The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition, defines the word lector as “ A person who reads aloud certain of the scriptural passages used in a church service.”

One of the very important changes brought about by Vatican Council II in the early 1960’s was the structure of the Mass. Up to that time, the primary focus of the Mass was the Eucharist, also referred to as the Liturgy of The Eucharist. Of course, that part of the Mass leading up to the consecration, and then, the distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful is very important. What has changed is that we have recognized the great importance during the Mass of the Liturgy of The Word, as well as the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

For, after all, it is the Word of God that we are proclaiming and listening to during the Mass. Each day, we hear a different selection or reading from the Bible, also known as the scriptures. The Church (liturgical) calendar is organized to cover most of the Bible during the course of three years. And so, the Mass has also become a form of faith formation, as it teaches us over a period of time, the Word or Message of Jesus Christ. Our participation at Mass and how we live our lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus is our Christian witness or personal testimony to being followers of Christ.

Given this basic understanding of the meaning of the Liturgy of the Word in our lives, we have emphasized the fact that the lector is not just reading the scriptures but that he or she is proclaiming the Word of God.

Accordingly, our lectors are, in reality, Ministers of The Word. Recognizing their work as a ministry, the training program and lector’s Workbook used at Saint Dominic Church is given heavy emphasis

We’ve all heard the difference between the lector who is speaking with great understanding and care for the words being enunciated as compared to one who is simply reading words. The effective lector reads each scriptural passage only after studying its meaning and saying the words aloud before going on the altar. The language of scriptures is replete with vocabulary that is not commonly used in our every day language. Most important, lectors prepare themselves for their readings because the words they are reading are the Word of God for today and must be proclaimed, as in the telling of a great story, with clarity and meaning for every person in the congregation.