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Ministers of the Word


 “…Still happier those who hear the Word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28)

Since 1971 our parish has been served by dedicated Readers who proclaim the Word of God on Sundays and Holy Days in St. Mary’s and Ladychapel, and   also at the Weekday Masses in St. Mary’s.  Readers are organised on a Team basis, with two Readers rostered for each Sunday Mass.  You may choose which Mass time suits you best and opt to be on the team for that Mass.  Rotas run for an 8-week period and issue in advance, by email.  If a reader is unable to read at the Mass rostered for them, they arrange a swop with another reader.

The commitment required from a Reader is:

  • To prayerfully prepare the readings
  • To be available to read at least once a month

If you would like more information, please contact:

Betty Wilson (Co-ordinator) at 086-3923577;  bettywilson115@gmail.com or Martina in the Parish Office at (01) 6293018

See our Poster here


“Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations….He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church…”

(cf  Sacrosanctum Concilium Art. 7)

As a parish community we are fortunate in having a dedicated group of Readers for the Sunday Masses and also for the Weekday Masses.  Their commitment is deeply appreciated as, week after week, we are nourished at the Table of the Word.

New Readers are always welcome.  If you feel you would like to serve the parish community in the proclamation of the Word of God, please contact:  Una Phillips (Co-ordinator) at una.phillips@gmail.comor Martina in the Parish Office at 6293018.

A history of the  Ministers of the Word

1971 – 2002 (compiled by Marie Kelly)

In February, 1971 Fr. Fergus O’Higgins P.P. met with Mary Cullen, Marie Kelly and Ita McCormack with the intention of forming a Readers’ Group. The response from Parishioners was very positive, especially from the local Post-Primary School. Those first Readers were: Bridie Brady, Mary Cullen, Major Simon Emmett, Marie Kelly, Ted Kelly, Ita McCormack and Rita O’Reilly. The junior members were: Betty Begley, Marian Brennan, Niall Fagan, Ann Kelly, Peter Kelly, Eugene O’Reilly and Martina Tyrell.

On Palm Sunday 1971, The Passion Gospel was narrated by Fr. O’Higgins, Rita O’Reilly and Marie Kelly, all using the one and only microphone in the Church. Within a short time the number of Readers had increased to about thirty. Unfortunately, training for Readers was not available then. Thanks to Fr. Gerry Maguire, Chaplain to the Post-Primary School who helped Readers to improve their use of the microphone.

Bridie Brady and Marie Kelly did a ten week course for two hours every Saturday morning in the Institute of Adult Education, Eccles St. under the guidance of Elsie Harden. She was a wonderful lady, training readers with breathing exercises, tongue-twisters etc. for the purpose of improving voice production. On the final day of training, all Readers had to meet her in the Church of our Lady of Victories, Glasnevin, where they had to do their readings without a microphone, while she took up position at the back of the Church! Later, Marie and Bridie shared the benefits of their training with the Maynooth Readers. They also passed around Elsie’s tape “Reading in Church” and recommended to Readers that they get a copy of Vincent McLaughlin’s books on “Sunday Readings”.

The late Fr. David Boylan arranged for Readers to attend a Liturgical day in Carlow College but Readers were disappointed that there was no opportunity to practise reading or to get professional help. They chose three people from the group, one of whom was Peter Nevin, to read or sing at the Mass and gave them training while the rest of the group observed.

When Fr. John Sinnott arrived as curate, he was very anxious that all Readers would have training for effective use of the microphone, which he undertook to do with the group. Sadly, a large number of Readers did not attend. He later arranged for Fr. John McCullough to continue this training with Readers in the Church. Readers found this very helpful.

When Msgr. Alex Stenson arrived as Parish Priest, it was decided that two Readers be assigned to each Mass. Prior to this, one Reader had done both Sunday Readings. The size of the Readers’ Group had increased to around fifty-two by now. With six masses each weekend twelve Readers were now required each Sunday and as the rota was drawn up over a six week basis seventy-two Readers in all were required.

In 2001 and 2002, the Parish Discussion/ On-going Education Group arranged two Theology courses in Colaiste Chiarain, Leixlip. Readers were encouraged to attend these courses, both of which were excellent. One of the teachers at those courses, Fr. Brendan McConvery was later invited to give the Maynooth Readers’ Group a training course in June 2001 in the Straffan Lodge Hotel. An excellent session.

To bring the Readers together on a social level, Paula Flynn and Fionnuala Conway arranged a trip to the Chester Beatty Library, followed by lunch there. A very enjoyable outing.

In October 2001, Clonliffe College offered a Day Course for Readers and Eucharistic Ministers. Three Readers attended and what a wonderful session we had with Fr. Seamus O’Connell. Fr. Seamus was later invited to give a training day for Readers in the Straffan Lodge Hotel in June 2002. We had another wonderful morning with him.

