Ministers of the Word

Praying Hands at Scripture

Ministers of the Word

Praying Hands at ScriptureMinistry of the Word

The ministry of reader is a very important one in today’s Church and recognised as a vital role in the celebration of Mass. We are ever grateful to those from our community who volunteer to proclaim the Word at our weekday and Sunday Masses.

Below you will find some resources to help practice your ministry, including a short “Q&A” with some questions asked by our ministers.

If you are interested in becoming a minister of the Word or helping in any way, please contact a priest of the parish or any member of the Parish Pastoral Council.



Q.: I’m a minister of the Word. Where do I find the readings for next Sunday?

A.: These are available in the ‘Parish Mass’ books in the church. Ministers of the Word are encouraged to take these home with them as required to help pray with and practice their readings.

Where the readings are taken from are given on the back page of the parish bulletin each week – both for this Sunday and next Sunday’s readings.

There are a variety of online sources available. Please note that while the chapter and verse references may be the same, the text can often be from a different translation than that used at Mass. A reliable source of the text used at Mass is


Q.: How do I know what week and cycle it is in the liturgical year?


A.: Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which we use, that begins from 1st Jan to 31st Dec, the period spanning a liturgical year is somewhat different. The liturgical year is marked with various seasons:- Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time I, Lent, Easter / Easter Triduum, Ordinary Time II. The First Sunday of Advent (four Sundays before Christmas) marks the beginning of a liturgical year and proceed into the various seasons. The liturgical year ends with the Feast of Christ the King. 

The Lectionary follows a Sunday and Weekday Cycle:

The Sunday Cycle is 3-yearly and denoted by the letters A, B and C. Each year follows through one of the Gospels: A-Matthew, B-Mark, C-Luke. The Gospel of John is proclaimed on particular Sundays in each of the years.

From Advent 2013 to the Feast of Christ the King 2014 (November 23rd), we use Year A. For 2015, we use Year B, 2016 is Year C, 2017 is Year A again, etc.

What week it is can be found on the front page of each week’s bulletin and also here:

Weekdays in Ordinary Time follow a 2 year cycle numbered I and II. Year I is read in odd number years: year II in even ones.


Q.: Is there a guide to pronoucing some of the words in the readings?

A.: Two useful resources that could be used as a guide to pronunciation of some of the more difficult words in the readings are:


1. (includes audio files to let you hear the word)






 (DRAFT) Reading at Sunday Mass in Magherafelt Parish


“When the Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself is speaking to his people,

and Christ, present in his own word, is proclaiming the gospel.

The readings of God’s word must therefore be listened to by all with reverence;

they make up a principal element of the liturgy…

…In the readings, the table of God’s word is laid for the faithful

and the riches of the Bible are opened to them.”


(General Instruction of the Roman Missal)




In the week before the reading

  • Check that you can be there to read – if not, contact another reader for cover
  • Check you have the right readings – see the previous week’s bulletin for details
  • Pray with them each day
  • Look for important phrases, places to pause, speech marks, etc.
  • Practice them out loud, in front of a mirror

Day of Reading

Before Mass

  • Arrive at the church in plenty of time
  • Go to the sacristy and check the readings and Prayer of the Faithful (where applicable)
  • Check with the sacristan / choir director to see if the psalm or Alleluia is being sung
  • Spend time in quiet prayer

During Mass

Once the Collect (Opening Prayer) is finished, walk towards the sanctuary, stand at the middle of the step facing the altar and bow (simple bow – from the neck)

Go to the ambo and adjust the mic, check the readings again

The First Reading

  • Remind yourself of the introduction: “A reading from…”
  • Look up and say the introduction: “A reading from…”
  • Begin to proclaim the Word of God
  • At the end of the last sentence, take a breath, look up and say ‘The Word of the Lord’.
  • Now wait…at most for 10 seconds…use this time to have a quick look at the psalm

The Psalm

  • Introduce the response by saying “Our response to the psalm is…” and then proclaim the response
  • Give the people the opportunity to repeat it back
  • Begin with the first verse of the psalm
  • At the end of the verse, look up – this will prompt the people to respond – join them in responding but with a much lower voice than you used for the verse – you want to join them in the response, not lead them
  • At the end of the last response, wait again for at most 10 seconds…use this time to have a look at the introduction to the second reading

The Second Reading

  • Look up and say the introduction: “A reading from…”
  • Begin to proclaim the Word of God
  • At the end of the last sentence, take a breath, look up and say ‘The Word of the Lord’
  • Now wait…at most for 10 seconds…use this time to have a quick look at Alleluia text
  • The Alleluia Acclamation and Gospel

