SANDAKAN: Fr. Thomas Makajil, rector of St Mary's Cathedral conducted a two-hour input session for lectors at the Catechetical room on Tuesday, 7th August. The response was encouraging as about 50 lectors from the three-language group (English, BM and Chinese) attended the session. Fr. Tom as he is popularly known commended on their response to his invitation, in which their attendance alone reflected their eagerness in serving the Lord.
Fr. Tom engaged the participants throughout the session allowing them to contribute their thoughts and ideas about the subject in a very lively atmosphere. He started with a briefing on the various aspects of the Eucharistic celebration, emphasizing the role of readers or more appropriately known as lectors. The Church, he said, calls forth the many gifts, talents and the deeply rooted faith of the laity to work with the priest in liturgy. They play a key role in the very important part of the Mass, and the Church sees the work of the readers as a ministry and not just simply a job or function. They are called in a special way to serve the entire parish community. Their ministry is to be a key part of the central act of worship of the parish, by proclaiming the Word of God at Holy Mass.
Fr. Tom elaborated that it is not just about reading but as lectors are also witnesses of the Word of God and with the hope that when we proclaim God’s Word, it will bring renewal, transformation, reformation, inspiration, healing to the listeners. We become the channel of God, bringing salvation to others by what we proclaimed. He stressed that our role as the proclaimer of God’s Word has made us become the ambassador of the Word. He likened the role of a direct selling agent whereby they become ambassadors of the company and will do their very best in promoting their product. 'Your role,' he said 'is quite similar to them, only that we promote the Word of God effectively for the purpose of salvation of souls.'
Fr. Tom continued, before we become a reader, we must reflect on our self, firstly are we worthy to proclaim the Word of God and then he opened to the floor for discussion on what they thought constitute the qualities and virtues of a good lector. The discussion drew much laughter from the attendees when he said as a presiding priest, he noticed the nervousness of the lectors when they were at the lectern. He advised that in order to overcome the nervousness, we must be well prepared through practice! Practice and practice. When touching on the proper attire in accordance with GRIM, he informed them, that a standardized robe / cassock is already being prepared by the PPC and will be implemented soon.
On his closing note, Fr. Tom encouraged that more parishioners who are blessed with the many gifts and talents to come forward to serve God through the many ministries in the Cathedral. He ended the session at 9.30 pm with a Closing Prayer.