed.

Promptly advise the Liturgy Administrative Assistant of the substitution.

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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