The ministry of ushers is the oldest lay ministry in the Catholic Church. The ushers of today have descended from a long line of people of God who have gone before them. During the time of Christ, the doorkeepers of the temple numbered in the hundreds and were the forerunners of today’s ushers. The more immediate predecessor of today’s usher can be found in the clerical order of porter, whose duty it was to guard the door of the church against intruders. The porter duties were so important that they came to be included in the rite of ordination, where they were specified as “to ring the bells, open the church and sacristy, and open the book for the preacher.” 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 book, their primary duties and responsibilities include:

  • Greeting parishioners and visitors as they enter the church
  • Taking up the collection
  • Counting how many parishioners and visitors join us at each Mass
  • Providing assistance in Emergencies
  • Assisting with special duties during special celebrations and activities by helping the pastor as requested

A person’s willingness to serve God in the capacity as an usher reflects their commitment to Christ.

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.

The usher has the opportunity and the responsibility to represent the rest of the assembly in offering hospitality. People’s impression of a parish is significantly shaped by the presence or absence of a welcoming atmosphere where they come to worship. Offering a smile and a word of welcome can have a profound impact on people as they arrive. Ushers provide assistance in emergencies. They ensure that the Church is in order before, during and after the celebration of Mass.

Usher’s Duties at St. Raphaels

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes before mass
  • Ensure that pews and Church are in order
  • Greet and welcome at the the North, East, and West entrances
  • Arrange gift bearers
  • Seat people (as needed)
  • Assist in placing “Reserved” signs on benches for special groups (as needed)
  • Take up collections
  • Help the Communion flow
  • Assist those who become ill or need aid
  • Open and close the entrance doors to the Church
  • Prepare the pews and Church for the next Mass
  • Performing other duties as requested by the Celebrant
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