Recommended Resources for Lectors Using Lector's Notes

Observations on Lectors' Movements, Gestures, Timing, etc.

Watch this space for occasional short essays about things we do other than proclaiming the Scripture.

June 29, 2004: In this author's church the presider's chair is across the sanctuary from the ambo. After the Gloria and the opening prayer, the acolyte carries the sacramentary up steps to the center of the altar, places it there, and returns to a bench behind the presider. Meanwhile, most Sundays, the lector is eager to start reading, and eager, perhaps, to break the silence. And so often the lector begins the proclamation while the acolyte is still moving about on the other side of the sanctuary. This sets up the congregation to be distracted at the very beginning of the reading.

And it makes me ask, "What's your hurry? What's wrong with a few more seconds of silence?" A certain authority comes with your appointment as lector. Use it for the good of the listeners. Remind them, by commanding their attention with your poised silence, that they're about to hear the most important words they'll hear all week.

That ambulating acolyte wants to hear the reading, too. You show the acolyte respect when you wait for him or her to be seated before you even move to the ambo. Finally, you give the congregation time to get seated and recollected.

See responses.

Click here to email a response or a suggestion for another topic in this space.  

A new essay about lector ministry as stewardship

It's more provocative than most of what you've read here before. Click here to read and reply.

Neuevo febrero 2011
Notas del Lector en Español y en Inglés

New, February 2011
Lector's Notes English and in Spanish

With help from two new friends in California, Lector's Notes will appear in Spanish for every Sunday, as well as in English. See the Sunday titles in the center column under Click on a Date to See Current Notes.

Resources for lectors at weekday mass

As noted here for a few months, a lector who reads these pages asked for similar information about the readings in the weekday lectionary. Numerous lectors made suggestions by email. Here they are:

Celina Galvan of the Vocations Office in the diocese of Austin, Texas, USA, suggested Daily Reflections (click here), from the website of Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

Several readers pointed out that the texts of the daily readings are online, and organized by way of a clear calendar, at The U.S. Catholic Bishops' website. At the same site, listen to an oral proclamation or watch a video of a reflection on the readings.

A very rich, but not inexpensive, printed resource, one that I've used in the past, is Celebration Magazine. To see a sample, click here (link is timely as of early November, 2014). Celebration has come from The National Catholic Reporter for thirty-five years. The suggestion is from Stepanie Hagarty-Moening of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Bothell, Washington, USA.

You might subscribe to the printed resource offered at Living with Christ, a publication from New London, Connecticut, USA. No samples are online, but the site says the magazine contains "an overview of the weekday readings and how they guide our 'living with Christ' for the week." The suggestion came from lector Bernie Embury of Saint Stephen's Church, Valley Center, California, USA.

Another promising site is Presentation Ministries (click here). Note the << and >> chevrons on either side of the date at the top. They take you to the reflections for adjacent dates. A lector preparing for a future weekday can click through to a page covering readings quite far in advance. Sometimes the reflection covers only the weekday's gospel, not the first reading. That recommendation came from Allan T Kahn, whose email address suggests he's from Bethpage, New York, USA.

E.M Keefe recommends these commentaries by Don Schwager, late of Detroit, Michigan, USA, and now of London, UK, on the lectionary's gospel passages, every day.

A new discussion, where your ideas are welcome: "For a novice who is starting to read and study the bible, what book would you recommend as a commentary or for general instructions?" Click on "Reply" under Bob's question.
New page of Notes and resources for lector service on special occasions (weddings, funerals, etc.)

More resources (Pronunciation guides, (new, December, 2011) and other lector websites, great liturgical websites, parish lector schedules, etc.)
Search Lector's Notes by the specific Scripture passages covered
The complete collection of Lector's Notes
Lectionary readings only, current and near future dates

New items on the Lectors' Dialogue page:

January, 2006: A reader challenges the author for encouraging lectors to sound too dramatic. "We are not thespians," he says. Lector's Notes author Greg Warnusz responds. Lector David Ford defends the Notes.

An adult lector makes a case for recruiting teenaged parishioners to serve as lectors. As of January, 2006, six lectors respond.

And one parish's very thorough answer to the questions posed here a while back, "How do lectors train and prepare in your parish? What do you ask of them week-by-week or month-by-month?"

Joe Moreira of Singapore has some very interesting thoughts on training lectors (new June 6).

New February, 2006: On the difficulties of scheduling and being scheduled.

Join the discussion on the Lectors' Dialogue page

New, June, 2010: Notes for the special-occasion lector

So you almost never serve as lector, except at a funeral or a wedding? Or you are an experienced lector but, for the event coming up, your role is mother of the bride, and your nephew has been designated lector. Click here for a new section on this site to help you (or your nephew) prepare for that next occasion. There's a general "how to" page of tips about reading to a worship assembly and preparing for a wedding or funeral, and specific notes about Bible passages commonly used at weddings and funerals. The latter contain links to .pdf images of the lectionary pages, to make your preparation foolproof.


