Ministry of The Word: Notes for Readers

The following guidelines were prepared by the Diocese of Motherwell.

The Ministry of Reader

Yours is the task of telling the story of our salvation.

Yours is to proclaim the true and saving work of God.

You are the messengers of God for us.

Your task is to proclaim a word that challenges,

confronts and captures our hearts.

You proclaim a word that heals and consoles.

Yours is the ministry of the table of God's word,

which feeds the hunger and longing

of our hearts for the truth

that we may turn to the table of the Eucharist

with good cause to give thanks and praise.

Yours is nothing less

than the ministry of the Lord’s voice on earth.

Come to your work from your personal prayer,

l 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.

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 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 Lord’s body 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 and strength.

Remember that the story you tell

is filled with a drama you need not supply

but must always convey.

Like the prophet, you will sometimes proclaim

what no one wants to hear;

remember always your own need to hear,

and never imagine that your ministry

places you above what you proclaim.

If you are the best of the parish readers,

be gentle in helping others to improve.

If you are the least of the parish readers,

seek out that help which others can give.

If you do not know how well you read e ask:

be grateful for constructive criticism

and humbled by any praise you receive.

Everyone wants to read at the important ceremonies.

Be patient in waiting your turn

and be nourished by the word that others proclaim.

Let no minister of the word

think that there is nothing left to learn:

another commentary and another workshop

cannot but help the open mind and heart.

Before and after

The liturgical principle is that any movement should be purposeful, and, therefore, direct. One should go directly from one’s place in the assembly or in the sanctuary to the ambo.

If you process with the Celebrant and other ministers from the sacristy on a Sunday, then bags, missals, missalettes, Parish Mass Books, should all be left behind in the sacristy.

Once at the ambo pause long enough to demand attention, then begin reading. if you wait in silence, the assembly will settle more quickly. If you begin to read immediately, the assembly will miss the first four lines of what you are reading.

At the end of the reading one should wait for three seconds before saying, slowly and distinctly, ‘This is the Word of the Lord’.

There should be a definite pause after each reading e 10-15 seconds. This pause is asked for by the Church. It is intended to give people who have been paying attention time to think over what they have heard.

Psalm and the Gospel Acclamation

The Psalm and the Gospel Acclamation are not readings.

The Psalm extends our meditation on the First Reading.

If you have read the First Reading and are to read the Psalm, make sure you pause for 10-15 second before beginning.

Do not say: ‘The response to the Psalm is...‘_ People know what is happening. Your pause of 10-15 seconds will have focused them even more.

The Gospel Acclamation is designed to accompany the Gospel~reader’s procession to the ambo.

Between the Psalm and the Gospel Acclamation there is no pause. The same is true on Sundays: there is no pause between the Psalm and the Second Reading.

Ideally, the Gospel Acclamation should be omitted if it is not sung.

Psalm and the Gospel Acclamation

Your task is to come forward, as a member of the   assembly and announce the intentions for everyone to pray for.

What you say each time is not a prayer ~ you are announcing an intention to be prayed for: ‘For Pope Benedict...’, ‘For the sick of the parish...'.

Each petition should be followed by a definite pause of 5 seconds to allow the assembly make the intention a personal prayer.

Then announce the conclusion, for example, ‘Lord in your mercy...’ or ‘Lord hear us...’.

For our parish community (you are announcing an intention - leave a brief pause) - that under Saint Bridget’s watchful care, we may grow in love God and in service of our neighbour (pause for 5 seconds)...PAUSE...Father of goodness... V

For those members of our parish who have

stumbled in the path of discipleship and no longer

practice their faith e may our prayers and good

example help them to find Christ once

again...PAUSE...Father of goodness...