Guidelines for the Ministry of Usher
Immaculate Conception Parish
Ushers are ministers of hospitality and assistance. Ushers need to approach those who obviously need assistance – newcomers, parents with small children, those who look “lost”. Approach people who look like they need help. You are providing a wonderful service to each member of this very large family! If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please feel free to call Rich and Glenda Hauser at (636) 561-1895 or Jan Parker at the Parish Office at 561-4459.
1. Dress should be neat, modest, and appropriate signifying the honor of the ministry you perform and expresses the dignity of our celebration. Shorts and jeans are never acceptable.
2. ARRIVE. Please arrive15-20 minutes before Mass. When you arrive check in with the Mass Captain at the Desk in the Gathering Space.
3. Nametag. The nametags are kept at the Information Desk in two file boxes and arranged in alphabetical order. Please return your nametag at the end of Mass.
4. Usher Leader. At each Mass one usher should take a leader position. As leader, this usher, after talking with the others, should assign ushers for the Collection and make other decisions so that Mass runs smoothly and efficiently.
5. RESERVED SEATS The last row of pews on both sides of the Baptismal Font will be reserved for the ushers and the greeters. At the more crowded Masses it’s your call as to whether to give up your seat or not. (see note on front page regarding seating for ushers.)
6. GIFT BEARERS Greeters are to find the gift bearers for Mass. When the greeter finds a family they will place the plaque face down on the gift table. They will also tell the family to come to the back of the center isle as soon as the collection starts. However, if by chance no one appears it is your responsibility to get someone or have several ushers bring it up.
7. Seating People At crowded Masses direct people to fill in the seats at the sides and the corners. Try to eliminate so many people standing at the entrance doors. One usher should stand at the entrance and guide them to ushers standing at each side of the church. The ushers at the sides can then guide the people to available seats. When the church is full encourage people to stand along the side walls so that the entrance remains as open as possible. ALSO Per Fr. Reiker, please ENCOURAGE people to move towards the center of the pews. If it is helpful to make an announcement asking folks to do this, you may do so or ask the Mass Captain or a music minister to make that announcement. There is often a lot of room in the pews if people would just sit a little closer together.
8. Late Arrivals Treat those who arrive late with respect and maintain a sense of hospitality.
9. Participation Remember that you are a participant at Mass and try to participate in the prayers and songs.
10. Emergencies Be prepared to take care of any emergency situations. There is a First Aid Kit in the front vesting sacristy in the second closet (There is a label on the door that says “First Aid Kit”). Fire extinguishers are located in the front vesting sacristy and on the floor by the pillar just outside the door to work sacristy. Familiarize yourself with these locations.
In the janitor’s closet off the Gathering Space you will find paper towels, mops, etc. to cover cleanup situations. A phone is located in the vesting sacristy.
11. Taking Up the Collection Before Mass begins you will have talked with your fellow ushers, one of whom will take the lead, and you will know ahead of time which area you will be responsible for collecting.
Immediately after the celebrant concludes the prayers of the
faithful you should be walking to the aisles to take up the
collection. Please be ready with baskets in hand. Do not
wait for the song to begin.
For the side aisles four baskets should be used. The first two
are started at the front and the other two are started at the
halfway point which is marked with a small disk at the end of
If you are short on ushers feel free to recruit someone other than an usher to pass the basket “in the corners”. That person could simply pass the basket in their particular corner and then bring that basket to an usher. It might be best to ask that person before Mass begins and just give them the basket at that time.
Please have the Offertory procession ready to go when the
celebrant is ready. Either the center aisle usher or the usher covering the corners takes care of getting the offertory family ready to go. When Father stands and walks forward to receive the gifts the offertory procession SHOULD BE MOVING FORWARD – do not wait for any additional baskets. It is acceptable to send up the Offertory procession with a basket with only part of the collection. The remaining collection could be brought up later if timely. Bring it forward in a second basket up until the time when the priest washes his hands. After that it would be too disruptive to the Mass to bring the second basket forward. The remaining collection would then be taken to the sacristy, placed in a bag and then into the drawer.
The collection is placed in the regular spot and is picked up by the money counters. Ushers will not take the money to the money counters. We consulted with the money counters and they are fine with this arrangement.
12. BULLETINS are not to be handed out before Mass. The boxes of bulletins will be kept behind the information desk. Many parishioners now know that the bulletins are there and will come over and get one before Mass. Since some people leave early it may be helpful to place a few bulletins out on the bookracks and information desk just before communion.
As the recessional song begins you can then be in the gathering space handing out bulletins. It is good to have several ushers handing them out.
13. Doors before MASS the doors from the Gathering Space to the church should remain CLOSED. This will keep the noise of the Gathering Space out of the church so that those who come early to pray may do so in some sense of quiet.
After MASS the doors should not be propped open UNTIL the priest is down the aisle and entering the Gathering Space. If opened before the end of our celebration might encourage people to leave before the celebration has concluded.
Side Exit Doors - At the 10:15 or other crowded masses you may move a cart by the side exit doors for collection of missalettes and hymnals and distribution of bulletins. If you do so, please move the book cart a few moments before Mass begins. That way we are not moving carts during or at the end of Mass.
14. Responsibilities After Mass
Please put all bulletins back behind the information desk. Help straighten the church and the bookracks and the tables. (We are encouraging the greeters to help with this also.) It would help if one usher could check the bathrooms – stock them as necessary and empty trash if needed.
15. Side Rooms and Closets
The Parlor: The parlor is the small room opposite the reconciliation room. It’s a room that’s available if someone needs to have a private conversation with someone from the pastoral staff either before or after Mass – so generally it needs to be available. It’s perfectly ok to direct a nursing mother to that room during Mass, but it IS NOT a cry room. There is a baby changing station in the women’s restroom and we have additional baby changing facilities in the lower level restrooms.
The Ushers’ Closet : is located on the east wall of the gathering space. The collection baskets will be stored in the closet after the noon Mass by the noon ushers. The 6 p.m. Mass ushers will get out what they need and put them back in the ushers closet after that Mass. The 5:00 p.m. ushers will get all the baskets out of the closet before their Mass.
The Janitor’s Closet : is also located on the east wall of the gathering space. In here you will find trash bags, brooms, dustpans, etc. and paper towels and toilet paper if needed.
Note Regarding Baptismal Font: