The first part of the Mass is referred to as the Liturgy of the Word. Its framework is the spoken word. The Church Fathers instruct us that, “when the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people …” Lectors are commissioned “to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the Gospel.” Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for the assembled congregation to hear and contemplate God’s word. Short periods of silence provide an opportunity to recollect and take the word of God to heart and prepare a response to it in prayer.
In explaining the obligations of each baptized believer in attendance at Mass, Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles wrote: “Our duty is not just to be present; our duty is to be fully present. The songs are for singing, the Scriptures for listening, the silence for reflection …” Individually, we are expected to become familiar with Sacred Scripture outside of Mass, to enhance knowledge of the saving works of God, as well as to obtain guidance to apply to daily life. In addition, reading the scripture that will be part of the next liturgy beforehand helps to provide context for the abbreviated portions of scripture that are proclaimed during Mass.
The Church instructs that lectors “should be truly suited to perform this function and should receive careful preparation, so that the faithful by listening to the readings from the sacred texts may develop in their hearts a warm and living love for Sacred Scripture.” Lectors must be willing to develop their basic skills and be ready to participate in continuing formation activities throughout each year. St. Edmond’s provides the opportunity to build knowledge of the scriptures and learn the history of the Mass and the ministry, to develop communication skills, and enhance speaking techniques, including a periodic review of individual proclamation skills.
If you are interested in learning more, whether a beginner or well experienced, give the parish office your name, phone number and email address. You also contact our parish lector co-odinator, Kevin Mumford, by email at: [email protected].