The Ministry of Ushers is the oldest lay ministry in the Catholic Church. The ushers of today have descended from a long and rich history, going back even to Biblical times, during which Jewish Temples were guarded by 'doorkeepers', they were the forerunners of today's ushers.
The more immediate predecessor of today's usher in the Catholic Church can be found in the clerical order of 'porters', instituted in the third century A.D. During those times, it was the duty of the porters to guard the door of the church against any intruders who might disturb the service, and more recently, to ring the church bells, open the book and the sacristy. In 1972, Pope Paul VI abolished the clerical order of porter and the role was handed over to the laity.
Today, the role of the usher is no longer one of protection, but of hospitality. They are the first to greet parishioners entering the church.
The Usher’s duties include:
- Welcoming everyone as they enter the church.
- Opening the door and assisting anyone who may need help to be seated.
- Be attentive to anyone with special needs, who may not be able to walk up and receive Holy Communion, and make sure the Priest, Deacon or Eucharistic Ministers are aware.
- Prepare the Gifts for the Gift Bearers, or be Gift Bearers as needed.
- Make sure all have received Communion; typically the Ushers are last (after the choir).
- Keep the doors to the Narthex closed to minimize noise, at the same time open the doors and assist anyone needing to exit or return during the service.
- Pick up the collections during the service, and afterwards ensure all collections are stored in the safe.
- Pass out bulletins after the service.
- Make sure the church is in order, secured and closed after Mass.
We welcome all members of the church to this Ministry. If you are interested, please contact Bettie Shelton, who prepares the monthly Lay Ministry schedules. Call the church office and Ruby or Susan will put you in touch with Bettie, also Bettie's number is listed on the Lay Ministry schedules in the Narthex.