How I Became a Church Lector and Commentator

Many years ago, my family and I heard an evening mass at our local parish church. I no longer remember though if it was an anticipated mass (Saturday) or a Sunday's last mass. I do remember though that it was already dark when the Holy Mass ended.

We were seated maybe ten pews from the front. Now realize this is a fairly large parish church that can easily seat around 1,500 attendees. So, yes, we sit around the first front quarter of the total number of pews and therefore get to have a clear view of the Holy Mass proceedings.

Nobody Proclaimed the First Reading

I still remember the officiating priest in that mass and the assigned commentator at that time.

At the end of the Opening Prayer, everybody sat for the Liturgy of the Word. The commentator must have sat too and waited for the assigned lector to go up the ambo for the First Reading. That's what is usually done.

The trouble was, nobody went up the ambo. NOBODY.

The commentator stood up, leaned at her lectern and looked at the ambo. Nobody was there. There was quite a long lull and awkward deafening silence.

Visibly irked, by what was going on, the priest was now looking sternly at the commentator. The whole congregation was puzzled with the incident. From our vantage point, it looked rather embarrassing.

The commentator then decided to go into the sacristy and took an enormous amount of time invisible to the congregation.

It was at this point that I turned to my wife and said, "wow, it looks like these guys need a lot of help". From what we saw, it appeared that the lector not showing up implied they had either an attendance problem or not enough lectors to serve. Of course, these were just my guesses at that time. But how else could it be?

The Commentator Became the Lector

Why did the commentator disappear for a long period of time? Apparently, the commentator had to go find the Lectionary for the First and Second Readings. Because no assigned lector came, nobody prepared the Lectionary at the ambo. Of course, I didn't now all these thing back then.

Finally, the commentator came out at the other side of the altar to approach the ambo. She proceeded to proclaim the First Reading, the Responsorial Psalm and the Second Reading.

The Holy Book of Gospels

Now I no longer remember how the officiating priest managed to read the Holy Gospel. Usually, it is the lector who brings the Book of Gospels at the procession and the lays it on the altar. The priest then brings the Book to the ambo while the choir sings Alleluia.

But if there was no lector, who brought the Book?

I'm not sure about this, but I suspect the commentator had to fetch the Gospel Book from the sacristy as well. Another scenario was that the priest didn't actually read from the Book but from the tiny missalette, a practice which many priests despise.

(see Part 2 for the continuation)