Lectors are members of the faithful called forth to publicly proclaim the Word of God. Men and women are entrusted with the responsibility of Proclaiming the Sacred scriptures to the Christian assembly.
Lectors are ordinary people performing an extraordinary ministry; publicly proclaiming the Word of God.
Candidates who desire to pursue the Ministry of the Word need to be persons of
mature faith, good Christian witness and sacramentally active in the life of their
Church. They should exhibit the willingness to enter initial and on‐going
formation periods, to study, be critiqued, and to develop their special skills
continually during their years in ministry.
On‐going discernment in this ministry is the responsibility of the person seeking to
pursue this ministry, those involved in the formation and training of the person
and the pastoral leader. A willingness to serve is not the final admission to this
ministry. One should be willing to enter into formation periods to understand
and discern what is essential and necessary for this ministry.
The Minister of the Word proclaims the Word of God at liturgies. They may also
be asked to lead the assembly in the Universal Prayer. There should be separate
Ministers of the Word for each reading from Sacred Scripture. Ministers of the
Word normally participate in the entrance procession carrying the Book of the
Gospels, if a deacon is not present.
It is the responsibility of the designated pastoral leader to train suitable
candidates to become Ministers of the Word and to provide those ministers with
a timely ministry schedule. This training may be done in collaboration of staff
and/or parish Worship Commission members.
Minister of the Word candidates must be willing to enter initial and ongoing
formation and be responsible for their scheduled duties. They may need to
provide a substitute in their absence, but they may not ask someone who is
already scheduled for another liturgical ministry the same day.
Training and formation of Ministers of the Word should occur before they are
commissioned. A Minister of the Word should be adequately prepared in the
1. Some biblical knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures is essential for the
Minister of the Word who is making a serious commitment to proclaim the
Word in the assembly. The Minister of the Word needs to be familiar with
the format of both the Old and New Testaments and the various literary
forms found therein; e.g., poetry, story and letter. An understanding of the
liturgical year (the cycles, seasons and feasts) is basic and essential to this
2. A Minister of the Word should have the oral and technical skills necessary
to proclaim the Word. This competency extends far beyond the ability to
read words correctly and includes posture, use of the microphone,
projection, tone, pitch, volume, accent, gesture, pace, eye contact,
phrasing, pronunciation and articulation. This requires continual practice,
review and critique.
Upon the appropriate initial formation and discernment for this ministry, the
person is appointed as a Minister of the Word, using the appropriate ritual. They
are commissioned at a public ceremony (in the midst of the Sunday assembly) for
a period of three years. They may be re‐commissioned after a suitable period of
discernment and opportunity for on‐going formation.
1. Ministers of the Word have the responsibility to serve when scheduled or
to find an appropriate substitute.
2. Preparation of the readings is done well in advance. Unprepared Ministers
of the Word do a great disservice to the Christian community which has the
right to hear the Word of God proclaimed well at each liturgy.
3. Ministers of the Word should arrive 10‐15 minutes before Mass to become
familiar with the placement of the readings in the Lectionary.
4. The Minister of the Word may be responsible for carrying the Book of the
Gospels in procession. This book is to be elevated until it is placed on the
5. After an appropriate time of silence, the Minister of the Word reverently
comes forth from the assembly without causing unnecessary distractions.
6. A simple bow to the altar is appropriate, when approaching the ambo.
Ministers of the Word should exhibit a love for the Word of God as evidenced by
their demeanor and attire. This should be reflected in their dress. It should be
appropriate for the occasion, not distracting from their role or calling attention to
themselves and away from the focus of proclaiming the Word of God.
Ministers of the Word are to handle the sacred books with reverence and care
during their use.
1. Wallace, James A. The Ministry of Lectors. The Liturgical Press, 1981,
2. Meagher, Virginia and Paul Turner. The Liturgical Ministry Series: Guide
for Lectors. Liturgy Training Publications, 2006.
3. Rosser, Aelred. Guide for Lectors. Liturgy Training Publications, 2002.
4. Rosser, Aelred. A Well‐Trained Tongue: Formation in the Ministry of
Reader. Liturgy Training Publications, 2002.
5. Tate, Judith. Manual for Lectors. Pflaum Publishing, 1975.
6. Champlin, Joseph M. Messengers of God’s Word: A Handbook for
Lectors. Paulist Press, 1982.
7. Workbook for Lectors and Gospel Readers. Liturgical Training
Publications, [Annual Publication].
8. Ralph, Margaret Nutting. Breaking Open the Lectionary – Three Volume
Set. Paulist Press, 2005.
The following paragraphs of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, Third
Edition provide further information with respect to this ministry … GIRM #29, 38,
55‐63, 71, 99, 101, 120, 122, 128‐130, 138, 194‐198 and 309