The ministry of the word calls us to be servants of the Living Word of God. In proclaiming the readings at liturgy, the reader does more than simply read. This is a sacred task of a high order into which only those who are sufficiently qualified are permitted to read. A reader’s spirituality must include an understanding of Holy Scripture as God’s Living Word made present to mankind throughout history, but most fully present in the person of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
For all parish liturgies, including Sacramental celebrations, weddings and funerals, readers should be formed and fully initiated Catholics. Furthermore, readers are to be fully initiated, practicing Catholics who have by their actual Christian living shown that they have taken their faith seriously. Therefore, this ministry is open to women and men, aged sixteen and above, who have been fully initiated. They should be practicing Catholics, in good standing with the Church, the parish community, and possess a love of the Scriptures.
In the ministry of reader, the reader is ministering to the community. This is most appropriately done when the individual is able to proclaim the Scripture from the depths of their lived faith.
The reader should prayerfully prepare before arriving for the celebration of Mass by reading the assigned scripture, taking care to discern the meaning and importance of the text. The reader should also practice the readings aloud, making sure to pronounce words distinctly, and to understand their meaning. The ministry of reader is one of evangelization, inviting the assembly into a deeper and richer relationship with God, and as such the reader should come prepared to proclaim the Word with conviction and passion. The reader should also arrive at Church early enough to attend to any practical details, such as placement of the microphone, reading over the announcements and/or petitions, and to communicate with the priest about any necessary details.
- The Reader must be fully aware of how to proclaim the word of God. A practice will be necessary to make sure that the voice is capable of being heard and understood.
- Festivals and solemnities of the church and various solemn occasions will require readers.
- A reader is not index linked to one particular mass but must be prepared to read at any mass should the need arise.
- Correct pronunciation of words is required. The scripture readings should be studied before they are read publicly for any difficult words.