Every member of the assembly is a minister of hospitality. Those specifically designated to serve in this ministry regularly remind us of our own call to this God-like spirit. They not only welcome the stranger, they awaken within us our oneness in Christ. They don’t just serve special needs, they serve the health and wholeness of the entire community.
Just as we are all ministers of God’s Word by the way we live our lives, our lectors are specifically designated to proclaim that Word. Ministers of hospitality serve, by their deliberate words and actions, to proclaim God’s eternal welcome and all-embracing love. Their actions direct our actions.
The ministry of hospitality, as we know it today in parish liturgy, is an expansion of the traditional role of the usher that was a common function in every parish prior to the Second Vatican Council. The basic responsibilities of the Minister of Hospitality include:
- Facilitating seating people
- Being attentive to the special seating needs of the less abled and the elderly
- Seating latecomers during the natural breaks in the Mass, when they are less distracting to others
- Maintaining a spirit of order and calm
- Facilitating the communion procession
- Managing any emergencies
- Greeting people as they enter the church building with a smile and words of welcome
- Greeting people by name, when possible
- Generating a spirit of welcome and belonging for all members
This ministry is open to people of all age groups: youth, young adults, families, retired members, etc.
Ushers and greeters are often the first point of contact for people when they enter the church building for Mass. That first greeting (or non-greeting) sets the tone for each individual person. It can either provide a sense of belonging and connection, or it can lead to indifference, insignificance or a feeling of isolation and detachment, none of which foster unity or reflect our oneness in the body of Christ. The minister of hospitality has a very serious role to play at the liturgy. It may seem like a simple task, but that doesn’t mean it is easy or unnecessary!
A minister of hospitality should have:
- An ability to make eye contact, smile and talk to strangers
- A love for our parish community
- A prayerful and calming presence
- An ability to see the face of Christ in every person
- An awareness of how to dress appropriately for the liturgy
A Minister of Hospitality should always spend time in prayer and reflection before coming to the church to serve. Our hearts and minds need to be filled with the presence of God, so that we can offer that loving spirit to others. If you are interested in becoming a Minister of Hospitality please either call Fr. Scott at the Rectory office, e-mail Fr. Scott, or fill out a sign-up form.
- The job of the minister of hospitality will be to direct people to their seats, direct the line for the reception of Holy Communion and direct the exit from the church at the end of Mass
- Always be friendly and welcoming. Calm people’s nerves and assure them that the church is a safe place to be in public.
- You will be part of a Mass team of about 4 people.
- You will be asked to arrive 30 minutes before the start of Mass to allow people to enter church. You will remain for about 20 minutes after Mass has ended to ensure that the church is clear and to help with sanitizing the church.
- For the distribution of communion, you will direct the line and ensure six foot distancing in the communion line. There will be floor markings which will be placed six feet apart in the middle aisle for people to stand to make sure proper social distancing is followed during communion. All will proceed down the middle aisle for communion and then return to their seats by way of the side aisles. The person receiving communion will make a slight bow, the priest or minister will say, “the Body of Christ.” The person will respond amen, the priest or minister will place the host in the person’s hand, then the person will step to the side, consume the host and then return to their seats by way of the side aisle. The priest and ministers will sanitize their hands immediately before and immediately after communion.
- After the pews have been dismissed, you will move through the church to make sure nothing has been left behind, discarding any trash and helping sanitize the church. Gloves will be available.
Lord Jesus, you welcomed all who came into your presence. May I reflect that same spirit through this ministry of hospitality. May your light shine in my heart this day. Remove from me anything that would stand in the way of radiating your presence.
As people enter this Church to worship and praise You, may they hear your voice in my words and see your love in my actions. May my “welcome” reflect our joy at their presence amid my “good-by” encourage them to return soon.
I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and ask your blessing upon all my efforts. I ask this through our God who is the giver of all gifts.