Multitasking as Commentator and Lector

This is my third wedding as a Wedding Mass Commentator. I was waiting for the commissioned Lector up to the last minute, but no one came. With no more time left to pull someone out from the wedding party and orient, I asked the mass assistants what to do.

The rather unsympathetic response I received from them was, "Well, you could do the Reading yourself." Yup, they meant to do the Commentator job and do the Reader job as well.

Almost Seriously Hurt Myself

With the wedding mass about to start, I decided I'd better just do both Commentator and Lector tasks. I've seen a Commentator do it before when I was just planning to become a Lector.

So I stationed myself at the Commentator's lectern for the initial part of the mass. When the officiating priest started the Opening Prayer with "Let us pray...", I made a mad dash, passing at the back (the sacristy) to get to the ambo. It was a bit dark at the sacristy and almost missed a step going down the 3-step concrete stairs. If I did miss, I would've fallen and seriously hurt my knee. I thanked my lucky stars that THAT did not happen. It would have looked very bad.

I managed to reach the opposite end for the ambo quickly. This meant though that I wasn't able to tell the assembly to "be seated and listen to the Liturgy of the Word." That was the least of my concerns at that moment. The assembly would figure it out, I thought. And yes, when I got to the ambo, they were all seated.

Getting Out of Breath

So there I was reading. I was already familiar with the First Reading and Responsorial Psalm, so that wasn't too difficult. As I finished the psalm response, I felt relieved. I relaxed as I bowed and exited the ambo to go back to the lectern through the sacristy. As I was walking through the sacristy, I heard the Alleluia being sang by the choir.

And then I realized that the Alleluia Verse needed to be recited by the Commentator... me!

I was just halfway the sacristy and bolted to run to get back to the lectern in time. I did get to the lectern in time, but I was a bit panting. Luckily the verse is just short and I managed to recite it without gettng out of breath! It was only when the Gospel and Homily finished that I felt truly relieved.

Lessons Learned

Doing Commentator and Lector/Mass Reader tasks in a wedding mass is not easy. But it can be done. Only when you've reasonably exhausted all possibilities of an available reader should you attempt multitasking these.

Here are a few tips when there's absolutely no mass reader or when all else fails:
  1. Prior to the mass, ensure a copy of the wedding mass missalette is on the ambo. Be sure to position the missalette to the correct page of the First Reading. Preferably, set a pencil or some kind of a marker. This will let you see the First Reading immediately.

  2. Now you may position yourself as commentator at the lectern and perform your duties. Essentially this is where you should be at the start of the mass.

  3. When the officiating priest starts the Opening Prayer with "Let us pray", turn the lectern's missalette to the page of the Alleluia Song. Position a pen or pencil on the song so you can mark your place when you return to the lectern from the ambo.

  4. Exit the lectern quickly. Carefully go down the stairs but move quickly through the sacristy going to the ambo. By this time, the priest is still reciting the Opening Prayer. Try to reach the ambo in time to say "Amen" to the Opening Prayer.

  5. After the Opening Prayer, respond with "Amen" on the microphone. The congregation should sit. If you observe that they don't, say a soft "Please be seated". Take a deep breath (away from microphone, so you won't be heard).

  6. Deliver the First Reading normally. After doing the reading, recite "The Word of the Lord". The congregation should respond with "Thanks be to God".

  7. Bow and exit the ambo. The assembly should stand as the priest now stands and the choir starts to sing the Alleluia.

  8. Move carefully, but quickly, so you can return to the lectern. By this time, the priest has reached the ambo, you've reached the lectern, and the choir is still singing the Alleluia.

  9. Once you've reached the lectern, note your mark on the script for the Alleluia verse. Take a deep breath away from the microphone and then recite the Alleluia Verse when the choir pauses midstream with the Alleluia.

  10. Ensure that everybody is now standing to listen to the Holy Gospel.