WDTPRS POLL: Your Mass preparation and follow up during the week

I am curious about your preparation for Holy Mass or Divine Liturgy on Sundays and Holy Days or Feasts.  This applies to both forms of the Roman Rite and other Rites as well.

Please choose the best answer and, if you care to, add a comment, below.

For Sundays and Holy Days...

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Our Catholic Identity, POLLS, The Drill and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. M. K. says:

    I belong to a Byzantine (Ruthenian) parish and regularly serve at the altar on Sundays and major feast days. Since I’m usually busy during the liturgy with tasks associated with serving, it’s often hard for me to focus on the readings in an undistracted way. To try to make up for this, I try to make time during the preceding week to read the Gospel and Epistle and proper liturgical texts (e.g. the proper troparion for the day) and to bring them to prayer. Perhaps others who serve (in whichever Rite) may have found this practice helpful also.

  2. I usually read the propers, Epistle and Gospel before practicing the chants. (I sing in the schola.)

  3. contrarian says:

    This is an interesting question to poll people on.
    My dad is a Lutheran minister who uses the same reading schedule, and so we usually chat on Sunday afternoons about what I heard in the homily and what he preached on using the same text. Always interesting to compare and contrast.

  4. cwillia1 says:

    The Byzantine lectionary has a one year cycle so all of the texts are familiar. It seems to be unnecessary to read them in advance. Sometimes I think about them during the subsequent week. The proper hymns give the church’s interpretation of these texts. Often I will meditate on the stichera and other proper hymns from vespers since vespers is not served in our parish. Really, the divine liturgy is not some kind of Bible study. The epistle and the gospel are not homework assignments. They are best listened to and interpreted in a liturgical setting.

  5. weneleh says:

    My parish has exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every Friday. I use part of my hour to go over the readings for the upcoming Sunday.

  6. ReginaMarie says:

    We also belong to a Byzantine (Ruthenian) parish & try to read over the Epistle & Gospel with the children either the night before or the morning of the Divine Liturgy. We have an excellent book, Byzantine Catholic Prayer for the Home, that we also try to use — in it are the Feast Days of each day of the Liturgical Year. It includes the Troparia, Kontakion & Stichera for each Feast Day. I wouldn’t say that, in going over the readings in advance, we are trying to interpret them. Rather, we try to get the children (really, all of us) to think about the readings ahead of time in preparation for hearing Father’s sermon. Since our parish generally only celebrates the Divine Liturgy during the week on Feast Days (our priest resides in a neighboring state at a monastery where is also the chaplain for an order of Sisters), reading the daily Epistle & Gospel readings at home is an excellent way to familiarize oneself with Holy Scripture.

  7. JaneC says:

    When I was in charge of a choir, I read all the readings and propers in advance, to learn the music and choose an appropriate motet. But now that I no longer have those responsibilities, I usually don’t read the Sunday readings in advance. I did, however, recently download an app for my iPod that gives the daily readings, so maybe that will help me remember to look at the daily readings more often.

  8. fieldsparrow says:

    I read the readings in advance and after the homily for reflection, at least for Sundays. Most weekdays I read in advance and occasionally again afterwards. The Sunday reading is a habit now, from RCIA, and even (especially?) having grown up a sola scriptura Baptist, I find something new every time because of the way the readings are chosen and related to each other. I also get Magnificat magazine, which really helps since they’re all handily in one place.

  9. Maxiemom says:

    I used to be more prepared for mass when I was a lector. But when our pastor took over almost three years ago when my former parish merged with the other parish in town, I resigned from being a lector as it became obvious that the pastor and I were not going to get along.

  10. FrJGordon says:

    As I lead a Bible Study every week based on the Sunday readings, I find it an ideal opportunity to study as part of the preparation for Mass. The parishioners who attend the Bible Study all claim it has enhanced their attention and worship at Sunday Mass. Almost all of them do some preparation even before the Bible Study which is on Thursday evenings. BTW – many thanks for all you do to encourage worship in spirit and in truth.

  11. bootstrap says:

    I usually read them before and have used them in my CCD class for the upcoming week as a stat for discussion.

  12. When I was a kid, I was a lot more prepared, because I usually read a good chunk of the whole Missalette while I was waiting for Mass to start, or while Father read his homily. These days I don’t get as much chance to read the Mass readings at Mass, because the choir edition of the hymnal only includes songs and musical settings. I do try to read them at some point during the week (especially if I’m supposed to cantor and be psalmist — though often I end up having to sing a seasonal psalm instead, which kinda takes the point away).

