Difficulty in Getting Volunteer Mass Readers

The option of allowing the wedding couple to provide their own mass readers has been in our parish for a long time. After all, many wedding couples would love to have many of their friends and relatives to participate on their wedding day. This is their option.

But if they so desire, they could forego thinking and listing a couple of their friends who could be capable to become mass readers. They could also just let the church to provide them the church's commissioned lectors. The commissioned lectors are already knowledgeable and trained for doing the mass reader roles.

A big problem arises when come wedding day, no mass reader show up even when the couple has promised to provide them. There could be several reasons and one reason could be a result of miscommunication between the parish office and the wedding couple.

There are two options left for me as a commentator when this happens:

  1. Take on the mass reader (or lector) role myself.

    This, in a way, is the easiest route. I don't need to orient anybody else. I do need presence of mind and quick action to make it happen though. Also, some priests do not favor this setup. They'd rather have a different person proclaiming the readings other than the commentator.

  2. Get a volunteer mass reader from the wedding party

    I go to the wedding coordinator for this, if there is one. Otherwise I go ask the bridegroom for volunteers. This needs to be done ON THE SPOT. Although occasionally, this has worked, it is also difficult.

Difficulties in Getting Volunteer Mass Readers

  • Shyness

    This is perhaps the most common reason. Some just don't feel they're capable enough to go to the ambo and give the readings. I've mostly observed this from the younger crowd. With the older folks, they're more readily willing, perhaps because of the maturity. This is especially true with the primary sponsors.

    I suppose these are the folks who are accomplished in life and already have much confidence for anything that comes their way.

  • Can't be bothered

    Or maybe call it laziness. Again, this is largely applicable to the younger crowd. Many seem to think that going to weddings is akin to attending a party, and anything that remotely resembles a chore isn't appealing. Some of them just hate to be pulled away from their groupies.

  • Inappropriate attire

    This happens infrequently and usually applies to the ladies. There was an instance when the wedding coordinator volunteered a mass reader who the mother-butler thought was dressed inappropriately. I personally didn't see anything wrong with it since most ladies in wedding entourages dress similarly anyway. A mother-butler rejected her just the same.

When this happens, it can be irritating to still look for others who would want to become mass readers. The search alone takes up so much of my time. One factor to this is that the wedding entourage is usually milling at the church's entrance doors which is far from the altar and lectern area.

After finding a potential mass reader, I then still have to spend time orienting him/her for the role.