The Lector’s Ministry

Austin Fleming
Archdiocese of Boston


Yours is a share in the work of the Lord’s Spirit who opens our hearts to God’s holy word. Yours is the task of telling our family story, the story of salvation. Yours is to proclaim the true and saving word of God. You are the messenger of God’s love for us. Your task is to proclaim that word, which challenges, confronts, and captures our hearts. You proclaim a word that heals and comforts and consoles. Yours is the ministry of the table of God’s word, which feeds the hungers and the longing of our hearts for truth. Yours is to offer the story of the “great things the Lord has done for us,” that we might turn to the table of Eucharist with good cause to give thanks and praise. Yours is nothing less than the ministry of the Lord’s voice calling out in the midst of God’s people.

Come to your work from your personal prayer, praying that the Spirit will open your heart to what you proclaim. Prepare the word which is yours to speak: study the scriptures, understand the passage, let it dwell deep within you. Come to your work in awesome reverence of the word you proclaim: it is the Lord’s word. Come to your ministry as one judged and saved by the word you speak. Anyone can read the scriptures in public; only the believer can proclaim them.

Approach the ambo, the table of the Lord’s word, as you would the Lord himself: with reverence and awe. Handle the book of the Lord’s word with great care: it is a tabernacle of the Lord’s presence. Let your eyes fall often on the faces of the assembly: they are the body of the Lord whose word you proclaim. Let the Lord’s peace settle in your heart, that your voice may be clear and steady. Let your voice echo the sound of the word, with conviction, with gentleness, with strength, and with wonder. Remember that the story you tell is filled with a drama you need not supply, but must always convey.

General Requirements for St John the Baptist Catholic Church Lectors

  • Prepare by quiet prayer time with the sacred scripture reading assigned;
  • Prepare by study of the context of the reading (chapter, book). Ministry Schedule page has link to Lector’s Notes at
  • Prepare by familiarity with the other sacred readings of the day you are assigned, in case of no-shows;
  • Prepare so that good eye contact is possible;
  • Prepare by being familiar with the sound system, microphone, etc;
  • Practice with your voice, record yourself, ask others to critique, proclaim slowly and avoid patterned rhythmic sameness, pause after saying “A reading from . . .” and before saying “The Word of the Lord”—these are “headlines” and not part of the scripture passage;
  • Enunciate, enunciate, enunciate – pronounce the entire word: consonants and word endings are crucial;
  • Avoid being overly dramatic— that detracts from hearing scripture and calls attention to you;
  • Be Proclaimer not reader; remember you are the conduit to God’s Living Word today!
  • Your style of dress reflects your reverence for the Word of God and for the community of believers.

Websites for Lectors
(Excellent – contains many links to other sites, inc SLU below)
(username: SJBaptist (note capitals) and password: Lector (note capital). Pronunciation guide speaks the word you want)
(Comprehensive – probably more than you need to know, but always worth delving into – St Louis University)
Online version of print mag: The Word Among Us (reflections)
Spiritual preparation – excellent for brief “time-out”

Magnificent site from Dimas, CA – browse at will. For details, especially pronunciation, click Resources