Our diocese has produced a new four page resource for those who undertake the ministry of reader. Printed copies available from K&L Faith Development Services office.

All who undertake the ministry of Reader are encouraged to attend on the the regular courses taking place around the diocese. Contact the FDS office for more details.

K&L Faith Development Services
Cathedral Parish Centre, College Street, Carlow
Tel: 059-9164084 Fax: 059-9164020
Email: fds@kandle.ie

guideforreaders1

Click to download the leaflet

Readers Guide (outside pages)

Readers Guide (inside pages)

The Role of a Reader

The role of the reader is to stand before the congregation in a liturgical celebration and proclaim to them the assigned reading, aside from the Gospel. This may mean that a reader will read an Old Testament reading and/or a New Testament reading. Areader might also be asked to lead the Prayer ofthe Faithful during Mass. Proclaiming is a very different activity to simply reading along with the congregation. The one who reads puts the word of God out into the midst of the congregation. As St. Paul said, this word is alive and active.

The reader’s task is to draw people’s eyes up from their missalette in order to listen to the word of God that is now among them. The reader speaks a message from God and as such is God’s instrument. This requires ofthe reader a living relationship with God and God’s word. It further requires that a reader understands his/her task as a communicator. Good communication begins with the basic presumption that a reader has prepared the text, believes it and wants to share it with others.

Good communication further demands that a reader can actually deliver the particular text to the congregation – engaging them and drawing them into its central messages. This implies a relationship between reader and the congregation. A reader’s care for and attitude to the congregation will influence the quality ofproclamation. Focusing on the elements of delivery – projection, articulation, pace, phrasing, eye contact, openness in bodily posture – will also enhance the quality.

Practical suggestions for preparation

  • Read through the text a number of times.
  • Go to a copy of the bible and see what comes before and after the particular text.
  • Read a commentary to the passage.
  • Think about and reflect upon the Church season in which the reading is being proclaimed.
  • Look to the other readings of the day for connection/links/common themes.
  • Pray with the text.
  • Write out in your own style what you think are the key points of the passage.
  • Look to the style of the text: is it a narrative, poetic in style, a letter to a community, is there dialogue within the text, are there highpoints and low points in the text…
  • Look at the layout of the text in the lectionary and be familiar with it.
  • Proclaim the text aloud.
  • Practice reading the text at the microphone in the Church. Be careful of plosive sounds – b’s &p’s- for which you may have to pull back a little from the microphone.
  • Invite feedback from others.
  • Avail of opportunities in the parish for scripture sharing and on-going formation in your ministry.

The moment of Proclamation

  • When the Opening Prayer has finished and people are sitting down leave your place and come forward to the ambo/lectern.
  • Before you begin, pause and acknowledge the presence of the congregation with eye contact and openness in your posture.
  • Proclaim from the lectionary – the book of readings that the church has provided – rather than from a missalette.
  • Remember that this liturgy is something we do week in and week out. You know its rhythm and so does the congregation. Therefore, there is no need to say “The first reading…a reading from …” The congregation needs you to tell them the source ofthe reading, i.e. “A Reading from the prophet Isaiah”.
  • There is no need to read the theme that appears in red in the lectionary. This is only an aid for preparation.
  • Always take great care with the opening and closing of the reading. They deserve and call for the same deliberation as the text itself.
  • Maintain good communication with the congregation throughout the reading. A good reader will entice the assembly away from their missalette, to hear the word of God alive in their surroundings.
  • Think of the vocal elements of your task. Agood reader will speak slowly enough, loudly enough, clearly enough and directly enough without going overboard in any of these elements.
  • Allow the silences between readings to have their place. They are valuable moments for the congregation as they receive the word of God.
  • Part of your responsibility may be to read the Prayer of the Faithful. Although in their style they are different to reading Scripture, good communication ofthem is important.

Prayer for Readers

Creator God,
we know that your Word has become flesh and lives amongst us.

Let us hold this word constantly in our hearts.
Let us be open to your voice speaking to us,
let us know how to stand before you in silence.

May we be faithful readers of your Word,
conscious of our need to hear your word ourselves,
and to be doers of the Word in our lives.

Come Holy Spirit!
Guide us as we strive to be faithful to our ministry.
Guide us as we proclaim God’s Word in the midst of the assembly
who gather to give praise and thanksgiving to their God.
Amen.