Orient Mass Readers for the Wedding Mass

As a wedding mass commentator, one of the big issues that need to be addressed is the proclamation of the First Reading and Responsorial Psalm.

With ordinary Sunday masses there is no problem. There are two lectors: one for the First Reading with the Responsorial Psalm, and then another for the Second Reading with the Prayer of the Faithful. In the event that one lector is absent, the other takes over that reading also, and so effectively reading both. It is rare though that the two lectors are absent in Sunday masses.

But with wedding masses, it's either we have our own commissioned lector who does all the readings or the wedding party provides their own mass readers(s). Our commissioned lectors are well-trained to proclaim the readings.

The mass reader(s) provided by the wedding entourage, on the other hand, need to be oriented first on how to approach the ambo and proclaim the readings.

Division of Labor Among Mass Readers

The church generally needs only one mass reader, but oftentimes, the wedding couple provides up to 2 mass readers. The segments that could be distributed to the mass readers are: First Reading, Responsorial Psalm, Second Reading (optional) and the Prayers of the Faithful. If there is only one reader, only the First Reading and Responsorial Psalm is given. I take care of the Prayers of the Faithful part. It seems easier that way.

Identifying the Mass Readers

The practice of hiring wedding coordinators by wedding couples has become vogue lately. This has facilitated the smooth and coordinated flow of the wedding activities. In the past, I usually asked the bridegroom for the mass readers.

Now, I simply ask the mother-butlers if there is a wedding coordinator. The mother-butlers, or at least the leader, would know because the wedding coordinators make their tasks so much easier.

If there is a wedding coordinator, I ask for the mass readers. If there are none identified, I ask the wedding coordinator to get volunteers. This is assuming there is still time to do an orientation which is around five minutes.

Sometimes there are identified mass readers but come in late and that makes it very difficult because there is hardly any time for orientation. Another challenge is when the mass readers have improper dress attire.

Orienting the Mass Readers

After identifying the mass readers, I immediately ask the wedding coordinator to go and fetch them to go in front. I usually meet them near the front pews. I introduce myself as the wedding coordinator and typically ask their names just so it will be easy to call their attention in the orientation.

Seating for the the Mass Readers

Generally, the mass readers should be seated to where our lectors and lay ministers sit. These are the pews that are nearest the ambo. They are seated there to minimize delay and avoid lulls. The mass reader shouldn't draw too much attention to herself because of the delay in going up the ambo.

(see Part 2 for the continuation of this article)