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, instituted in the 3rd Century A.D. 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 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, to 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 bells or open the church, their primary duties and responsibilities include greeting and welcoming parishioners as they enter the church, help them to find seats, taking up the collection and wishing everyone a good day at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Celebration.
Our mission of the usher at St. Isidore is that of hospitality. Our service is making parishioners and guests feel welcome and comfortable as we gather for our Eucharistic celebration. Our ushers are able to see the presence of Christ in each person as they arrive.
Qualities of an Usher
This ministry is open to all parishioners; men and women; senior citizen, parent and teenager. Ushers are friendly people who welcome all ages and nationalities. Their faith enables them to see Christ's presence in individuals and in the gathered community of believers. Ushers are honest and dependable. They can handle emergency situations with courage and composure. They carry a dignity about themselves even when performing menial tasks. Those duties include:
- Greeting parishioners as they enter for worship
- Selecting a family to make the Offertory presentation
- Assisting in the seating of parishioners and guests
- Maintenance of the climate control system during Mass
- Providing the weekly bulletin to members of the congregation
- Taking up the Offertory collection
- Wishing everyone a good day at the conclusion of the celebration of the Mass
- Cleaning up the church after Mass, collecting excess bulletins and papers left behind in the pews
- Handling emergency situations with courage and composure
Would you like to be an Usher? - Do you have any questions? - Want to know who to contact? - Here are some answers:
Usually about 11/2 hours per Mass and begins 15 minutes before Mass begins, includes duties during Mass, and 5-10 minutes after Mass for clean up of pews.
"On the job training" is provided by working alongside experienced Ushers
- Arrive at Church about 15-20 minutes before Mass.
- Check the Weekly Bulletin to see if there is one collection or two.
- Open doors for parishioners and welcome them to church. Try to keep the doors closed as much as possible. Cold and hot temperatures affect the back of the church.
- Go to the Sacristy and get the Eucharistic gifts. Place them on the table.
- Open the doors for the Catechists when Father dismisses them.
- Take up the collection. This will be just following the "special intentions." Father will sit down and the music group will start the offertory song. Place the money into the proper side of the collection box in the passageway behind the altar (the left side is for the 1st collection and the right side is for the 2nd collection).
- Block for Communion. There will normally be four chalices with wine in them. Start up the center aisle at about the time that the presiding priest hands the first two to the Eucharistic Ministers.
- Take up the second collection if there is one. You will start up the aisles as soon as Father closes the Tabernacle door.
- Open the door for Father and the altar servers for the recessional.
- Clean up all of the litter after Mass and place the books back in the holder on the back of the pews. Make sure that the side doors and interior rear doors are closed.
To join this ministry or to obtain more information, please call the Parish Office to contact the Usher Coordinator, or please approach any of our Senior Ushers after Mass.
Lloyd Leighton - Usher Coordinator (English Masses)
Ruben Rojo - Usher Coordinator (Spanish Masses)