2002 – present (compiled by Helen English)

At the Readers A.G.M. in Sept. 2002 a presentation was made to Marie Kelly to acknowledge her dedicated service to the Parish as Coordinator for Readers for thirty-one years. Helen English took up the baton as her successor and Therese Keane was asked to be her assistant.

Fr. Seamus O’Connell gave a most informative talk on the theme of “How to approach Old Testament readings”. He stressed the importance of careful, prayerful preparation of the readings.

Over three nights in October 2002, the Readers were taken in small groups to practice the technical skills of effectively proclaiming the Word. These training sessions were facilitated by Fr. John Wall. Readers found the individual practice and feedback most helpful.

In March 2003 Fr. Martin Hogan was invited to be the guest speaker at our annual Scripture morning. The theme was “The Passion Narratives of St. Mark and St. John.” By comparing and contrasting both Passion Narratives, Fr. Martin opened up some of their rich depths.

The A.G.M in September 2003 focussed on the four aspects of the proper preparation of Readers: spiritual, biblical, liturgical and technical. Targets and training projects for the year ahead were also identified.

In November 2003 Fr. Ben Moran gave a wonderful talk to the Readers on Lectio Divina. He explained the three key moments: Lectio, Meditatio,Contemplatio and showed how this way of praying, using the Scriptures, can enable us to “live continually in the presence of God at work in the World”. Later in the morning Readers were given an opportunity to pray with a passage of Scripture using the method of Lectio Divina.

In February 2004 the Coordinators for Readers in the Dublin Diocese were invited to the launch of the Dublin Diocesan Liturgy Commission’s booklet: “Proclaiming the Word – a guide for Ministers of the Word”. Fr. Brendan McConvery also gave a very meaningful talk on the Old Testament Readings for the Sundays of Lent. Copies of the booklet and Fr. Brendan’s notes were later distributed to all Readers in the Parish.

A month later, in March 2004 we were delighted to welcome back Fr. Brendan McConvery to be the guest speaker at our annual Scripture morning. The theme was “The Book of Revelation” and we are indebted to Fr. Brendan for a wonderful seminar on what, for many Readers, is a difficult and disturbing book of Scripture. He shed light on the historical background of the book and its fascinating system of symbols. Later, Readers were allowed to explore in a meaningful way some of the Readings from the Book of Revelation, which were to be read at Mass in the following weeks.

Our A.G.M. was held in September 2004, which reviewed the past year and planned for the year ahead. In addition, Readers spent time reflecting on St. Luke’s Road to Emmaus story and Fr. Alex went on to explain how this story captures all the key aspects of our liturgical worship. He also gave a helpful presentation on the Structure of the Mass.

In November 2004 we were very pleased to welcome Martin Drennan, Auxillary Bishop of Dublin to be the guest speaker at our Scripture Seminar. The theme was  “Liturgical and Scriptural aspects of Advent”. We listened with rapt attention to a fascinating talk on Advent as a time of active waiting on God and a helpful commentary on the beautiful Readings of Advent.

In March 2005, we had a prayerful “Evening of Reflection” with Fr. Tom Norris. He spoke to us about the many presences of Jesus in our Eucharistic celebration. He stressed the link between Liturgy and living and urged us to intensify our carrying of the Word in the world.

The commissioning of all new Readers and the re-commissioning of all other Readers for a period of three years was carried out by Msgr. Alex Stenson over four Sundays between October 2004 and April 2005. Readers responded with great enthusiasm to the commissioning ceremonies and Parishioners were given an opportunity to pray for all of them to continue to be bold proclaimers of the Word.

In May 2005, the Readers’ Group, along with all other groups actively involved in Parish ministry, was invited to gather for a review and planning meeting in advance of the special “Getting to know each other” day with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in the Straffan Court Hotel on Saturday, 28th May 2005. The Readers’ special meeting took place on 18th May in the Parochial House. It was a very useful meeting where Readers were given a chance to speak about how they found their involvement as Readers. Some challenges and difficulties were raised and it was agreed that some mechanism would shortly be put in place to allow for ongoing assessment/evaluation of all readers for the purposes of identifying problems of rapidity, unintelligibility, inaudibility etc. The group was also invited to present visually on a display board its past history and achievements for the “Getting to know each other” seminar on 28th May.

This history was compiled by Helen English, May 2005.

Helen English adds: My three year term of office as Coordinator for Readers is shortly coming to an end. I would especially like to thank Fr. Alex for the wonderful support he has given to us since his arrival in the Parish. He has consistently urged us to deepen our involvement in this ministry and to this end has arranged for numerous training seminars as part of our on-going formation. We have been so fortunate to have had so many gifted and inspiring speakers at the Readers’ seminars, all of whom are experts in their respective fields. Once again, we extend our sincere thanks to him.

List Of Ministers The list of ministers is distributed for each rota to the individuals within the Ministers of the Word.

News & Recent Information We have no news at present to mention.