The Ministry of reading God’s Word aloud for others is both a privilege and a challenge. Just as others in our community may be Ministers of the Eucharist and assist in distributing Holy Communion, so Readers are entrusted with the sharing of God’s Word. Through you, people have the opportunity to receive the Good News of the Father’s purpose and His love; through that proclamation, they will be given light and life. If you can hear and understand what God is saying through His Word, others will too. You will be able to read well if you prepare for your Ministry through prayer and reflection.
"Readers should be qualified and carefully prepared so that the reading will develop in the faithful an appreciation of scripture." (Instruction to the Roman Missal No 66) It is the task of the reader to proclaim the Word of God, apart from the Gospel, at Mass. God still speaks to us through the scriptures, so it is vital that the Liturgy of the Word is celebrated in a way that allows God's voice to be heard.
If the congregation are to understand the readings it is most important that the reader knows what he or she is reading beforehand. So:
Arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of Mass. Go to the altar and look at the Lectionary - is it on the right page; have I prepared the right reading? Where are the Bidding Prayers? Is the microphone switched on - if not tell someone.
Please always read from the Lectionary, not the Mass book. The Word of God is special and so is proclaimed from a special book. After the opening prayer go up to the lectern, bowing towards the celebrant, not the tabernacle. This bow symbolises that you are requesting permission to exercise your ministry of reader at this particular celebration. It is not a bow showing respect - this happens at other points in the Mass. The priest on behalf of the gathered assembly grants permission for you to read by acknowledging your request with a bow of his head.