  13. tioedong says:

    alas, all I do is get some coffee for my husband, get my husband out of bed, try to eat something so I don’t faint in church, and try to find if we have a ride or have to find transportation.
    And it was worse when I still had kids.
    Luckily we figure Mary understands.
    I might get around to reading the readings when it comes up in the evening (we are 12 hours ahead of the US so my “daily gospel” email usually arrives in the evening).

  14. sheilal says:

    I read the readings for the day in the Catholic Bible in a Year Bible that I have. I sometimes read the Mass readings, but not on a regular basis. I do feel it is important to read scripture every day.

  15. Henry Edwards says:

    Not many Catholics today can understand the propers and readings at a TLM without reviewing the Latin originals and English translations in their missals in advance. And one can hardly appreciate the way the Gregorian chants of the introit and gradual (for instance) linger lovingly over the meaning if the Latin words themselves are not understood.

    As for the ordinary form, since the beginning of Lent I have been studying daily the original Latin and new corrected translations of the three proper prayers–collect, prayer over the offerings, and post communion. Whereas most people have never found their lame-duck ICEL translations worth listening to, I suspect some or many will find their new translations so meaty as to be worth not only listening to but reading before, during, and/or after Mass.

  16. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    I voted for before, but not later…

    I normally try to show up to Mass about 15 minutes early, and will generally do a quick read through of the readings, just so I know what is being read, maybe look for what the general theme of the day is. I don’t do any intensive study before, but even just the quick skim makes them easier to be attentive to when read during Mass.

  17. Liz says:

    I get all of the kids ready in their Sunday best and I’m quite proud that I have remembered them all once we get there. Oh, okay sometimes I scan the texts during mass, but I can’t remember anything a moment or so later.

  18. cuaguy says:

    During the school year, I read them before and discuss them with a group of my peers weekly. However, as the group doesn’t meet during the summer months, nor when school is not in session during the year, I usually don’t get to them unless I am feeling ambitious…

  19. M. K. says:


    The Byzantine lectionary has a one year cycle so all of the texts are familiar. It seems to be unnecessary to read them in advance. . . . Really, the divine liturgy is not some kind of Bible study. The epistle and the gospel are not homework assignments. They are best listened to and interpreted in a liturgical setting.

    Who said anything about necessity, or even about study? Even though I’m familiar with the texts, I still find it spiritually beneficial to privately reflect on them ahead of time – I don’t do this as a kind of homework; I do it because it’s something I like to do. I’ll agree that the liturgical setting is primary and essential, but I don’t take that to mean that one can’t reflect on these texts before one goes to church.

  20. APX says:

    I normally try to show up to Mass about 15 minutes early, and will generally do a quick read through of the readings, just so I know what is being read, maybe look for what the general theme of the day is. I don’t do any intensive study before, but even just the quick skim makes them easier to be attentive to when read during Mass.

    That’s what I do when attending a TLM, but the OF I just show up and try to pay attention.

  21. The trouble is, the answer depends on whether it’s the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form. For the O.F., I usually just pay attention during Mass. For the E.F., I read the propers ahead of time.

  22. Prof. Basto says:

    I read the texts before Mass.

    If attending the OF, I use no hand Missal, but, in the Archdiocese where I live, there is a standard four page leaflet that is distributed to all parishes and chapels, and it contains the main prayers for the Mass, including the propers (but with some disturbing features, such as the hymn that they reccomend to replace the actual introit — usually there is no mention of the introit as found in the actual Roman Missal, and the “responsorial psalm” that they recommend as a replacement to the Gradual; the hymn that they reccomend to be sung during the offertory is also there, although sometimes it is changed at the local parish, etc). So, although this leaflet is not the same thing as the Missal, I use it because it contains the readings and the text of the collect, prayer over the gifts and postcommunion.

    However, when attending the EF, then I use a hand Missal, since there are no leaflets. Given that I usually arrive for Mass half an hour in advance, after a moment of prayer I sit and go through the Missal, checking if the correct pages are marked and I also use this opportunity to go through the readings and other propers. both in Latin and in the side-by-side Portuguese translation.

  23. EWTN Rocks says:

    Similar to what others have said, I generally arrive early and review the readings and Gospel before Mass, and pay attention during the homily. Following Mass my brother and I discuss “take-away” messages and how they can be applied. We are fortunate that our parish priests do an excellent job threading together the readings and Gospel, and discussing them in a meaningful and relevant way.

  24. cwillia1 says:


    Christ is risen! I do not mean to imply that anything is wrong with reading the epistle and gospel before or after divine liturgy. This is a fine practice. I am just saying that this is not necessarily something one should feel obliged to do. The primary preparation for the divine liturgy is to confess our sins, to pray, to fast, and to be reconciled to each other. If it comes to a choice, it is better to attend vespers than to study the Sunday readings. Knowledge of the scriptures is a wonderful thing so long as we listen to the scriptures with the mind of the Church. The liturgy is the mind and heart of the church in song.

