St. Paul instructed the assembled community to “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, to the glory of God” (Romans 15:7) … The people are coming as invited guests of the Lord himself, to share in his supper as sisters and brothers.(Introduction to the Order of Mass, #23).
Hospitality is a vital element in creating a sense of community for worship. A person who feels welcomed and valued is much more likely to enter wholeheartedly into the celebration of the liturgy, giving thanks to God for the love that God pours out on us.” (Rev. Lawrence Mick)
The importance of hospitality is clear in the above quotations. In the spirit of the ongoing renewal that liturgy requires, we present the following Questions and Answers regarding the role of ushers.
Why is hospitality so important?
Christian hospitality is centered in Christ. It is an expression of reverence for the presence of Christ in each member of the assembly; it is rooted in the sacrament of baptism. True hospitality draws us together and opens us up to participate in the liturgy. An ancient Christian saying expresses it this way: “When a guest comes, Christ comes.”
What do ushers do before Mass?
They need to arrive well before other parishioners (20 minutes before Mass begins). They should make sure that the worship space is free of any clutter that may have been left from a previous service. They greet and welcome people at the door (paying particular attention to those who may be visiting or in need of special seating), hand out hymnals, and assist people in finding a place to sit.
During Mass, what is their role?
Ushers, like other liturgical ministers, are first and foremost members of the worshiping Assembly. As such, they should join in the act of worship in the same manner as the Assembly. Even while performing specific tasks, (e.g., taking up the offering), they remain united to the Assembly, singing and praying in an active way. Never should their role separate them from the rest of the Assembly. They are to be present and attentive during the entire liturgy.
During Mass, they assist in the seating of latecomers, take up the offering, help direct the communion procession if needed and deal with any disturbances that may occur. They should know the location of the rest rooms, the nearest phone, the first aid kit and fire extinguishers. They are also responsible for choosing the gift bearers.
And at the end of Mass?
Their role is to collect the hymnals/inserts, distribute the parish bulletin, do a general clean-up of the worship space, thank people for attending and invite them to return the following week.
Who may serve as an usher?
This ministry is open to all, women and men, who are truly able to welcome people to the community’s prayer. Because this ministry requires an understanding of the nature of liturgical prayer, the ability to relate to people of all ages, and the capability of responding well to sometimes challenging situations, a certain level of maturity is needed. However, being an usher is open to families and children often make very effective greeters.
How does one become an usher?
Old Saint Joseph’s Church welcomes and invites you to serve as an Usher during our beautiful liturgies. Training will be provided and scheduling is flexible; in return, we ask for a minimum commitment of at least one mass per month.
To sign up to serve in a ministry, please visit: http://www.rotundasoftware.com/ministry/OSJ?enroll=1