A THEOLOGY OF LAY LITURGICAL MINISTRY
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Pt. 2:9).
All liturgical ministers are, first and foremost, members of the Body of Christ. Through their baptism they are the "holy people and royal priesthood,” whose right and privilege it is to participate in the ministry of Christ.
How the lay faithful exercise this ministry in the world varies, but the fullest and most fundamental expression of it has always been "conscious, active and fruitful participation in the mystery of the Eucharist."
Since the celebration of the Eucharist is the "action of the whole Church,” everyone in the assembly has "an individual right and duty to contribute their participation."
Some of the faithful are called to serve God's people in a more particular way through one of the many liturgical ministries that have flourished in the Church since the Second Vatican Council. This diversity of roles, functions and ministries enriches our celebrations and assists us in our prayer.
Serving in one of these ministries is both an honor and a responsibility, and those who commit to it need nurturing and support. This handbook has been prepared to help you grow in a deeper understanding and love for the liturgy, your ministry and ultimately the Lord whom we all serve.
PURPOSE STATEMENT / USHER MINISTRY
Usher exercise a ministry of Hospitality that requires they be observant to the
needs of the worshipping community. They should offer seating for latecomers and
be familiar with the procedures for emergencies. In addition to their ministry of hospitality,
ushers are responsible for the safe handling of all Collections, which help to sustain the
vibrant ministries of SSJ.
MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY / USHER RESPONSIBILITIES & PROCEDURES
THE MINISTRY OF THE USHER
1. The usher is, first and foremost, a member of the Body of Christ; she or he must be a living sign of the Living Lord,
welcoming all to the tables of Word and Eucharist. This ministry animates our baptismal call to “be as Christ.”
2. The Usher is important to the comfort and safety of our parish family; she or he must follow all the protocols set forth
below, ensuring consistency in executing their hers or his duty of the ministry. Remember, you are the “eyes and ears” of our
3. The ushers serve a crucial role in the financial well-being of the parish. Nearly 75% of all church donations that the
parish receives come through the Sunday collection that the ushers facilitate each week. Therefore, the care that all ushers
display in collecting funds from parishioners and carefully bagging cash and checks is important so that funds needed to keep the
parish in operation are carefully transported, intact, to the parish office. This care extends to periods when second collections are
scheduled. It is important to keep funds from the Sunday and second collections separate so that the parish can honor donors’
intention as to which collection to direct their funds.
1. Arrive 30 minutes before the beginning of Mass to ensure that there are bulletins in the racks at the entrances of the Church.
2. All ushers must sign in on the Accounting sign-in sheet to handle the collection.
3. Four or five ushers are required for each Mass.
4. Dress appropriately as a minister of the church, and follow the dress code below.
a. Please wear the maroon-colored vest (for women) or jacket (for men). Our community and parish staff should be able to locate you
within the church at a glance.
b. Between the months of June 1 through September 30, please wear a distinct Hawaiian shirt.
c. Please wear your badge visibly on your vest or jacket, or Hawaiian shirt.
5. Provide Assistance to those require seating, or those with special needs.
6. Select 3 people from the assembly to carry the gifts to the altar. Select three different people each week. Coordinate this effort with
the Liturgical Associate or his designee, e.g., the Mass Coordinator. Ensure Liturgical Associate/designee knows 3 people have been
chosen to present the gifts for Eucharist.
20 MINUTES BEFORE MASS:
1. All ushers must be stationed at all the front entrances of the church building 20 minutes before the liturgy to welcome parishioners.
Please do not remain the working Sacristy.
2. Work with the Greeters with any requests from those with special needs.
1. Shut the entrance doors, as well as the glass doors inside the Narthex, after Mass begins to conditioned air inside the church. (Specific
request from Fr. Daniel)
2. Assist those who come in late with seating. Seat latecomers up to the singing of the “Gloria,” then again during the singing of the Gospel
Acclamation. Do not seat latecomers during the First Reading, Psalm, or Second Reading.
3. The Collection:
a. Begin the Collection after the Universal Prayer. In addition to all the pews, remember to pass baskets to those standing in the Narthex,
the back of the church, and the sides walls.
b. Bring the filled baskets to the Working Sacristy. Ensure to close the Working Sacristy doors so that the assembly doesn’t hear money
being prepped for the safe.
c. Once money has been placed in plastic bags, place the plastic bags in the cloth bag. Two ushers will carry the fabric bag and safe key
to the safe located next to the entrance of the Parish Office.
d. Remove the plastic bags from the fabric bag; unlock the safe; and place the two plastic bags into the safe one at a time. Then, lock the safe.
e. A third usher will stand outside the Working Sacristy side door to view those ushers moving to and from the safe.
f. Place the safe key in the fabric bag, and return the fabric bag to the Usher Closet. Maintain reverent silence when in the Working Sacristy,
especially if the door is open; people are praying the Mass.
g. Second Collection: will be taken at the same time as the regular parish collection. An announcement by the cantor before Mass and before
the Presentation of the Gifts will indicate for parishioners to use the envelopes provided for the Second Collection. Place these envelopes in
the plastic bags along with the regular parish collection. The Finance Staff will separate the two collections.
4. Provide assistance to the assembly during the distribution of Communion: Identify people in the back of the church who cannot process and
let Communion Minister know whom to give Communion.
5. Do not open the entrance doors until the end of Mass.
6. Be prepared to assist the Parish Staff with other projects related to the ministry.
1. Go outside the main entrances to distribute bulletins. The bulletin is a strategic communications piece for our parish; it is essential that as
many parishioners receive the bulletin after Mass.
2. Ensure the bulletin racks are full stacked after each Mass.
3. Close the inner and outer doors of the church after the majority of the assembly has moved out of the church.
4. Hang your vest or jacket, and put away your nametag.
1. FIRST AID KIT: There is a stocked First Aid Kit located on the bottom of the Usher Closet in the Working Sacristy. If supplies are needed,
please let the Liturgical Associate know about any needs.
2. IN CASE OF A LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY, make a phone call to 911 Services. It is recommended that ushers have a cell phone
on silent with them, as only one landline telephone is located in the Priest Sacristy.
3. ELECTRONIC KEY/FOB: there is also a FOB (electronic key) located on the shelf in the Usher’s Closet so access can be made into the
Priest Sacristy. The Liturgical Associate also has a FOB. Always return the FOB to the Usher’s Closet after using it.
4. INCIDENT REPORT FORM: If there is an emergency complete as much as possible an Incident Report form before you leave the church.
Those forms are located hanging in the clear plastic sheets on the inside closet door of the Usher Closet.
5. FIRST AID/CPR & AED TRAINING: The Liturgy Team, working with the Parish Safety Coordinator, will request some ushers to complete
certification for First Aid/CPR/AED training. It is recommended that at least two ushers along with the Liturgical Associate be trained in case
of a life-threatening emergency.
6. DISTURBANCES OR ACTIVE SHOOTER: The Parish Staff is currently working with the Diocese of Orange and local Law Enforcement on
current best practices for the proper handling of a variety of disturbances, e.g., a heckler, as well as what to do in the event of an active shooter.