Slide 6: Who Trains You? Lector Guides. Skills vs Message.

Slide 06

Who helps you with your training? 

Your primary source will be your parish lector leader.  Long before your first assigned lector date, you will be given instructions on when and where to do what and suggestions on how to accomplish the various tasks. 

Many parishes have some unique non-speaking procedures and customs at Mass. These include guidelines on what to wear, what to do upon arrival at your church and when approaching the altar and the permanent lectern (called the ambo), handling the Lectionary (which is the book containing the scripture texts you will proclaim), the nuances of your church’s sound system including optimal positioning of its microphone, what to do after your reading, and finally, your actions at the end of Mass. 

What training texts and other resources are available for you?  

At the beginning of each liturgical year we recommend you obtain a “lector preparation guide.” This is a key to your success.  For each Sunday, solemnity and feast day this guide contains the two lector readings, the Responsorial Psalm, usually sung by a cantor, and the Gospel, proclaimed by the deacon or the priest.  Included in the “guide” is a brief explanation for each text.  Also included are pronunciation and helpful proclaiming tips. 

From this workbook you will readily grasp the common theme or core message of the first reading and the Gospel.  The theme will guide you in determining what portions of your assigned text to emphasize, when to make eye contact, when to pause and what voice tones, emotions and inflections to use. 

We recommend you consider getting the WORKBOOK FOR LECTORS, GOSPEL READERS AND PROCLAIMERS OF THE WORD.  It’s available from Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago, IL 60609, 800-933-1800, or at We have no financial or other interests in this publication. Some parishes will buy it for you. Parish resources often include instructional and reference volumes, a pronunciation book for biblical names of persons and places and Bible commentaries explaining the sacred texts in much greater depth.   

Question: To be a better lector, which is more important? 

Your public speaking mechanical skills or conveying the common theme of the first reading and Gospel? 

Answer: Both are mandatory    

The text has to be readily heard, presented clearly to be easily understood, delivered with enough time to be absorbed and with appropriate emotional engagement and with the core message being made readily apparent.

This ends Session 1.  Session 2 contains the essentials of proclaiming scripture texts.