Serving the parish as an usher reflects commitment to Christ and service to the Parish with joy, dependability, kindness and reverence. Ushers reflect the warmth and welcome of Christ to everyone who enters for worship. By their service, ushers live out Christ’s words:
"For I was…a stranger and you welcomed me," (Matthew 25:35).
As the oldest lay ministry in the Catholic Church,ushers were called "gatekeepers" in the Old Testament. Their ministry was so important, their living quarters were in the temple. 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 (I Chronicles 9). The gatekeepers had become known as the "Temple Guard" by the time of Christ Jesus. They were ordered to arrest Jesus. But the account in John 7 states that they instead became interested in Jesus' message. In the third century A.D., a clerical order known as "porters" or overseers of the doors was instituted to guard the door of the church against any intruders who might disturb the service. The porters' duties were so important that they were included in the rite of ordination. They rang the bells, opened the church, and opened 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. Today, ushers may ring the bells or open the church but 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 securing the church after Mass.
At Old Mission Santa Inés, ushers serve not only as Ministers of Hospitality, but also as Liturgical Ministers by reflecting the devotion, reverence and joy of encountering God during worship service and Evangelism Ministers as they genuinely welcome and help everyone. Ushers provide a friendly and welcoming presence to those arriving to worship. Ushers enhance the beauty of the Liturgy and become an instrument through whom God may be present to those in worship. Ushers assist those who are preparing to worship God by creating and maintaining a quiet and reverent atmosphere within the church.
As part of the Mission’s Hospitality program the ushers provide all in attendance at Mass a comfortable, safe and secure environment during all services. Before Mass begins, they offer a welcoming presence and assist with and ensure safe and orderly seating at all Masses offered in this Parish. Ushers ensure proper seating for all as they arrive. This is very important at Old Mission Santa Inés due to the number of visitors we serve as well as any disabled attending Mass. The comfort of those in attendance means the ushers serve in the role of “crowd control” as well as “traffic director” during communion and other rituals during Mass.
Ushers not only collect during the Offertory but they work with the Sacristan to ensure the Offertory gifts are in the proper place for the Offertory procession. During Holy Communion, ushers ensure an orderly flow and if someone is physicially unable to walk forward to receive the Eucharist, ushers notify the Eucharist Ministers and direct them to the person(s) so they can receive the Eucharist.
Our Mission is unique in it’s lay out as it is long and narrow with one middle aisle. Safe ingress and egress is part of the usher’s role especially in the case of emergency. Additionally, ushers maybe called upon in a Medical emergency to aid responders.
Finally, after Mass has ended, the Ushers are tasked to ensure the Church is ready for the next service by checking each pew, returning kneelers upright, picking up trash and preparing the collection baskets.
The Usher Ministry is open to all. Families, husband and wife teams, singles, etc. are all welcome. Ushers can choose the Mass, time and date they would like to serve as an usher. Schedules are issued monthly and are very flexible to accommodate vacation, work and other schedule needs.