Be advised that it is the policy of this parish
that no one (except for those listed below) to enter the sacristy during
Mass. The only exception to this rule are the ushers who are placing the
collection in the vault, and priests, deacons and servers who have a
liturgical reason to go into the sacristy.
Ushers are to lock the vault immediately upon placing the collection in
it. The vault is to be opened by the Sacristan, only when another person
is present. The collection is to be taken to the office by two people
immediately after Mass.
Eucharistic Ministers to the homebound and hospitalized are to pick up
supplies between Masses.
Violations of the policy are to be reported to Fr. Charles or Nancy
Ushers as Ministers of Hospitality
Ushers are usually the first official representative of the church that
people meet when they arrive. The ushers' dress, attitude, words, demeanor, body
language all speak a message to the worshipper. As God's servants to his people,
ushers would take care that nothing interferes with the awesome character of
this encounter between God and his people at this time and place.
Ushers as Liturgical Ministers
Ushers are leaders. As such they reflect the devotion, reverence and joy of
encountering God in our worship service. Ushers should not be physically or
emotionally absent from worship. They must be mindful that they are there to
assist those who are preparing to worship God by creating a quiet and reverent
atmosphere within the church.
Ushers as Ministers of Evangelism
There are some who may be wary of coming to a church and it would take very
little to make this visit their last. If they feel genuinely welcomed and helped
by the usher, then the usher has assisted in bringing the Gospel to these
History of Ushers in the Catholic Church
The ministry of ushers is the oldest lay ministry in the Catholic Church. In
the Old Testament ushers were called "gatekeepers." Their ministry was so
important that they were given living quarters in the temple. According to 1
Chronicles 9, their duties included opening the temple every morning, providing
care and protection for all the precious vessels, preparing certain food items
used in ritual sacrifices, and guarding the temple. By the time of Christ, these
gatekeepers had become know as the "Temple Guard." They were ordered to arrest
Jesus, but according to John 7 they instead became interested in Jesus' message.
By the third century A.D., a clerical order known as "porters" (overseers of
the doors) was instituted. During those times, it was the duty of the porters,
or ushers, to guard the door of the church against any intruders who might
disturb the service. The porters' duties were so important that they came to be
included in the rite of ordination, where they were to ring the bells, open the
church, and to open the book for the pastor. In 1972, Pope Paul VI abolished the
order of porter and this important task was given over to the laity.
While today's ushers don't ring the bells or open the church, their primary
duties and responsibilities include greeting and welcoming parishioners as they
enter the church, helping them to find seats, taking up the collection and
wishing everyone a good day at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Celebration.
The Role of the usher at St. Peter's Catholic Church
The role of the usher at St. Peter's is one of offering a friendly, welcoming
presence to those coming to worship, of providing leadership during emergencies
and performing such tasks as taking up the collection, presenting the gifts,
assisting parishioners during Communion, disseminating the church bulletin and
participating in cleaning the church after completion of the Mass.