WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE READER AT MASS?
The reader may carry the Book of Gospels in the entrance procession (in the absence of a deacon); a reader proclaims the assigned reading(s) and, in the absence of a deacon, the General Intercessions. If the responsorial psalm is not sung, the reader may also be asked to lead it.
DOES A PERSON NEED TO BE CONFIRMED TO BE A READER?
None of the liturgical documents insists on Confirmation as a prerequisite, although it is desirable that a reader have received the Sacrament of Confirmation. A reader needs to be in good sacramental standing with the Church so he or she can fully participate in the celebration. At weddings and funerals, however, a non-Catholic reader may proclaim one of the readings or offer the petitions, with the permission of the pastor.
DOES ONE NEED TO BE A PARTICULAR AGE TO BE A READER?
Again, the documents are not concerned with age. The foundational criterion is a clear understanding of the reading as well as its context. A reader needs to be able to read clearly and audibly; to interact with the Assembly through eye contact and to have knowledge of the different types of texts and the liturgical seasons. A reader must be comfortable with silence and be able to focus the Assembly’s attention on the Word of God rather than on the proclaimer.
HOW SHOULD A READER PREPARE?
All readers should take time prior to the Mass to study the scriptures and practice their reading aloud. Ten minutes before Mass is not practice, but ten minutes a day during the week prior to Mass is practice. The readers should also take the time to pray and to read the other scripture texts of the day in order to understand the context of their particular reading. Through this study and practice, the reading will become the living Word of God.