Proclaiming the Word of God is an important aspect of the celebration of the Mass. Lectors are responsible for providing a clear and prayerful proclamation of the readings within our liturgies. Stephanie Hyster oversees the Lector Ministry at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where seven lectors regularly serve.
“We have been together for many years,” Stephanie says. “We have a couple people that were on the regular rotation and then decided to take a break, but are always willing to help if we need it. I prepare a schedule in December of each year and send it out.”
The schedule is set up in a way where the assigned lector is responsible for the Mass schedule from the first of the month to the 15th, or the 16th through the end of the month.
“Holidays and holy days are scheduled separately,” Stephanie says. “I will send out an email and ask for a volunteer. When someone has a conflict with their personal schedule and their lector schedule, they send an email, text, or call to ask someone to cover. This has worked very well for us.”
Stephanie has served as a lector for close to 20 years. When Fr. Denny came to Nativity, he asked her to handle the schedule. At that time, there were not many lectors involved.
“I felt like I was reading all the time, and that people were getting tired of listening to me,” Stephanie says. “I just started asking parishioners and relatives if they would be willing to help — some sought me out at Mass and asked how they could get involved.”
Proclaiming the readings at Mass is about more than simply reciting words off a page. Stacy Ostrander notes that sharing God’s Word at Mass can help deepen a lector’s own faith.
“The time I spend pre-reading and practicing is a prayer in itself,” Stacy says. “As a result of becoming familiar with the week’s readings, proclaiming the Word at Mass is more of a conversation to the parishioners, rather than just reading at them. Being a lector is an active and rewarding ministry.“
“We really try to present the reading in a meaningful way so it’s more meaningful to parishioners,” Stephanie adds.
There is minimal training required to become a lector. The only training is understanding when to go to the altar, and lectors are asked to sit at the front.
“We have not screened people with regard to their skills in reading,” Stephanie says. “Some are a little stronger, but I believe it’s more about getting people involved. When I have recruited readers and they comment that they are worried if they mess up, I always say, ‘If you can’t make a mistake in a church, where can you?’ The real commitment is the preparation before Mass so that you are familiar with the reading.”
For information about the Lector Ministry at Nativity, contact Stephanie Hyster at 440-396-3454 or email@example.com — at St. Joseph, contact Chris Annable at 440-668-0308 or firstname.lastname@example.org.