Ushers – Ministers of Hospitality
Because of its importance, the role of usher has had a long history in the Catholic Church. Referred to as porters in the Third Century, ushers used to guard the church doors against disruptive intruders. Today, ushers serve the opposite function by being the first to welcome parishioners and visitors to Mass.
Prior to Arrival
Ushers should dress appropriately. Guidelines can even vary by Mass, but erring on the side of formal as opposed to casual is generally encouraged. For example, at some Masses, men should wear a suit and tie, and women should wear a pantsuit or a long dress or skirt. But at others, casual attire might be more appropriate. Ushers should arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes early. Our ushers wear a name tag so you can recognize them.
Ushers greet and welcome Mass attendees at the church entrances. They serve as representatives of the church, and therefore their demeanor and body language should reflect its hospitality. They assist attendees as needed with finding a seat, paying particular attention to those with special needs. During crowded services, assisting with seating is especially important.
Ushers stay at the back of the church and participate fully in the service. When late-comers arrive, ushers help minimize disruptions by asking them to momentarily stand by during the readings and the priest's homily. Ushers are also responsible for passing around the collection baskets. During communion, they assist the eucharistic ministers by pointing out those who cannot proceed through the communion line and therefore need communion brought to them.
Once the Mass is over, ushers stand by the church doors to distribute the weekly bulletin. Ushers field any questions from visitors and help them find answers. They also straighten up all the pews. This task includes collecting trash, putting hymnals in their proper places, picking up articles left behind and raising kneelers.
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