The Scriptures are fundamental to our faith, and the Church wisely incorporates Scripture throughout the Mass. The Liturgy of the Word presents to us three readings, generally one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one Gospel passage. Using a three-year cycle means that just by attending Mass, we hear a large portion of the Bible. Our lectors are key to bringing these Scriptures to life for us.
Mary Beth Webb serves as a lector in our parish and she brings to this role her conviction that there is something to be learned and gained from each reading.
“I think it’s really important that when we get a chance to read Scripture, we read it with some feeling,” Mary Beth says. “It’s not just a matter of getting up there and reading the words, but it involves communicating what the author intended.”
For Mary Beth, this means that she spends some time in preparation when she is scheduled to serve as a lector at Mass. Using the workbook provided by the parish, Mary Beth spends time familiarizing herself not only with the words that she’ll be reading but with the context and meaning within those words. Pauses and emphases are subtle but important ways to both engage and communicate that meaning to the congregation.
“I try to read in a way that helps people want to listen,” Mary Beth says. “We don’t want to just go through the motions of the Mass and it’s important that the people in the congregation know that we’re really trying to help them understand.”
For Mary Beth, serving as a lector was a natural choice thanks to her many years of experience in front of an audience as a teacher, but it also stems from her gratitude to God for healing she received from a cerebral hemorrhage many years ago. Mary Beth had to relearn the basics, from telling time to basic math. Actively participating in the liturgy has helped her enter more deeply into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
“I think that the Church and Mass — all of it just takes on a larger meaning when you can become part of it,” Mary Beth says. “You’re not just sitting there. When you take these other roles, if you do them the way they’re supposed to be done, it becomes part of you. My participation in the Mass is much different now that I’ve started to lector.”
Mary Beth is grateful for the constant help she receives that allows her to participate in this way — from Fr. Butler’s helpful feedback, to the parishioners who are always ready to assist her up and down the steps to the lectern. This simple help enables Mary Beth to continue to share her gifts with the parish.
If you are interested in being trained as a lector, contact the parish office at 815-498-2010.