    • Introduce the Gospel by saying “We rise to greet the Gospel…” and then proclaim the acclamation
    • After the last Alleluia, return to the front of the sanctuary, stand at the middle of the step facing the altar and bow
    • Return to your seat
    • Note: if the Book of the Gospels is being used at Mass, remove the lectionary from the ambo now and place it on the cruets’ table or seat

    If you have volunteered to lead the Prayer of the Faithful, please see below

    The Prayer of the Faithful

    • The celebrant will introduce the Prayer of the Faithful after the Creed
    • Walk towards the sanctuary, stand at the middle of the step facing the altar, bow and go to ambo
    • When he steps away, step forward and read the prayers
    • At the end of each prayer, just before you say ‘Lord, hear us’, pause to allow people to silently make their prayer here – give about 5 seconds – then say ‘Lord, hear us’
    • If there is a prayer for the dead, this is usually left for the priest to say
    • After the Prayer of the Faithful is concluded, return to the front of the sanctuary, stand at the middle of the step facing the altar and bow
    • Return to your seat



    A Reader’s Prayer

    Almighty God, be with me, your servant, as I proclaim your word to the assembly. May my proclamation of the scriptures help your word live anew among the gathering of the body of Christ. Open my heart to the wisdom of your Son, fix in my mind his sound teaching, that, without concern for the cost, I may work without ceasing for the coming of your kingdom. Grant this through Christ our Lord.



    Rota for Ministers of the Word

    Please find below current rotas for Ministers of the Word. If you cannot read at your Mass, please ask someone to swap with you. Contact details can be obtained from Anne in the Parish Office, if necessary.

     Ministers of the Word – St. Patrick’s, Castledawson 

    05/02/17 S. McKENNA 14/05/17 S. McKENNA
    12/02/17 D. McELWEE 21/05/17 SR. MARGARET
    19/02/17 S. KEENAN 28/05/17 S. KEENAN
    26/02/17 SR. MARGARET 04/06/17 D. McELWEE
    05/03/17 P. HANSON 11/06/17 P. HANSON
    12/03/17 A. BROWN 18/06/17 A. BROWN
    19/03/17 B. FOSTER 25/06/17 B. FOSTER
    26/03/17 S. McKENNA 02/07/17 S. McKENNA
    02/04/17 D. McELWEE 09/07/17 D. McELWEE
    09/04/17 S. KEENAN 16/07/17 S. KEENAN
    16/04/17 SR. MARGARET 23/07/17 SR. MARGARET
    23/04/17 P. HANSON 30/07/17 P. HANSON
    30/04/17 A. BROWN    
    07/05/17 B. FOSTER    


     Ministers of the Word – Our Lady of the Assumption, Magherafelt

    Date Saturday 6.15pm Sunday 10.30am Sunday 12.00 noon
    05/02/17 Bríd Corrigan Caroline McGarry Barry Ludlow
    12/02/17 Aodhan McGuckin Philomena O’Kane Eilish McKee
    19/02/17 Catriona Donoghue Francis Gallagher Ciara O’Kane
    26/02/17 Paula Deehan James O’Brien Andrew Treharne
    05/03/17 John McCormack Ciaran Purvis Noeleen O’Connor
    12/03/17 Pat Quinn Sr. Caitriona Liam McNally
    19/03/17 Una O’Kane Fiona Lynch Felicity Convery
    26/03/17 Fiona Young Tony White Caroline Trainor
    02/04/17 Mary McLaughlin Caroline McGarry Barry Ludlow
    09/04/17 Mary Ann Conlon Philomena O’Kane Eilish McKee
    16/04/17 Bríd Corrigan Francis Gallagher Ciara O’Kane
    23/04/17 Aodhan McGuckin James O’Brien Andrew Treharne
    30/04/17 Catriona Donoghue Ciaran Purvis Noeleen O’Connor
    07/05/17 Paula Deehan Sr. Caitriona Liam McNally
    14/05/17 John McCormack Fiona Lynch Felicity Convery
    21/05/17 Pat Quinn Tony White Caroline Trainor
    28/05/17 Una O’Kane Caroline McGarry Barry Ludlow
    04/06/17 Fiona Young Philomena O’Kane Eilish McKee
    11/06/17 Mary McLaughlin Francis Gallagher Ciara O’Kane
    18/06/17 Mary Ann Conlon James O’Brien Andrew Treharne
    25/06/17 Bríd Corrigan Sr. Caitriona Noeleen O’Connor
    02/07/17 Aodhan McGuckin Ciaran Purvis Liam McNally
    09/07/17 Catriona Donoghue Fiona Lynch Felicity Convery
    16/07/17 Paula Deehan Tony White Caroline Trainor
    23/07/17 John McCormack Caroline McGarry Barry Ludlow
    30/07/17 Pat Quinn Philomena O’Kane Eilish McKee