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Liturgical formation for readers and commentators

LIKAS (CS) – The Kota Kinabalu Archdiocesan Liturgy Commission organized the first-ever formation for readers and commentators 27 Oct 2018 at St Simon’s Catholic Church here.

The one-day formation program was attended by 195 participants from across the Archdiocese.

The formation began with a Mass, celebrated by Fr Cosmas Lee, head of the Commission, also parish priest of St Simon Church.

Fr Lee exhorted the participants to take the opportunity of this formation to renew their knowledge, skill and commitment to improve their serving at Mass.

The input sessions by Fr Lee began by looking at the Word of God as the absolute primacy, the very foundational and essential part of Christian faith. The reader does not merely read Scripture at Mass, rather he makes God present for the Word of God is God Himself.

The second part of the input helped participants to look at Scripture in the celebration of the Eucharist. The Church is when the assembly is gathered in faith to celebrate the events of salvation, the paschal mystery. It is here that the Word belongs and is owned, when the full power and its splendour comes forth.

Fr Lee emphasized the table of the Word and the table of the Eucharist, “the two parts which go to make up the Mass, are so closely connected that they form but one single act of worship” (SacrosanctumConcilium, no.56).

The participants were also led to see the structure and dynamics of the Liturgy of the Word where God is present to speak to His people, the people listen and respond in acceptance and faith.

Part three focused on the ministry of readers and commentators: role, function, duties, charism and vocation. A good reader and commentator must not only possess the gift, talent and skill of public reading and speaking, but more importantly is called by God for the service of the Church. They must also love the Word and Scripture and become life witness of commitment to the Word.

To this end, readers have the deepest respect and highest dignity of their ministry, because they are handling God in the same degree as the Extra-Ordinary Ministers handle God in the Holy Communion.

The Church must therefore have greater discernment in identifying and selecting candidates to this ministry, commission them and ensure on-going formation.

The last part of the input covered decorum and technical skills of public reading: dress, postures, movements, volume, use of public address system, speed and tempo of reading, pitch and tone, articulation, pronunciation, accentuation, stress, punctuation, phrasing, pauses, rhythm, and breathing.

After lunch, the final session was conducted in the church, animated by Fr Lee and Neil Mah, secretary of the Liturgy Commission.

Few chosen readers and commentators were asked to commentate as they would in a Sunday Mass and read from the Lectionary, after which the animators and participants had the opportunity to evaluate and critique based on the technical pointers given at the input earlier.

Here participants experienced at firsthand how a good reading and commentating should sound like, as well as touching on the  movements from the entrance procession of carrying the Book of the Gospel to approaching and leaving the ambo, the altar, and the proper use of the microphone with proper voice projection. – Neil Mah

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