Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lector faith-sharing and homily preparation process

One way to help lectors be more than just readers is to give them opportunities to practice their readings and share their faith and insight about God's word in their lives. In a couple of communities where I have worked, we used a faith-sharing process that gave the lectors and the homilist a chance to discuss the upcoming Sunday's readings in a prayerful and practical way. This did three things:

  • It gave the homilist additional ideas and insight into what real-live people in his parish were thinking about, worrying about, hoping for, and rejoicing in that particular week. The conversations during this process fed his creativity and also affirmed and challenged his thoughts for his homily.

  • It showed the lectors in a concrete way that their ministry was of utmost importance in helping the homilist communicate the message of God's word to the parish. They were affirmed and challenged because the homilist and the parish community expected them not only to proclaim the readings well but also to understand and live them by their faith.

  • It gave the lectors and the deacon or priest proclaiming the Gospel an opportunity to study their reading and practice it out loud with others.
This process takes about one hour and could include also the cantor or music ministers and other liturgical ministers scheduled for that week.

Feel free to copy the process below and distribute it for free to your liturgical ministers.

Process for faith-sharing with lectors
Copyright © 2006, Diana Macalintal

  1. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.

  2. Have one person read aloud the Gospel.

  3. Have another person read aloud the Gospel. As they read, underline words and phrases that strike you.

  4. Discuss with the group what struck you about the Gospel.

  5. Have one person read aloud the First Reading.

  6. Have another person read aloud the First Reading. As they read, underline words and phrases that strike you.

  7. Discuss with the group what struck you about the First Reading.

  8. Optional step: Do the same with the psalm response. (Check if the musicians will use the proper psalm or a seasonal psalm.)

  9. Discuss what is going on in the life of the community or in the world right now that needs to hear this Gospel-First Reading.

  10. Discuss what is going on in your own life that needs to hear this Gospel-First Reading.

  11. Discuss what was going on in the life of the communities that the Gospel-First Reading was originally trying to address.

  12. Discuss any other exegetical or liturgical background for the readings.

  13. Based on your discussions, discern the “message” that God’s word is trying to communicate to your community in this time and place. This will be the central message of the homily.

  14. Draw a box around a sentence in the Gospel and in the First Reading that communicates this message. This will be the most important phrase for each reading.

  15. Have one person read aloud the Second Reading.

  16. Have another person read aloud the Second Reading. As they read, underlining words and phrases that might complement the central message discerned from the Gospel-First Reading.

  17. Discern what might be the most important phrase in the Second Reading that complements that message. If there isn’t a clear connection to the Gospel-First Reading, find the most important phrase for the reading’s passage.

  18. Each lector practices out loud his or her reading, emphasizing the most important phrase that the group discerned. Give gentle feedback.

  19. Pray giving thanks for the Holy Spirit's guidance.

  20. Sing or speak the refrain of the Responsorial Psalm for the upcoming Sunday to end your prayer.