The lector assists at Mass by proclaiming the first and second scripture readings, and the Responsorial Psalm when not sung. Reading from the Word of God is central to the Catholic Liturgy, whether it be during Sunday or weekday Mass, during weddings, funerals or other occasions.
By prayerful preparation, studying the scriptural readings beforehand, the Lector can effectively communicate God’s grace and love to everyone in the church. Later in the Mass at the General Intercessions, the lector leads the congregation as together they present their needs and the needs of others to the Lord.
In the new General Instruction on the Roman Missal, we read:
The lector is instituted to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the gospel reading. He may also announce the intentions for the General Intercessions and, in the absence of the psalmist, sing or read the psalm between the readings. In the celebration of the Eucharist, the lector has specific duties which he alone ought to perform, even though ordained ministers may be present (99).
In the absence of an instituted lector, other lay people may be designated to proclaim the readings from the Sacred Scriptures. Such designated lectors must be truly qualified and carefully prepared for this office, so that the faithful will develop a warm and lively love for Sacred Scripture from listening to the reading from the sacred texts (101).