Holy Week: Fr Cosmas gives practice session to readers
Contributed by Gerry Benjamin
IT is not often that we, Readers and Commentators of this parish, have an opportunity to meet as a group. However, at the initiative of our Rector Father Cosmas Lee and PPC member Cecilia Funk, we met not just to rehearse for Holy Week but also receive some formation on March 12 (Saturday).
After saying the opening prayer, Father Cosmas reminded us that readers, in the ministry of proclaiming the Word of God at Mass, is a most sacred ministry. He explained that The Word IS God; the God who speaks.
In the Old Testament, God spoke through the prophets but in the fullness of time God spoke most perfectly to us through Jesus, the Word made flesh.
The most eloquent and definitive Word spoken by Jesus was his Death and Resurrection, the paschal mystery which is celebrated at each Mass. Vatican II stressed on the one “Table of the Word and Eucharist”.
To read at Mass, to “handle” the Word which finds the fullness fulfillment in the Eucharist, readers must be constantly aware of the immense dignity and sacredness of their ministry.
He stressed that there is absolutely no place for casualness in our ministry and hence the need for us to prepare ourselves fittingly so that we will be able to handle the Word of God with reverence and with the fear of the Lord.
“We must tremble before the Word of God,” he asserted.
He also reminded us that it is a privilege to proclaim the Word of God in the liturgy of the Word which disposes and leads the community of faith, the Church assembled, towards communion with the saving mystery of the Lord’s Death and Resurrection in the liturgy of the Eucharist, the second part of the Mass.
Each one of us then read the readings assigned to us during Holy Week. Father then gave positive and practical suggestions on how to improve our pitch, pronunciation, phrasing, pace and our general demeanor as we proclaim the Word of God. We, lectors, found these suggestions most helpful.
Father concluded by cautioning us against performance in the ministry. “Remember”, he advised, “It is God who speaks to the people, not you, the lectors. When you proclaim the Word of God, your attention and the people’s attention must be brought to God”.