Procedures for Hospitality at Mass


If you cannot serve as scheduled, please request a substitute before Friday at noon on the scheduling program. Also notify or text/call 515-509-6851, especially if you discover you need a substitute after noon on Friday. Thanks!

Hospitality ministers serve on behalf of the community. They make people feel welcome and comfortable. It is a service to the community undertaken by those whose faith calls them beyond themselves to “be for others.” Be welcoming—smile!

            Before Mass:
1. Early Arrival: Arrive 30 minutes before mass begins. Check in with the Mass Coordinator. Save yourself a seat (use your belongings or a “seat saver” to save a spot or ask somebody to save a spot for you). Wear your nametag or a generic “Hospitality” nametag from the hospitality closet (adjacent to the south walkway staircase).

2. Lights: Make sure the Story Wall light (light switch in east balcony) and lights under the balcony (pillar near the stairwell) in the Gathering Space and under the north catwalk and south balcony are turned on at all Masses.

3. Collection Baskets: Put them out for the collection before Mass begins: Four on the each side: two under the front chair on each side of the main aisle. Alternatively, keep the baskets with you in the pews. Do not keep them in the Gathering Space.

4. Book Carts: Place one on the north side of the gathering space, one (empty) under the south balcony and one or more on the south side of the gathering space. Keep moving books to the tops of carts. Switch the one on the north side with an empty one just before the closing hymn so the cart does not get overloaded during departure.

5. Locations: Typically you will be in the gathering space before Mass until after the first reading. Please note that your main job is to greet people and answer questions, distributing hymnals is secondary and not necessary to fulfill the role of hospitality minister. You will return to the gathering space during the final hymn to distribute bulletins, which are found in the hospitality closet. Please face the entrances rather than the worship space when greeting – greet each person remembering that they are part of the Body of Christ.

6. Credence Cabinet: The gifts will be on top of the credence cabinet. Work together with the Mass Coordinator to find people from either side of the church, north or south, to present the gifts (a family, a group, three individuals). Instruct the gift bearers to move to the gifts when the hospitality ministers begin the collection. The priest will come to the foot of the altar platform to face them and receive the bread, the low gluten hosts (separately), and the wine. Ask them to turn the wine pitcher so the handle is free for the presider to grasp.

7. After Mass begins: Continue to be friendly and make eye contact; welcome people as if they were entering your own home. Remain in the gathering space until after the first reading begins (7pm mass – wait until after second reading) to greet late arrivals. If you are seated and notice people looking around for help, jump up and help them no matter what part of the liturgy is happening. You will alleviate the anxiety of all who see them and don’t know what to do to help them!

8. When it gets crowded inside: If the Mass is usually crowded (especially 10:30 am during the school year), one or two hospitality ministers could stand at the end of the southeast aisle to help people find seats. When the church is full, direct people to the balcony seating. If the balcony begins to overflow, try to direct people to seats in the main sanctuary, remembering the front row is often empty. Try to avoid people standing under the balcony, so as not to block exits.

9. Be ready to help people needing special assistance:

a) For people in wheelchairs, remove one or two chairs from the end of the front rows on the north and south side. If people prefer alternate seating, feel free to move a chair or two and place it near the Story Wall pillars. Some people in wheelchairs prefer to sit in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, at the end of a row there.

b) For the hearing impaired, receivers for the sound system are in a plastic drawer on the counter in the sacristy.

c) Missalettes should be available on each book cart. Please make sure they are reasonably evenly distributed.

d) Be aware of the handicapped accessible route to the restrooms (i.e. the elevator). Remember that there are also restrooms down the stairs under the south balcony for those sitting on the south side.

e) See addendum to deal with emergency or unusual situations.

