Ministers of the Word

Scripture Readings for Mass

Reflections on Sunday Readings – Fr. Kieran O’Mahony osa

Understanding the Sunday Lectionary

What does a Reader/Minister of the Word do?

  • The reader proclaims, reads aloud the assigned reading for this day…so that all of the congregation might hear God’s word;
  • The reader draws us into the message that is being given to us at this time. The reader acts as an instrument for God’s message and they are called to communicate this message to others.
  • The reader is comfortable with the text, becoming familiar with it and coming to know it as God’s word for them and for others.
  • The reader is comfortable with communicating with others – they are called to tell the Good News to those who are gathered;
  • Depending on the time of the year or the day of the week, the reader may read from the Old Testament or the New Testament, may read the Psalm and may also be asked to read the Prayer of the Faithful.

As in all things, practice makes it easier for us, as readers, to be at ease, and for others to experience that ease with us. If you are a new reader, it is good to ask others to let you know how they experience you.  If you have been reading for many years, it might be helpful to ask others what would improve your communication of the readings.

The Lectionary

This book contains the Scripture readings for reader and the presider.

Lectionary 1             Contains the readings for the season of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Eastertide, as also the reading for Feast days.

It also has all the readings for the Sundays in Ordinary Time.

Lectionary II            Contains all the readings for weekdays

Lectionary III         Contains all the readings for other occasions e.g. Marriages, Funerals, and Masses for Various  Needs and Occasions.

It is recommended that people read from the Lectionary, so that today’s reading is heard in the context of all of God’s Word.


Liturgy of the Word

First Reading           Usually from the Old Testament, chosen to complement the Gospel reading.

Resp.  Psalm             One of the 150 psalms in the Book of Psalms.

It is a song to be sung and responds to the reading.

Second Reading     From the New Testament, other than the Gospels.

Acclamation            Alleluia verse is sung to welcome the Gospel.

Gospel                        We encounter the Risen Christ speaking to us.

Homily                      Readings are broken open in today’s context.

Creed                          We give voice to our faith in God.

Prayer of the Faithful   Reader reads the petitions on behalf of all of us .


Practical Suggestions for Ministers of the Word as you prepare:

  • Read through the text a number of times – be familiar with it;
  • Note where you will need to pause to make sense of the reading;
  • Listen to yourself read it a aloud a few times;
  • Look at the layout of the text in the lectionary – be familiar with it;
  • Practise with the microphone in your own church – notice what YOU need to do to be heard and understood clearly in this place;
  • Ask others for feedback.

 Proclamation of the Readings:

  • Wait until everyone is seated before coming forward to take your place at the lectern;
  • Begin by looking at those to whom you will proclaim the word;
  • Proclaim from the lectionary, rather than from the missalette;
  • Trust that we know the way through the Liturgy of the Word … there is no need to say First Reading.. or The Response is..;
  • Take time to say A reading from …… and again a pause before proclaiming, The word of the Lord;
  • Take time with your reading of the text…and take time to connect with your congregation;
  • Speak slowly enough, clearly enough, loudly enough for each person to hear you;
  • Give time to silence…let us absorb what you have proclaimed to us;
  • Take your time coming down from the lectern.