Guidelines for Ushers The Ministry of Hospitality

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1 The Ministry of Hospitality The usher does something that everyone else there does, too: welcoming and offering hospitality. Ushers are the community s way of being sure that this happens, being sure that the first face everyone sees at church is smiling, being sure that people sit together, being sure that strangers are welcomed and made to feel at home. Those are things everyone in the assembly has responsibility for, but the usher is one who is assigned specifically to this responsibility. It is the usher s ministry to greet people warmly, to introduce strangers, to help people sit together, to pass out song sheets, to care for any needs (if anyone gets sick, or other emergencies), to take up the collection, to help with good order at communion, to distribute bulletins in the course of saying goodbye to everyone, and to direct people to breakfast in Rosario Hall. What kind of person is suited to doing these things well? First, the woman or man who will make a good usher has a sense of liturgical prayer. If a person is deeply aware that this kind of prayer does not involve spectators watching while a priest says Mass, then that person has one of the necessary qualifications to be an usher. Such a person will not want to see people unwelcomed or scattered here and there in the room. And that person will not want to do anything other than entering into the assembly s prayer during the liturgy itself. Second, the person who will make a good usher has a gift for hospitality. Like the ability to read well aloud, or the ability to lead singing, this starts with something to build on. The person who will be a good usher is comfortable with welcoming the regulars and the strangers. From Liturgy With Style And Grace, Gabe Huck, Liturgy Training Publications, Before Mass: 1. It is very important for Captains and Ushers to arrive at least 20 minutes before Mass. Be sure to wear your name tag. 2. Get Usher cross from the Ushers' Room. Please use crosses for your ministry. 3. Make sure each station has the right number of baskets for your Mass. Place all baskets on the Usher s bancos. 4. Prepare bulletins in stacks at the distribution spots, but do not distribute them until after the final blessing at the end of Mass. 5. There are now 2 different baskets for the collection. The BLACK-LINED basket is for the first collection; the RED-LINED basket is for the second collection. Bring the baskets and collection bags to the gifts table. 6. Take the bread and wine, prepared by the Extraordinary Ministers in the sacristy, to the gifts table in the ambulatory under the crucifix. They will not be a part of the entrance procession. 7. Choose people to bring the gifts to the altar. Names will not be announced, so there is no need to write them down. Check with the Captain, if this is a special Mass, to see if people have already been selected to present the gifts. 1

2 Seating People 1. Ushers should be in several places around the church seating people before Mass. a. Seat people as far down the ramps as possible. Ask people to slide toward the center of the benches to make room. b. Ask people to place purses, coats, and other items under their seat to make more room. c. If possible, do not seat children in section E (by the choir); the children will be picked up on the microphones. However, if parents insist, allow them to sit there. d. Move chairs to make room for wheel chairs. e. For Masses in which there are fewer people, rope off sections A and G. 2. The main doors will be closed throughout the Mass. Once Mass has begun, latecomers will be asked to wait in the outer walkway. Several Ushers should remain to help the people wait quietly. If all the bancos along the walls have been filled, open the main doors and have people wait in the gathering space. Do not allow people to place chairs in front of the stairs or block the main doors. Do not allow people to sit on the steps. When the assembly is standing - seat people who are waiting. When the assembly is seated - Do not seat latecomers. 3. If there are elderly or people who do not have the ability to stand on their own, you may find a seat for them right away. If you cannot find an open seat, ask a healthy male to give up their seat. 4. Continue to seat people until the end of the Opening Prayer. 5. When the people sit down to hear the First Reading, ask the latecomer to wait in the walkway or at least the ambulatory. Do not continue to seat people when any reading, psalm, or homily is being proclaimed. The lectors have been instructed to wait, but that should be as short a time as possible. During Mass: Remember that you are very visible and set an example. Do not stand with your arms folded, carry on conversations on the bancos or, especially, at the top of the steps. When at all possible, be attentive to the Mass. You are a part of the assembly, so please participate and pray with us. 1. Latecomers are not to be seated until the end of the OPENING PRAYER. While people are seated during the Liturgy of the Word (the Readings), ask latecomers politely if they could please wait until the reading is over. Try not to allow people to seat themselves while people are listening to the readings or singing the Psalm. You may seat people again during the Gospel Acclamation, while the assembly is standing for the Alleluia. Do not seat people during the reading of the Gospel or the Homily. 2. Parents with crying babies should be invited to walk their children in the North or South hallways until they stop crying. They will still be able to hear the Mass from there. 3. The Collections should begin in each section after the presider is seated following the Prayer of the Faithful. Start the first collection (BLACK basket) in the first and third rows of each section and keep two baskets moving. If there is a second collection (RED basket), begin passing as soon as the first is 2