1. At the end of the Prayer of the Faithful, quickly approach the front of the aisle. As soon as the assembly is seated at the end of the prayer, begin handing out baskets, two on each side in this fashion:

  • One or two ministers walk to the center aisle. Distribute a basket to every other row on each side. As they come back around, alternate the remaining rows so baskets go down one aisle and back up the next.
  • When the balcony is occupied, one or two hospitality ministers should use the long-handled baskets that are found in the small closet at the end of the south aisle on the left side.
  • Once the collection baskets reach the back of the church quickly combine the contents into one basket for presentation.
  • One minister brings the basket to the front and places it underneath the front of the altar. For modesty’s sake, please avoid bending over. Bend at the knees or allow someone else to bring the baskets up.
  • The other ministers return the baskets under the front seat. Bow and return to your seat by the shortest route.


1. As the final song begins, go the Gathering Space and take a stack of bulletins from the box in the hospitality closet and position yourselves across the breadth of the Gathering Space to hand them out as people leave mass (the congregation will shelve their hymnals on the way out).
            After most people have gone:

1. Collect leftover hymnals or other items from the pews (anything of value should be brought to the sacristy). Straighten hymnal carts, and redistribute books so that they are not be tightly packed – you should be able to wrap your fingers around a book to pull it out, rather than pulling on the top of the spine.
2. For all masses: Secure the balcony ropes and turn off the balcony step lights (except 8:30). Leave an empty book cart between balcony steps for those who leave the next mass by that exit.

3. Make sure Story Wall light is turned off (except 8:30).

            Answers to Commonly Asked Questions:
1. Kleenex, paper towels, absorbent powder to clean up vomit, plastic bags, and etc. are in the hospitality closet.

2. A first aid kit is in the sacristy.

3. An automatic external defibrillator is mounted on the wall near the hospitality closet. Opening the device will not alert the 911 system, so please call 911 immediately if the need arises to use the AED.

4. Two fire extinguishers: one is in the hospitality closet, the other in the prayer garden pathway, near the dumpster door.

            Additional Policies:

1. Children of any appropriate age may serve with parents or in an adult-supervised peer group. Young people age 14 and older may serve independently of their families.

2. Please wear appropriate clothing for Mass. Avoid anything the draws undue attention, including political statements or rival schools.

3. If you need a nametag, please contact Shari at the parish office.

Thank you for serving in this ministry. You are helping to make STA a welcoming place for worship.


ADDENDUM to Hospitality Procedures

Health Emergency Response

If someone feels faint, assist them with water and fresh air. The student lounge is a good place for them to sit to regain their strength. Use a trash can or get them to a restroom if they are feeling nauseous. Water is available from the water fountains near the bathrooms, and from the Bethany room and/or nursery.

If someone passes out, use your judgement about calling 911. When in doubt, do so. Check for pulse and respiration and retrieve the AED from its cabinet, knowing that the alarm will sound when you open the door. This should catch the attention of medical professionals since it is a loud alarm. Use the nearest microphone to ask for medical help from the assembly if no one has noticed the need and responded automatically, and if you or someone helping you cannot identify a medical professional by sight.

In the event that someone throws up, emergency cleaning supplies, including fluid/odor absorbent powder, are in a red bucket in the hospitality closet. Please be as expedient as possible clearing areas in which people need to walk, such as aisles. Usher people around an area if a mess can be contained and finish cleaning up after mass when possible to allow mass to continue as uninterrupted as possible.


Active Shooter Event Response

In the event that someone pulls a gun, yell “Gun! run, hide, fight!” and follow the Run, Hide, Fight protocol for your own safety. Run if you can do so safely. Hide if you are unable to run and can take shelter out of sight of the potential shooter; fight only if it becomes the only option.

Once you are safely out of range of the potential shooter, please help guide others to safety by sending them on foot as far away from the building in as orderly a fashion as possible. Try to clear entrances to allow emergency response vehicles to get as close as possible. Assist anyone who needs assistance to the best of your ability while remaining safe yourself. Pray as you work for those who are in harm’s way.

If you must hide, try to lock and/or block doors, turn off lights and hunker down out of sight of the door. Encourage everyone with you to be silent and pray silently for those who are in immediate danger.

If you must fight, try to coordinate your attack with others so the shooter becomes confused and is unable to respond to all the threats. Once a shooter is disarmed, attempt to neutralize danger without causing further harm to anyone including the shooter.