“There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit; there are many different ways of serving, but it is always the same Lord. There are many different forms of activity, but in everybody it is the same God who is at work in them all. The particular manifestation of the Spirit granted to each one is to be used for the general good.”
(1 Corinthians 12: 4-6)
There is truth and sincerity behind the old saying that there is only one chance to make a good first impression. And the Church has the responsibility to assure that that first impression is not left to chance so we need to put our best foot forward at all times.
We cannot take for granted or understate the benefit that we bring to the Mass by helping folks feel welcomed and wanted.
Our wonderful Usher-Greeters focus on and greet parishioners and visitors as they arrive for worship. The faithful arrive in many states of mind which can be affected by the drive, difficulty getting the whole family into the can in a timely manner or they may be fully and totally prepared for the Eucharistic celebration. The Usher-Greeter can help all to be ready to receive Christ with an open and sincere heart.
With cheerful hearts, a warm smile and a friendly word they put a smile on the faces of those arriving for worship disposing them to feel comfortable and welcomed.
The first parishioner to interact with a visitor who is just arriving is often the Usher-Greeter and, as we know, first impressions matter a lot.
With focus on making others feel good, important and wanted, the spirit of the ushering ministry disposes Usher-Greeters to min-imize personal matters in favor of the "supreme good".
"..I have accounted all else rubbish so that Christ may be my
wealth." (Cf. Philippians 3:8).
So what will I do as a Usher-Greeter?
Basically; welcoming people as they enter, helping folks get seated, taking the collection, passing out bulletins and possibly answering questions or giving directions.
Punctuality is the soul of the Usher's ministry. To be able to meet and welcome arriving parishioners and visitors properly, the Usher-Greeters arrive early to Mass and prepare for their day by reading the bulletin, coordinating with the other Lay Ministers of the Mass and preparing themselves to be the face of our Lord and the church.
Usher-Greeters, in addition to greeting people, help the faithful to get seated as is necessary for those with special needs or during Masses with high attendance, take up the collection, handout bulletins, answer questions and provide information and answers as needed. The Usher-Greeters for each Mass group get to know one another. At any Mass, if for any reason there are not enough Usher-Greeters, they ask for volunteers from the community of worshipers. For the sake of continuity they should start with others Usher-Greeters who are at the Mass but not scheduled to serve then reach out to those not in the ministry itself but are fully capable of assisting in the ministry's capacity for the Mass.
It is desirable that any minister who foresees that he or she will not be able to serve should call and let a co-usher know about it. It is desirable also that ministers act as one another's keepers. Call one another especially when one does not show up to serve and know if all is well with the person.
"Their reward is with the Lord;
The Most High takes care of them.
Therefore they will receive a glorious crown and a beautiful diadem from the hand of the Lord,
Because with his right hand he will cover them, And with his arm he will shield them".
An Usher-Greeter Minister can change the state of mind in which people enter the Mass simply by being friendly and making eye contact with them as they arrive. It can happen that parishioners are distracted and absorbed by things that may have happened on their way to Mass or during the week. A sincere smile, handshake and a word or two can change their mood and make Mass a valuable and fulfilling experience.