Ministers of Hospitality (Greeters / Ushers)
St. Columbkille is always looking to recruit and train new Ministers of Hospitality. If you are interested in this opportunity to serve our parish in this very special manner, then please contact Fr. Chris at 617-782-5774 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read below for a full explanation of what your role and responsibilities would be. Fr. Chris is willing to review these details with you and ensure that you are properly trained.
Step-by-step Details for Ministers of Hospitality
Before Mass you will serve as both a greeter and an usher. As a greeter, your main task is to offer a warm and friendly welcome to those who are entering the church for Mass. To each person say, “Hello, Welcome to St. Columbkille.” Be sure to smile. All too often Mass is considered to be (and often seems to be) an overly penitential, drab affair. The mere fact that the title of Pope Francis’s first encyclical is Evangelii Gaudium – in English, “The Joy of the Gospel” – suggests that a tone-change is necessary and long overdo. If there is a printed program (as there is each week at the 11:15 AM Mass), then as you greet people also hand to them a program. As an usher, be prepared to tell and/or show people where the bathroom is located. For all Masses, the public bathroom is located off the room to the right of the downstairs church. During this time, a person may also request assistance using the elevator.
No more than 3 minutes before the procession, consult with the priest about whether gift-bearers and gift-collectors have been assigned. During each Mass, there should be a total of 2-3 gift-bearers and 4 gift-collectors; note that ushers may also serve as gift-collectors (without prejudice to steps 4 & 5).
If an adequate number of gift bearers and gift collectors has been assigned and are present, then take note of who they are and where they are sitting in the event you should need to summon them during the Offertory.
If an adequate number of either gift bearers and/or gift collectors has not been assigned and are therefore not present, then, after consulting with the priest, emcee, and/or other ministers of hospitality, select from the congregation an appropriate number of people to serve in these capacities. Again, at each Mass, there should be 2-3 gift-bearers & 4 gift-collectors (including ushers). Go to the people whom you have selected to serve in these capacities, and ask them if they would be willing to serve. If they are willing, and if they have never served as either a gift-bearer and/or gift- collector, then explain to them the function of each; gift-bearers during the Offertory are to retrieve the unconsecrated wine and bread from off the gift table and bring these to the priest whereas gift- collectors during the Offertory are to retrieve, using the baskets, the offertory collection. Explain to both gift-bearers and gift-collectors that they should be prepared to begin their respective duties at the end of the Prayers of the Faithful (intentions).
Throughout the entire Mass, you will serve as an usher/greeter. When you are not fulfilling your other duties, please stand or sit in the back of the church. It is possible that during Mass someone may have a question, which usually consists of an inquiry as to the location of the bathroom. They will look for and come to you – the usher/greeter – for that answer. For this reason, it is important for you to be visible and available during the entire Mass. So, again, throughout the Mass, remain standing or sitting at the back, near the entrances. Remember, however, that you are also a member of the congregation, so please participate fully in the worship! Also, in the very unlikely event of an emergency, you should be prepared to provide assistance. Since an “emergency” can take many forms, use your best judgment about how best you ought to help, but be sure to never put yourself (or others) at unnecessary risk. Should an emergency arise, remember to remain cool, calm, and collected.
During the recitation of the Prayers of the Faithful (the intentions), you and/or the other ushers are to retrieve the gift baskets and assemble at the back of the church. If you have asked a non-usher to serve as a gift-collector, then be sure that the person whom you have recruited for this task has also joined you in the back of the church. If they have not, then you may need to go and remind/retrieve them. Once you and the other gift-collectors have gathered at the back of the church, you and/or the other gift-collectors will divide among yourselves so that there is one gift-bearer per each side (left and right) of each of the pews.
Together, walk down your respective aisles to the front of the church. When you reach the front of the church, together from your places reverence the altar. Then, begin the collection; walk slowly down the aisle extending the gift basket into each pew, from the first pew to the very last pew. At the back of the church, work with the other gift-bearers to ensure that the collection is deposited in the appropriate envelope and properly secured. On some weekends, there may be a second collection. If there is, then repeat step 5. At the end of this process, you or another gift-collector/usher is to take the envelope(s) to the upstairs Sacristy for safekeeping.
While the collection is occurring, the gift-bearers should also be fulfilling their function. Therefore, depending on a variety of factors – i.e. how many ushers and non-usher gift-collectors are present, whether you yourself are also serving as a gift-collector, and whether the gift-bearers are experienced or require your direction, etc – you may (or may not) also need to provide to the gift-bearers guidance. If you must provide such guidance, then slowly go to where they are sitting as soon as possible after the Offertory begins and indicate to them that they are now to get up from their seats and follow you to the gift-table. Ensure that each gift-bearer holds at least one of the gifts, and that all of the gifts, collectively, are brought forth from the gift-table to the altar. When you see the priest rise from his chair and walk down the altar to the center aisle, or if you see that he is already standing there, this is your signal to quietly signal the gift-bearers to begin their procession from the gift table toward the altar/priest. As soon as they begin their procession, return to your place.
As at the beginning of Mass, at the end of Mass you will serve once again as both a greeter and an usher. As a greeter, bid people a warm “goodbye.” As appropriate, say, “We hope to see you again next week.”