I used to be one of the lectors at my local church. At the beginning of every new liturgical year, the church provided a “Workbook for Lectors and Gospel Readers,” published by Liturgy Training Publications (of Chicago), to help us prepare to proclaim the readings every Sunday.
Each week’s entry included the biblical reference and text of the first and second readings, as well as the Gospel. All three passages had notes in the margin advising the reader on how to proclaim certain lines, with reflections at the bottom of the page explaining the verses’ meaning.
For the 2002, 2003, and 2004 church years (A, B, and C), these books were written by Aelred R. Rosser. There was something about how Fr. Rosser explained the readings that appealed to me, more than the authors of other years, before or since.
For example, in his reflection on the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent, Matthew 24:37-44, he writes, in part: “Being ready for the Lord’s coming is a good way to live. It gives life purpose, meaning, impetus, force, and dignity. And it makes us good company for our fellow travelers along the way.”
A few years ago I decided to try to locate Fr. Rosser to thank him for his work, to let him know it still influences me, and if he could recommend other writings of his that I might obtain. I forget how, but I tracked down his email address and wrote to him.
Fr. Rosser was delighted to hear from a fan and gave me a web address where “you will find a few other works by me which still seem to attract an audience.” He explained he was now retired from active priestly ministry and “fully engaged in advocacy work for war-displaced Iraqi students.” He added that “Aelred R. Rosser” was his religious name.
Today he goes by “Robert L. Rosser, PhD”; he holds a doctorate in rhetoric, linguistics, and literature, in addition to degrees in philosophy, religion, and theology. We have exchanged emails twice more, and each time he has been gracious and enlightening.