(In Preparation)

Lord, invest me with your power
as I prepare to proclaim the marvel of your message
I have prepared my reading,
I have tried to take within me
the meaning of what I am about to proclaim.
Help me to proclaim, not just with my lips,
but with my whole heart and soul.
Lord, make me a hollow reed
so that your voice will be heard by all who hear me.
Free me of excessive concern over my performance.
Convert my feeling of nervousness and
turn all my apprehension into an energy
for proclaiming your word with power and authority.
May your Spirit live in me and
fill the holy word that I proclaim.

From the lectors of Our Lady, Star of the Sea Parish, Singapore

In June, 2012, lector Joy Szopinski of Wisconsin, USA, advised me that this prayer comes from this book by Ed Hays.

Other Resources for Lectors, online and in print, new in 2012, an ambitious collection of print and online resources, with stimulating reflections by a dedicated lector of twenty years. See especially the Learning Center and Best Sites pages.

A very thorough and detailed discussion of the whole Liturgy of the Word, including texts from the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) and commentary.

Archives of the weekly column The Word from America, the Jesuit weekly magazine. For a few years, this excellent column was available only to subscribers; now columns more than one year old are free again.

The very ambitious site for the lectors of Holy Name of Mary Parish in San Dimas, California. Check out the Meditations, the Resources page, and the Newsletters. Best viewed in a browser with Java 2 enabled.

Journey with Jesus. An essay every week on the Sunday's readings, applying Scripture's message to the Christian's day-to-day life. The site describes itself as "a weekly webzine for the global church, ... essays, books, film, poetry and music."

A dialogue among lectors. Theological reflection and practical discussion about issues you raise. Longest-running discussion: about "acting" and reciting the readings from memory.

The Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University. Thoughtful and prayerful reflections on Sunday readings. The best I've found on the Web, by far. This is Deacon Sil Galvan's monumental resource for preachers and readers of the Word. I mean this with no disrespect whatever, but this is the 800-pound gorilla of liturgy sites. Try a trial membership.

Sermons & Sermon - Lectionary Resources. [Link repaired 2011/08/17.] A complete collection of original resources and a most complete index of Web resources for sermons and the Lectionary, carefully maintained and frequently updated. A short paragraph describes each site referenced, to help you select wisely.

A challenging article about serving as a lector, by Ed Horodko, an actor and member of Sacred Heart Church, Olema, California. (The link to this peripatetic essay is up to date as of October, 2015.)

Audio recordings of the readings. The page contains links to recordings of the readings of each day of the current month. The translation is the New American Bible, commonly used in Catholic churches of the U.S.A.
The same recordings, different website.
The oral interpretation here is minimalist.

Audio recordings of the readings from the Philippines. Lectors from four parishes in two dioceses, and from a chapel, contribute these recordings. They're in English, as is the ambitious parent website aimed at all the lectors of the Philippines. I gather that the website name comes from the Tagalog expression Ang salita ng Diyos, which means "The Word of God." I'm open to correction here, of course.

Preparing by prayer: This is how lector Tony Whalley of San Diego, California, USA, adapted a traditional prayer to help himself prepare for lector service:

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth Your Spirit, that I may worthily proclaim your Word

Lector Works. Detailed meditations on the readings and their proclamation, by veteran lector Paul Schlachter of Miami, Florida, USA. Paul has been recording these thoughts for a long time, and put them on the Web starting early in 2005.

The Ministry of Lector, a thoughtful article by Irish theologian Peter P. Kenny.

Corrected, February, 2010! Online guide to pronouncing Biblical names. Gives, in text form, phonetic pronunciations, and sound files that will play on your computer. This user found that the .wav files are the more usable. Your mileage may vary.

Lector Jim Bell of Christ the King Parish, Missoula, Montana, USA, recommends these pronunciation guides in book form:

You might donate one or both to your church, leaving them in the sacristy for every lector to use.

Workbook for Lectors and Gospel Readers, among other resources. (This link updated July 1, 2010.) A liturgically literate friend once asked why I write Lector's Notes when any lector could get "that great Workbook from LTP." Not knowing about the workbook, I got a copy, and found it very good. Liturgy Training Publications seems to have a new author do this book every (liturgical) year. The answer to my friend's question is that, although the Notes and the Workbook cover the same territory Sunday by Sunday, they do it differently, I'd often say very differently. So read both. ¿Habla usted Español? The workbook and other resources for lectors are available in Spanish, at the same link.

More Spanish-language resources (added July, 2010)

Lectors and pastors have asked me over the years if Lector's Notes are available in Spanish. In the winter of 2011, one parishioner and the pastor Saint Elizabeth Parish, Oakland, California, USA, volunteered to work with me on this. As of February 3, 2011, they have translated and I published las primeras Notas del Lector en Español.

The Workbook describe above is available in Spanish. And I've found these resources, too:

Know other resources for lectors in Spanish? Need to tell me, a non-speaker of Spanish, that one of these resources is less worthy than I hope? Want to translate Lector's Notes into Spanish? Click here to address email to me. Thank you.

Restored 3/7/2006, and always up-to-date: the lector schedule for Holy Name of Jesus Parish, North Saint Louis County, MO.

Last modified: October 13, 2015