The retreat ended this morning. We left the retreat center and drove back to the church to attend Mass together. During the service, I served as a lector, reading in front of the entire congregation.
The lector reads two passages from the Bible, as well as intercession prayers, while standing at a lectern (called the ambo) and looking out at the crowd. I didn't have to do the entire job today; another woman did the first reading, and a deacon took care of the intercessions.
At this church, both lectors approach the altar at the same time, bow, then head towards the lectern. I sat off to the side during the first reading; it was my turn when the other lector came and sat beside me. As I approached the ambo, I realized I've read for classroom-sized groups before, but never for this many people, and never with a microphone!
Before I started, I picked out a few familiar faces to look at directly; this wasn't difficult because the women I had spent the weekend with were sitting right in front. I took a deep breath and started, trying to read slowly and sound confident. After I had finished we returned to our seats.
As we were leaving the church, one of my retreatant team members came up to me and told me I did a good job!