Lay Reader Notes
- Arrive 30 minutes early, to give yourself time to be ready.
- Check the book at the lectern. Father Mac always marks the readings, but
sometimes things change. This is especially important for the 10:00 readers,
because the 8:00 readers may have turned the pages.
- The readings are marked with arrows in the book. There will almost always
be two readings with the psalm between them.
- The first reading is usually from the Old Testament; the second reading is
always from the New Testament. Most of the time, they're together in the book,
but sometimes they aren't. (If they aren't, there will be a ribbon to mark the
second reading.) Make sure you know about any page turning you'll need to
- Think about how you will handle the Psalm. There is an
instruction and suggestion sheet for Psalm leaders
here and also on the lectern.
- At 8:00, you have a choice of reading the psalm in unison, or responsively
by verse or half-verse.
- At 10:00, the choir and congregation will sing the psalm antiphon. You will
read the psalm while the organist plays quietly underneath your reading. Pause
at each [ANT.] to allow for the singing of the antiphon. If it's not clear what
to do, ask.
- Lay Eucharistic Ministers: Look at the names in the Prayers of the People, especially for the names of
those who have died. (We read first names only for the others.) You don't want
to be surprised, either by the pronunciation or by the death of someone you
How to Read
- Use the book. It's liturgically appropriate, and looks better. If you have
a special need, like pre-marked pages or a larger font, put your pages on the
book so it looks like you're using the book.
- Practice the readings beforehand. The reminder is emailed to you early in
the week, and the readings are available on the parish website.
- Names. Make sure you know how to pronounce unfamiliar words or names in your
readings. There is a pronunciation guide on the lectern and there are many
on-line resources that provide pronunciation. One example can be found under
the Bible Basics
tab on netministries.org.
It's best to look in the glossary in
advance, though, or ask Father Mac. If you're caught off-guard, do your best to
- Long sentences. Saint Paul, especially, goes on and on — dependent
clauses, prepositional phrases, parentheses, compound sentences, and so on.
I've never quite stopped to diagram the sentence, but figuring out the subject
and verb helps me. For example:
For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace
and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law
but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of
us, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations") -- in the
presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls
into existence the things that do not exist.
Romans 4:16-17 NRSV
- Practice the readings out loud at home until you're comfortable.
- You will screw up. Recently, Father Mac said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they
shall be condemned". If the mistake is something simple (changing a
preposition or something) just keep going. If you have to, stop and back up.
- Forget what you were told in first grade — it's a good idea to hold
your place with your finger. I mark the beginning of the line; others follow
each line. Find out what works best for you. You need to be able to find your
place when you glance away.
- When you're reading the Prayers of the People, don't say "The Prayers of the People", just start with the prayer.
- Eye contact is nice, especially after you have some experience. I pick a
couple of people to glance at.
- Slow down. Nerves can make some people speed up. Even if that isn't the
case, read more slowly than you usually speak. It helps understanding.
- Speak up. Even with the microphone, it helps everybody hear.