3 collected, if not sooner. (For smaller Masses, roping off Sections A and G will help speed up the process.) Sections A & G & E are smaller sections. When the Ushers in the smaller sections are done, they can help the larger sections. When Section A is finished - help Section B. E - help Section D. G - help Section F. The Head Usher can help Section C when the gift bearers are in place at Ramp As each Usher walks to the Head Usher, collect from the people seated along the back wall. 5. The Captain should get the people for the procession of the gifts as soon as the collection begins. They should go directly to the gift table in the ambulatory under the crucifix. 6. At 10:15 and 12:15 Masses: The presider comes forward to receive the gifts as the preparation of the altar is completed. As soon as the presider moves from the chair to the front of the altar the gift-bearers should come down the aisle, even though the collection is still taking place. The wine pitcher(s) should be in the hand of the person on the right as they proceed to the altar/table. When the collection is finished, one of the ushers will bring it forward to the presider, who will come around the altar to receive it. At all other Masses: As soon as the collection is finished the ushers should have the procession start down the ramp. Both collection baskets should precede the bread and wine, and be placed under the altar. The wine pitcher(s) should be in the hand of the person on the right as they proceed to the altar/table. 7. Communion Procession: Ushers will stand near the first row while the presider says, This is the Lamb of God with hand extended along with the assembly and the people respond with Lord, I am not worthy 8. When all Ministers of Communion are in place, ushers begin the Communion procession. Handicapped and elderly will receive Communion after the rest of the assembly. There is no extra line for the choir. They will either receive at the end of Communion, or go one at a time by entering one of the lines. 9. If the church is full, inform the people in the back that the ushers will call them forward. If the crowd is antsy, allow the people in the back to go first. This helps relieve the noise and movement of those in the back. A good time to do this is Ash Wednesday or Masses where we have people who don t come very often. 10. New restrooms and water fountains are available in the North hallway and down the hallway near the sacristy. 11. Do not hand out bulletins during Communion, after Communion, or during the announcements. Please wait until after the final blessing and dismissal. You can be prepared at each exit, but distributing them before that distracts from the prayer still in progress. At the end of Communion, all Ushers should be standing still in prayer along with the other members of the assembly. 3

4 After Mass: 1. If the church is full, clear a passage for the procession and try to prevent people from cutting in front of the procession. Only AFTER the closing song is finished, retrieve the collection baskets from the altar and take the money to the ushers room. 2. Place all money in the plastic collection bags. The Captain should fill out all information on the front of the bags. Use as many bags as needed. Place the money bags in the usher room safe after Mass. 3. Hand out the bulletin personally at each exit. Return all extra bulletins to the box in the Gathering Space. Please do not leave bulletins on the low wall around the church. 4. Check your section booklets back in racks, trash picked up, etc. Toilets should be checked for cleanliness and enough paper supplies. Thank you Ushers! The ministry you do: Welcomes the people. Sets the example. Helps everyone feel at ease. Affects the attention given to the Mass. Helps all Liturgical Ministers do their ministry. (In other words, you help everyone do their best! Thanks.) 4

5 EMERGENCY PROCEDURES FOR ILL OR INJURED PERSONS 1. THE USHER IN SECTION G WILL CALL 911. You will wait on the phone until the Head Usher brings information on the ill person. There is a list of what to say to the 911 operator by the phone in the Sacristy. Call no matter what the family or the person says about the situation. 2. The Head Usher will proceed to the ill or injured person and gather information: age, present health conditions, level of emergency, and any other information they think is important at the time. Either send someone or give the information to the usher on the phone with the 911 operator. Take control of the situation. Clear the row or area as needed. Check the congregation for any medically trained persons if necessary. 3. If an ambulance is called, one of the available Ushers not involved will wait outside to direct the ambulance to the entrance closest to the person. 4. Remember, do not do more than your level of training. Do not move the person if they are injured. You could be doing more damage if you do not do it right. The injured person has priority over all other things, including the Mass. CHURCH BUILDING EMERGENCY EVACUATION IF FOR ANY REASON THE CHURCH NEEDS TO BE EVACUATED: - The usher finding the emergency will remove their cross and wave it over their head. - The Usher Captain will inform the presider of the emergency and the need to evacuate the building. - All other ushers will open all doors. - The presider will announce the need to evacuate the building. - All ushers will help calmly direct people to the nearest exit. - The usher in section G should open the door by the east bathroom then call 911 from the phone in the sacristy. - Remember to stay calm. Your calm will prevent others panic. 5

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