The ministry of ushers is the oldest lay ministry in the Catholic Church. Today's ushers are 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 third century. Their duties were: "to ring the bells, open the church and sacristy, and to open the book for the preacher." In 1972 Pope Paul VI abolished the order of porter, yet these important tasks are still filled by laypersons.
While today's ushers usually don't ring bells or open the church (although some may do so), their primary responsibilities include greeting and welcoming parishioners as they enter the church, helping them to find seats, taking up the collection and wishing everyone a good day at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Celebration.
The primary mission of the usher at Blessed Sacrament is hospitality, making parishioners and guests feel welcome and comfortable as the community gathers for Mass. This hospitality comes from an ability to see the presence of Christ in each person as he or she arrives.
Qualities of an Usher
This ministry is open to all parishioners; men and women; senior citizens, parents and teenagers. Ushers are people whose 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.
Duties of an Usher
- Working with the sacristan to ensure that the bread and wine are on the table in the back of the church before Mass and the collection baskets and collection plates are in place
- Greeting parishioners as they enter for worship
- Selecting a family to carry the gifts in the Offertory presentation
- Assisting in the seating of parishioners and guests
- Providing the worship leaflets to worshippers as they enter and the weekly bulletin as they depart
- Taking up the Offertory collection
- Wishing everyone a good day at the conclusion of the celebration of the Mass
- Handling emergency situations with courage and composure
Usually about one and a half hours per Mass, beginning 15 minutes before the start of Mass, including 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.
Contact: Poli Marmolejos at or 202.360.7460