  25. AM says:

    I read the texts and sing the chants.

  26. heway says:

    As the cantor in our mission church, it is necesssary to prepare oneself, just as the lector does.
    We have the OF Mass, and I do not have to hold a book or missalette in order to understand what is being said. On Sundays we say the rosary 1/2 hour before Mass. During the week(if we are fortunate enough to have a Mass), we have the Liturgy of the Hours before Mass and the rosary after Mass. Our priest has a 60 mile trip to our church and NM winters can be ferocious!

  27. DIgoe says:

    I usually try to do some lectio divina on the readings, but that doesn’t always happen. That’s about all I do, but it definitely helps me when they are actually being read during Mass when I actually remember to do it. Other than that, I don’t do much in terms of being acquainted with the collects etc.

  28. Mrs. Bear says:

    I have a Magnificat so I have a chance to go through the readings well in advance – being in a choir helps too as we are always checking out themes and what new music we could be singing – but that is more work not really Lectio Divina.

  29. BrEdmund says:

    I make the readings daily, before and after mass, every day. In my community, we have Lectio Divina with the liturgical readings twice a week. I even help witn readings on Sunday mass. I am a Religious Brother in Latin America.

  30. Geoffrey says:

    If I attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form, I will review the proper texts prior to Mass in English, that way I can follow along in Latin. At Mass in the Ordinary Form, I try to review the readings just beforehand at least. Before a “heavy” liturgy like the Triduum, I try to review the beautiful liturgical texts that are used but once a year (the Exsultet, for example).

    I pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily as a layman, so that usually keeps me pretty busy. It is a good way to stay “connected” to the liturgy, especially with the new corresponding antiphons at the Gospel Canticles for the 3-year cycle.

  31. I don’t, but I should. I never really thought much about it… thanks for the idea!

  32. benedetta says:

    At one time I would look through the readings for a week ahead or more with Magnificat. Lately I just listen, on the day of. Occasionally I go back over after hearing. Occasionally with a specific date in mind I look up the readings for that day ahead of time.

    By the way there is a very nice app from Magnificat. You can download month by month.

  33. St. Louis IX says:

    My Family and I pray 5 decades of the Rosary before Mass. I read the readings before Mass. Often after Mass we with several other families discuss the homily along with other Religious (Catholic) themes. Our wonderful Priest will often join us, and add great insight and direction to lead our souls toward Heaven.

  34. irishgirl says:

    I keep my Missal (St. Andrew’s Daily) on the front seat of my car, and I look over and read aloud to myself the readings on the very Sunday that I will hear them. Then when I hear them read by the priest at Mass, I keep my eyes on the Latin text side of the page.

  35. Centristian says:

    When I attended Mass in Latin years ago, I began not reading anything, then I read the propers from my personal missal as they were read or chanted during Mass. I eventually grew tired of using the missal, however, as I was missing the liturgical actions by burying myself in it. I then began to read the propers after Mass, as my thanksgiving.

    Today, on account of the fact that I attend the Ordinary Form of Mass in English, there is no need for me to review the texts before or after. I simply pay attention during Mass.

  36. Dave N. says:

    An interesting poll. For me, to show up to Mass without having studied the readings is like going to class without having done the homework. You can/should still do it, but the experience will be diminished.

  37. Jenice says:

    I sing in the choir, so become familiar with some of the readings as we rehearse for Mass. I also prepare for Mass by praying the rosary in Church before the Mass starts. And sometimes I re-read the readings at home after Mass if something really caught my attention and I wanted to think about it some more.

  38. Revixit says:

    I don’t think this option has been mentioned, but I always read along during Mass, even if I’ve read the readings before Mass. I think many visual learners do so. Auditory learners only need to hear something but visual learners need to see things, to read texts themselves. It doesn’t matter how good the reader is, my comprehension is better if I read the text myself. We had a seminarian years ago who preached against the practice of following along with the readings. He thought that everyone should only listen to the Word of God. Seminaries ought to pick up some information from education courses, particularly about learning styles, and pass it along to their students. Teachers are required to plan their lesson to address all learning modalities: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and priests should at least realize that people in the pews have different learning styles.

    Now that I think of it, I know I could follow and recall a homily better if I took notes on it to read through later but I’m sure that would displease most priests. It’s a bit strange that we are expected to take notes in classes and meetings but taking them in church would be viewed as shocking. Is a homily less important than a class or meeting?

Comments are closed.