The Sacred Scriptures, above
all in their liturgical proclamation, are the source of life and
strength ... Love of the Scriptures is therefore a force
reinvigorating and renewing the entire people of God. (Introduction
to the Lectionary #47).
When the Scriptures are read in
the Church, God himself speaks to His people, and Christ, present in
His own Word, proclaims the Gospel. Therefore, all must listen with
reverence to the readings from God's word, for they make up an
element of greatest importance in the Liturgy. (General Instruction
of the Roman Missal #29).
The above paragraphs highlight
the centrality of the Scriptures in both the liturgy and in the
ongoing renewal of the Church. This renewal is especially important
in the Eucharistic liturgy, the center of the Church's life.
What is the role of the Lector
The Lector may
carry in the Book of the Gospels in the entrance procession
(in the absence of a deacon); a Lector proclaims the assigned
readings(s) and, in the absence of a deacon, the General
Intercessions. If the responsorial psalm is not sung, the reader may
also be asked to lead it.
"[The Lector] exercise[s] a
genuine liturgical function. They ought, therefore, to discharge
their office with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so
exalted a ministry and rightly expected of them by God's people.
Consequently they must all be imbued with the spirit of the
liturgy ... and must be trained to perform their function in a
correct and orderly manner" (CSL, 29)."
The Lector combines faith with
skill when reading the Scriptures. The Lector is a minister, rather
than just a reader. The ministry of Lector, like that of the priest,
is responsible for affecting the presence of God among the
Christians gathered in worship. Just as the priest affects the
special presence of God in the celebration of the Eucharist, the
Lector affects the presence of God in the scriptural Word.
This concept of ministry is
extremely important for Lectors. Without it, one may see oneself as
a performer before a captive audience. In a way, the Lector plays a
special role in the religious “drama” called Eucharist. Lectors have
“scripts” and “cues,” and are called upon to employ public speaking
skills. However, we as Lectors—as ministers of the Word—are servants
to the people of God, not performers.
Does a person need to be
confirmed to be a Lector?
None of the liturgical
documents insist on Confirmation as a prerequisite, although it is
desirable that a Lector have received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
A Lector needs to be in good sacramental standing with the Church so
he or she can fully participate in the celebration. At weddings and
funerals, however, a non-Catholic Lector may proclaim one of the
readings or offer the petitions, with the permission of the pastor.
Does one need to be a
particular age to be a reader?
Again, the documents are not
concerned with age. The foundational criterion is a clear
understanding of the reading as well a its context. A reader needs
to be able to read clearly and audibly; to interact with the
Assembly through eye contact and to have a knowledge of the
different types of texts and the liturgical seasons. A reader must
be comfortable with silence and be able to focus the Assembly's
attention on the Word of God rather than on the proclaimer.
How does one become a Lector?
If you would be interested in
serving in the Liturgical ministry of Lector, contact Scott Eakins,
Director of Liturgy at 414/276-9814, ext 3117 or by