Lector Procedures



Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish and Catholic Student Center

November 1, 2021 (reviewed 10/1/2023)


The Importance of Lectors

Read? I can do that! It can seem like reading at Church is like public reading anywhere, but reading the Scriptures at Mass is unlike any other reading because this text is God’s inspired word.  You are privileged to proclaim to the people God’s word which was delivered from God to a specific group of people in a specific time and culture, yet today those words continue to speak to us, because the author has remained the same.  Every time we as Catholic Christians gather for the Liturgy of the Word, that scripture passage is fulfilled in our hearing (Luke 4:22) because Christ, the eternal Word, continues to speak to our hearts today.

Preparation, proclaiming and praying, but not performing!

Please consult the Lector Workbook as you prepare the Scripture in the week(s) ahead of your scheduled time.

  • Arrive at church at least 20 minutes prior to the start of the liturgy.  Check-in with the Mass Coordinator.
  • Review the Lectionary, its page number for the day and the readings.
    • Lector 1 (or Deacon) – is responsible for getting the Book of the Gospels and processing in with it during the entrance procession.  You are responsible for returning it to the sacristy after liturgy.
      • Make a simple bow, with just your head, keeping the Book of the Gospel held-up when you reverence the altar.  Approach the altar up the center part of the south steps.  Place the Book of the Gospels in the clear stand found on the altar.
      • Reverence the altar before and after your proclamation.  Do this on the main floor level and not up at the altar.
      • Move to the ambo while the assembly sits down following the Collect (Opening Prayer).
      • Glance down and make sure that the Lectionary is opened to the correct page, and then look up to make sure that everyone is settled before you begin.
      • It is preferred that you are looking up when announcing the entire title of the reading.
      • Prayerfully proclaim the text (the Lector Workbook and the Director of Worship can aid you with this process).  Enunciate clearly and project your voice.
      • Only read what is on the page, please do not add or eliminate anything in print.
      • Adjust the microphone as needed. 

Note – microphones only project the sound that you give them.  The microphone does not miraculously give your voice a big sound.

      • Make essential eye contact to as much of the assembly as possible without losing your vocal projection into the microphone.
      • Do not make any unnecessary movement with your body.
      • Pause 2-3 seconds before you say, “The Word of the Lord.”
      • Wait for the assembly to respond before you do anything else.  This means do not move, touch anything or begin pausing until after they say, “Thanks be to God.”
      • Pause again, this time 10-15 seconds, before returning to your seat.


    • Lector 2 – is responsible for making sure that the Lectionary is put on the ambo.  You are responsible for returning it to the sacristy after liturgy.

      • Most of what was said for Lector 1, also applies for Lector 2, except the following:
      • Move to the ambo at the same time that the psalmist (cantor) moves away from the ambo.
      • After completing the proclamation and the 10-15 seconds of pausing, take the Lectionary with you and place it on the first pew.  Please do not set it on the floor.


    • Lector 3 – is responsible for making sure that the thin, colored binder containing the intercessions and any announcements is at the ambo prior to the start of the liturgy and returning it back to the sacristy afterwards.  An extra copy of each will be on the sacristy counter.

      • Towards the end of the Creed, please move to the ambo.  You should be at the ambo prior to the presider beginning the introduction prayer for the intercessions.

Note – IF there is a baptism celebrated during the liturgy, there will not be the Creed. 

So be ready for the intercessions following the baptism.

      • Command a 2-3 second pause at the end of each intercession.  The last intercession requests a ten second pause.
      • Remain standing at the ambo through the conclusion of the prayer for the intercessions.
      • If there are announcements to be made, move to the ambo when the assembly stands for the prayer after communion.

You are proclaiming the Word of God, not only for the Saint Thomas Aquinas community,

but for the whole world to hear and understand, and thus come to Jesus Christ. 

Take adequate time to pray before and after you read,

so that your ministry of the Word will indeed be for the glory of God.




Additional Notes:  

  • The End of Mass:
    • None of the lectors process at the end of Mass.
    • Lector 2 returns the Lectionary to the sacristy.
    • Lector 1 returns the Book of the Gospels to the sacristy and places it in its box.
  • Microphones:
    • Don’t get too close.
    • Adjust the microphone angle at the top or at the base. 
    • The microphone is unidirectional. Point it straight at your mouth.
    • As you move your gaze from left to right, shift your weight on your feet so that your mouth remains pointed at the front of the microphone, not the sides.
  • Body Language:
    • Proclaim to everyone.
    • Make essential eye contact, turn your body (not just your head) to look at the worshippers. Turning yourself about 30 degrees to each side will make it look like you are proclaiming to both sides without turning your back on either.
  • Use Your Voice:
    • Enunciate clearly.
    • Project your voice.
    • Sound reinforcement works best when you “throw” your voice to the opposite side of the church and allow the system to augment a good projection of sound.
  • What to Wear:
    • Use common sense. The Word of God should get all the attention, and the lector should be as transparent as possible.
    • Appropriate clothes do not mean “formal” dress.
    • Avoid clothing that may be a distraction, particularly rival schools, political statements and images or words that might be divisive.

You proclaim the Good News not only for the St Thomas Aquinas community, but for the whole world to hear and understand and thus come to Jesus Christ. Take some time to pray before and after you read so that your ministry of the Word will indeed be for the glory of God.