Lay Liturgical Ministry

Lay Liturgical Ministry


Thank you for coming forward to participate in ministry as a lector or Extraordinary Minister at St Joseph Parish We appreciate your willingness to give back to your church, and hope that through this ministry you will better understand of the beauty and message of the Catholic liturgical celebrations.

 Please always refer to the booklet given at the Fall Liturgical Workshop for additional information to help you understand specifics; the liturgical vocabulary, and details of the liturgical year. This booklet is meant to help all Lectors and Eucharistic ministers in St. Joseph Parish to have a solid understanding of the importance of their ministries.


Your Role as a Minister


It is important that as you make a commitment to your new chosen

ministry, that you take your new responsibility very seriously by taking the

following steps:


Please make sure that you show up a minimum of 15 minutes before

liturgy begins. 

If you find that you cannot fulfill your obligation, please identify an

alternate as soon as possible. This is your responsibility!



The Lector


“When Sacred Scriptures are read in Church, God Himself speaks to His people,And Christ, present in His own Word, proclaims the Gospel.” (General Instruction from the Roman Missal #29)


Lectors are members of the Assembly who proclaim the Word in the firsttwo scripture readings.Training and preparation are necessary for those persons wishing to be

Lectors. Proclaiming the Sacred Scriptures is different from the other kinds of public speaking. Not only do Lectors need to be effective

communicators, but they need to absorb and express the spirit of the Liturgy as well. Ongoing training is essential, which not only helps the

Lector in their ministry, but also enhances the liturgy.  Speaking of Lectors at the Mass, the Vatican Council said, “They exercise a

genuine liturgical function. They ought, therefore, to discharge their office with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry and

right expected of them by God’s people. Consequently, they must all be trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner…Christ is

present in His word since it is He Himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in the Church.”

 When you arrive, check that your reading is marked properly in the Lectionary with the ribbon. It is also a good idea to remember what the page number for your reading is ahead of time in case the ribbon is moved. Be sure the Lectionary is placed on the Ambo.

 Please make sure that you practice and are comfortable with your assigned reading. It is helpful to find your reading in a Bible at home and read what

comes before and after your particular reading. This helps you better proclaim the Word when you know its full context by reading the entire

passage or section from which it comes. It is always better to be ready rather than to be caught unprepared at the last minute. Do not add any additional text

to the Word. Only read what is in the Lectionary. Read slowly! If you feel that you are reading too slowly, you are probably

reading at the right pace. If you read too quickly, the assembly will not be able to understand what you are reading.  

Watch your body language. You may have personal habits of which you are not aware (foot movements, head or hand twitching, etc.). Stand with your

arms resting comfortably on the ambo and with both feet flat on the floor. Have someone in the assembly watch carefully to help you and make a

conscious effort to correct your stance.  Once Mass Begins The Lector will carry the Book of the Gospels in procession and place it on the altar. Do not wait for the rest of the

procession continue to the altar, and place the Book of the Gospels on the altar and then go to your seat. The Lectionary will already be on the ambo opened to the first reading.

 Immediately following the opening prayer, the assembly will be seated to listen to the reading of the Word. God’s Word is always proclaimed from

the ambo.  As the Lector approaches the sanctuary before their reading it is customary to bow to the altar as a sign of reverence. This bow should also take place

after the reading is done when the Lector goes back to their seat. The first reading is usually taken from the Old Testament. Following the

first reading, a Psalm will be sung. The second reading follows the Psalm and is taken from a passage of one of the New Testament letters.

 After the second reading, the assembly stands to sing the Gospel Acclamation or “Alleluia.” The Alleluia welcomes the Word of God in the

Gospel. The “Alleluia” is not sung or recited during Lent, but another appropriate acclamation is proclaimed. The priest will read the

Gospel passage from the New Testament. The 3-year cycle includes Gospel readings from the Book of Matthew (Cycle A), the Book of Mark (Cycle B),

and the Book of Luke (Cycle C), with the readings from the Gospel of John used on special days and celebrations during the Liturgical Calendar.


