WHY IS HOSPITALITY SO IMPORTANT?
Christian hospitality is centered in Christ. It is an expression of reverence for the presence of Christ in each member of the assembly; it is rooted in the sacrament of baptism. True hospitality draws us together and opens us up to participate in the liturgy. And ancient Christian saying expresses it this way: "When a guest comes, Christ comes."
WHAT DO GREETERS AND USHERS DO BEFORE MASS?
They need to arrive well before other parishioners (at least 20 minutes before Mass begins). They should make sure that the worship space is free of any clutter that may have been left from a previous service. They greet people at the door (paying particular attention to those who may be visiting or in need of special seating) hand out worship aids and assist people in finding a place to sit.
DURING MASS, WHAT IS THEIR ROLE?
Ministers of Hospitality, like other liturgical ministers, are primarily members of the worshiping Assembly. As such, they should join in the act of worship in the same manner as the Assembly. Even while performing specific tasks, (e.g., taking up the offering), they remain united to the Assembly, singing and praying in an active way. Never should their role separate them from the rest of the Assembly. They are to be present and attentive during the entire liturgy. During Mass, they assist in the seating of latecomers, take up the offering, help direct the communion procession if needed and deal with any disturbances that may occur. They should know the location of rest rooms, the nearest phone, the first aid kit, and fire extinguishers. They may also be responsible for choosing the gift bearers.
AND AT THE END OF MASS?
Their role is to distribute the parish bulletin; direct people toward any social events that may be taking place and to do a general clean up of the worship space.
WHO MAY SERVE AS A GREETER OR USHER?
This ministry is open to all, men and women, who are truly able to welcome people to the community’s prayer. Because this ministry requires an understanding of the nature of liturgical prayer, the ability to relate to people of all ages, and the capability of responding well to sometimes challenging situations, a certain level of maturity is needed. However, when the ministry of hospitality is open to families, children often make very effective greeters.
WHAT IS APPROPRIATE ATTIRE FOR MINISTERS OF HOSPITALITY?
Because all liturgical ministers, by their demeanor and attitude, send a message about the importance of what is taking place, it is helpful if they are attired in their “Sunday best.” In some parishes, ministers wear a uniform blazer for visibility so that they can be identified immediately in case of an emergency. In either case, a nametag identifying a person as a minister of hospitality would be helpful.