- From catholicculture.org
The ambo is the pulpit from which the Sacred Scripture is read during the Liturgy of the Word and from which the sermon was traditionally preached. As its name implies, coming from the Greek for an “elevation,” the ambo is typically elevated above the main floor of the Church. This provided the benefit, in the days before modern sound systems and microphones, of allowing the lector or priest to project his voice farther into the church. In many older churches, you will find two ambos, one for the reading of the Epistle and one for the reading of the Gospel. Additionally, many churches, especially large cathedrals and basilicas, have the ambo away from the altar and more towards the middle of the church. The idea of fixed seating in a church is relatively recent. Prior to this, the congregation would stand and, at various times, move around the church itself during Mass. Thus, the ambo in the center of the church would serve as a focal point around which the congregation would gather during the readings and the priest’s homily.