 Prayer of the Faithful or General Intercessions


The Lector should review the Prayer of the Faithful. The prayer of the faithful (intercessions) is read from the ambo by the

Lector. The prayers are read after the homily during daily Mass and after the assembly recite the Creed on the weekend.

 Begin by saying, “Our response is ____.” Command a pause at the end of each intercession. Once you are finished reading the intercessions, remain

at the ambo, turn toward the presider, and do not return to the pew until after the community prayer or another closing prayer from the preside.


 The Eucharistic Minister



“‘Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to be will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.’” (John 6:35)

 “The Eucharist constitutes the very life of the Church, for the Lord said; I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry; no one

who believes in me shall ever thirst.”  

“In every celebration of the Eucharist there should always be a sufficient number of ministers for the distribution of the Eucharist. Priority is always

given to ordinary ministers (bishops, priests, deacons) and auxiliary ministers (instituted acolytes). When there are large numbers of the

faithful present and there are insufficient ordinary and auxiliary members at hand, special or extraordinary ministers properly appointed beforehand should assist in the distribution of Communion.” (HLS, #29).

 Your willingness to serve as a Eucharistic Minister reflects not only your response to your Baptismal call to serve, but a commitment to Christ as you

share in the preaching, teaching and leading aspects of the Church. You offer the Eucharist, recognize the Body of Christ in those to whom you offer

the Eucharist and ultimately you act as the Body of Christ by fully participating in the life of the parish and the wider community. Your

willingness to commit to a schedule, to prepare properly for your service and to arrive on time dressed appropriately for your assigned Mass, further

reflects that commitment. Just like anything that is important, there needs to be ongoing training. This training not only helps you in your ministry,

but helps the liturgy be a beautiful encounter with God.

 Ministers of the Eucharist come to stand on either side of the altar at the Lamb of God. It is customary to bow to the altar before you enter the

sanctuary area. After the priest (and deacon if one is present) receive Eucharist, line up at the Altar. The priest or deacon will share Eucharist

with you. ministers. Then go to your assigned places.  

Please remember to wash your hands before you minister the Eucharist. When offering Eucharist, state in a clear, audible, but not loud voice, “The

Body of Christ.” This is a faith statement and should not be modified in any way under the guise of making it more “meaningful” by such statements as

“Take Jesus”, The precious Body of Jesus” etc. These statements do not profess the faith of the Church regarding the meaning of the action at that


 Remember you are a presence of Christ to each person as you minister, so, smile kindly, and refrain from appearing annoyed or stern or appear to be in

a hurry. Allow each communicant a moment to respond “Amen”.  If a consecrated Host drops on the floor, pick it up and either consume it

immediately or hold it until you are done and then consume. Do not give a dropped host to anyone you serve. If you are concerned about running out

of host, you can begin to break the pieces.

 When offering the Chalice before each communicant, state in a clear, audible voice, “The Blood of Christ”. The same comments hold true about

modifying this statement as those for “The Body of Christ.” When distributing the cup make sure you wipe the rim of the cup carefully

with the purificator, (inside and out) and turn the cup a quarter turn for the next person.

 When an adult or child comes forward during the communion processional with their arms folded against their chest, do not distribute to them, but

rather offer them a blessing. An example might be: “May God bless you.” The remaining hosts should be returned to the altar and the priest will

make sure all the consecrated hosts are in the Ciborium. The Ciborium will be returned to the tabernacle. The remaining precious blood

should be consumed and cups placed on the altar.  




 A parish is to have sufficient ministers trained and prepared for the Ministryof Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, whose responsibility is not only for the assistance in the distribution of the Eucharist at every regularly scheduled Week-end Mass, daily Mass and Masses offered during the Christmas and Easter Season but to homebound parishioners and those in hospitals and nursing centers as well.

 The Blessed Sacrament needs to be placed in a pyx. If you are going to be a Minister of the Eucharist to someone home bound or in the hospital, tellthe priest before mass. After communion the priest or the deacon will place the number of hosts you request in your pyx. Go to the front of the altar for a blessing and sending forth prayer.

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