The Role of the Reader at Mass

Each week, beginning in mid-October and continuing until the first Sunday of Advent, The Leadership Institute will publish a series of articles that will be distributed at all parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport as we await Bishop Caggiano’s promulgation of the Revised Liturgical Norms. 

An intro to each article and the links to each in English and Spanish can be found below. A new article will be added each week. Click here to learn more about the Norms.

Nothing can be more distracting than a reader who proclaims Sacred Scripture as though he or she is seeing the words for the very first time. A well-formed reader is essential to an engaging Eucharistic experience. This week, read more about the role of the reader at Mass, including how Jesus is a role model for today’s readers.

The Role of the Reader at Mass
The one who serves as a reader in Sacred Liturgy is the person designated to proclaim Sacred Scripture (with the exception of the Gospel). This person would also proclaim the psalm response (in the absence of a cantor), and the Universal Prayer or, as it is commonly known, the Prayer of the Faithful (in the absence of a deacon). Though this person is often called a “lector,” a quick study of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) indicates that this is a misnomer. The lector is actually an instituted office of the Church, much like an Acolyte. So what is a reader?

“In the absence of an instituted lector, other lay people may be deputed (i.e., delegated) to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, people who are truly suited to carrying out this function and carefully prepared, so that by their hearing the readings from the sacred texts the faithful may conceive in their hearts a sweet and living affection for Sacred Scripture” (GIRM, 101). For the purpose of the Revised Liturgical Norms in the Diocese of Bridgeport, the term “reader” will be used as it most closely reflects the General Instruction. As a formal ministry, the ministry of lector is meant to be conferred on men who are preparing to become deacons and priests and it received as part of their preparation for ordination.

Continue reading our fifth Catechesis Article here.