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The Readers at Mass

Readers at Mass

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.

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Notes for the guidance of readers


"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.


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If the congregation are to understand the readings it is most important that the reader knows what he or she is reading beforehand. So:

  • Look at the readings before Mass. Find them in a Sunday Missal, or borrow a Mass Book.
  • Become familiar with the text; note questions, speech marks etc., and if any words are difficult please ask for help - never be too proud to do that.
  • The way the congregation understands God's Word will depend on the way you put it across – please do not read too quickly, too fast, too quietly!
  • If you have time look the reading up in your bible.
  • What is its context? It is history, poetry, a letter? The type of literature it is will determine how you read it.



Aims and Requirements

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.

  • Do not move until after the opening prayer - your movement is not a waste of time.
  • Do not read the introduction in italics at the start of each reading - this is put there so as you can see the general theme of the reading - it is not part of the reading.
  • There is no need to say - 1st or 2nd reading - we can all count up to 2.
  • At the end of each reading pause before you say: The Word of the Lord.
  • After the first reading pause (count up to 10) and then begin the psalm (people will join in) - do not make any announcements, (do not read the response).
  • After the 2nd reading please pause. The alleluia will begin. Do not make announcements.
  • The opening alleluias will be sung – you then read the verse. As soon as you have read the verse please return to your place (without any gestures) while the alleluia is being sung.
  • The procedure for coming up to read the Bidding Prayers is the same. Do not move until after the Creed and remain at the lectern until the priest has finished the concluding prayer. Remember that PAUSE means wait for the people to make the prayer their own, so give them at least ten seconds.