Ministry of Ushers
GUIDELINES FOR MINISTERS OF HOSPITALITY
People experience the presence of Jesus Christ in the world through the ministry of the church.
The first task of the parish community is to reach out to all people in
Christian love and service. Christian hospitality draws people together, opens
them to participation, and sets the tone for the liturgy. Every Christian is
called to ministry and gifted by the Holy Spirit. This calling is rooted in our
baptism. By means of our initiation into the Church and strengthened by grace,
God empowers each person with the resources for ministry.
The minister of hospitality is equipped for this ministry by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These
gifts make that ministry effective and enable the minister to build up the Body
of Christ. In their welcome and Christ-like attitude, ministers of hospitality
ensure that the faithful see and experience the love of Christ.
The ministry of hospitality is crucial because it is so visible in the Church. Certainly the
attitude, conduct and even the appearance of the minister of hospitality
directly affects, either positively or negatively, the experience of the
faithful at Mass.
Conscious of this vital ministry and its significance for the faithful, some parishes have created
a separate ministry of greeters to help create a sense of welcome and
hospitality. Others have broadened the role of usher to include all the services
Those who desire to serve as minister of hospitality should be active and faithful members of the
Church. They should be of godly character and reputation. Respect for others,
discretion and appropriate decorum are the hallmarks of a minister of
hospitality. Above all, ministers should be noted for their care to the
assembly. These qualities are found in a mature Christian – qualities that
transcend chronological age.
Furthermore, the minister should be comfortable meeting and greeting others. They must always
extend a sense of welcome to others and make them feel at home. Such qualities
are a blessing, especially to the stranger in our midst.
Minister of Hospitality s used broadly to
include those men and women who serve their parishes in the
liturgical ministries of Usher or Greeter.
Although men have traditionally filled the role of “usher” in most parishes, women
(as well as teenagers and children) are
invited to serve as ministers of hospitality. As St. Paul reminds us: For
all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is
not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal.
3:27-28). Indeed, variety in and
among the members of this ministry better represents the diverse nature of our
The proper place
for seating of ministers of hospitality is within the assembly. Always attentive
to the needs of the faithful, they should sit in those places that would enable
them to best exercise their ministerial role, i.e., near the doors, throughout
the church, etc.
PROCEDURES BEFORE THE LITURGY
Greet and welcome the faithful as they gather for worship. Ministers of hospitality
should be at each of the entrances of the church. They should avoid congregating
in only one area of the church, as well as speaking with their fellow ministers
to the exclusion of those who are gathering for the liturgy.
Assist with the seating of the assembly before the liturgy begins.
PROCEDURES DURING THE LITURGY
Ministers of hospitality are part of the worshipping community. As such, they are to
participate fully in the music, responses, and prayers of the liturgy. At times,
however, the special duties of the minister may limit his or her ability to
participate. Yet, every effort should be made by the ministers of hospitality to
be models of participation in the worship of the Church.
During the liturgy, ministers of hospitality should assist with the following:
- The seating of latecomers with as much haste and as little disturbance as possible,
- at the conclusion of the Opening Prayer or at the conclusion of the First Reading or
- Collect the offerings of the people. Both the faithful and the offerings are to be
treated with utmost dignity and reverence. The faithful should be given adequate
time to deposit their gifts during the collection.
- Appoint and assist those who will be taking up the gifts in the procession for the
Preparation of the Gifts.
- Direct the communion procession in an orderly manner.
- >Be aware of the placement of first aid supplies and an emergency telephone if the
need should arise.
PROCEDURES FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION OF THE LITURGY
Ministers of hospitality should distribute the parish bulletins and any other pertinent
materials at the conclusion of the liturgy. They should also be available to
assist those with special needs. Finally, they can assist in preparing the
worship space for the next liturgy, making sure it is well organized and
TRAINING AND INSTALLATION
Many parishes have found that it is desirable to commission ministers of hospitality for a
specified period of time. This allows the ministers to evaluate their service
and determine if they wish to continue to participate in this ministry or
perhaps change to another ministry at the end of their term. As with all
liturgical ministries, it is best for the individual and parish if a person
serves in only one ministry at any given time.
Individual parishes should develop periodic training sessions to assist and reacquaint
ministers of hospitality with all aspects of their service. Having appropriate
knowledge and training will help ministers to function effectively and bring
confidence and joy to their experience. It is most appropriate that ministers of
hospitality be commissioned for their role in accord with the rite found in the Book
of Blessings, chapter 62, an “Order for the Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians and Ushers.”
Guide for Ushers and Greeters, Lawrence
E. Mick (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1997).
Liturgical Ministry: A Practical Guide to Spirituality,
Donna M. Cole (San Jose: Resource Publications, Inc, 1996).
The Ministry of Hospitality, James A. Comiskey (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1985).