What do you think of greeters?

Hello,

My parish hasn’t ever had official “greeters” who greet everyone as they enter the church but apparently we are going to start a hospitality ministry which will include greeters. What do you all think of greeters, are they necessary, do they add anything worthwhile to mass on Sunday?

Ishii

It is something outside of Mass, and there seems to be nothing wrong with them. I would suggest they be also the people who hand out bulletins and possibly help educate and evangelize Catholics. You could order free Catholic CD’s\Tracts to hand out with the bulletins to help foster faith and keep the greeters up on their toes.

In Christ
Scylla

They are not necessary. I think having them fosters too casual of an atmosphere.

Also, I am a strong introvert and most greeters in my experience can be a bit, shall we say, overzealous.

My Parish started this just a little over a year ago. I may seem like a grouch for disagreeing with this so called (“New Age”) Catholic ministry which was never really Catholic in the first place. Having (“Greeters at the Church doors”) was something something rationalized and borrowed by liberalized Catholic Clergy from Protestant Ecumunism that I am “not” and have never been in full favor of, not because of bias but because of Catholic Tradition.

The inside of any Catholic Church has always been first and formost (“God’s House of Prayer”). The spirit of prayer in the Church often gets dismantled by the noise of human chatter as if one were entering a Protestant hall before Sunday service and being drowned by the drone of voices. Certainly not something I envisioned being assailed by entering a Catholic Church. Where is the respect to the Holy Presence in the Tabernacle ?

More and more I see Catholic Tradition dispoiled by the Vatican II adoption of Ecumunism which in some respects I see as an evil insidiously wrought by Satan himself.

I strong statement ? Yes. Little by little we see today Catholic Tradition water down by the clergy and self-righteous “know-it-all” lay Catholics who hold certain administrative positions in the Catholic Church most of which is wrought by the liberalisms of a Protestanized Ecumunism which I strongly oppose.

I agree with the poster who called it unnecessary. On my part, my opinion stems from seeing ‘greeters’ in action. They have no action. They stand there like lumps, or else they are artifically effusive. It’s also, to me, somewhat presumptuous. Greeters do not have a special place in the liturgy or certainly in the clergy. It’s kind of putting on airs for the church to pretend that greeters are in some kind of superior position to welcome others; they aren’t. They are exactly in the same position as every other worshipper. It’s a phony “position,” to me – designed to provide some illusion of importance that simply isn’t there.

The priest should be, and is, the greeter, if the practice is such that the priest is outside, with or without vestments, while people file in. His is the superior position, his is the function to welcome (greet), he is the one with an interest in how people are received, and it is to him that the worshippers look – not to some stranger who is just another member of the congregation.

I’ve never encountered one at an OF parish. Perhaps I didn’t notice them when I was visiting different parishes. I’ve seen ushers greet folks in the Narthex and open the door for them.

At the small Independent and SSPX Chapels I’ve visited, they had greeters. And they do approach visitors and welcome them. At one an old fellow asked, " Are you traditional ?", and being the clown I am, I started to reply, " Oh no, I’m Charles". :smiley: But I didn’t because he was elderly. I simply told him I was a guest of one of the parishioners, named him, and also told him I’m aware of Fr’s Communion policy. He smiled and said “welcome”, and that was it. No big deal. The priest there has a policy of not administering Communion to anyone he has not spoken to first. I knew that. He doesn’t grill you to see if you are trad enough, he simply wants to make sure, privately, that you are a confirmed Catholic, and that he expects you to be in a state of Grace if you want to receive at his Chapel.

I have no problem with greeters. I like meeting Catholics.

I don’t see a need. Walmart pays good money to those. I don’t think we need those even for free.

I don’t see a need really as I don’t see in enhancing our mass attending experience.
Walmart pays good money to those who greet those at the door. I can recall a big black women when our first of 4 Walmarts opened in my area hugging you as you walked in the door. She was not there for long and it was greatly toned down, to maybe offering you a shopping cart or a smile sticker for the kids. Not a hug and kiss. Walmart are still from rednecks and other salt of the earth folks, but they too are growing and evolving as they march north in the US. The greeters have come to be more police in checking your slip and items today.
I don’t think we need “official” greeters even for free which I guess they would be. The can hand out a brochure as you leave, etc. and wish you a lovely day. That’s ok to do. Also keep in mind with the flu virus season, even offering each other greetings as a sign of peace is being reconsidered as to touching and the communion, etc. We can be respectful and smile and nod but this greeting stuff and touching can be a bit overbearing and not necessary in today’s world. We’re not that way in the Catholic church to have to reach out and touch someone physically. But, different customs for different cultures.

They’re effective at spreading germs in cold season from hand to hand.

Impossible to avoid sometimes. Got to sneak in by the side door.

I try to fast and without my coffee I’m a grouch.

Grrrr

Yes, that’s a thought. I see by our Church bulletin that on Tuesday evenings our low self esteem group are told to use the side doors of the Church, and on Wednesday evenings, our weight watcher’s group are told to use the double wide doors in the back.

(just some church humor and smiles across the miles)

we started this last year, they are called blue-coats (so far they just have blue badges until we can afford coats) and it is great. they are briefed on what is going on each week, so they can direct new people to RCIA and CCD classes, new parishioners to welcome area, pass out bulletins, keep teens out of the cry room so there is room for moms and babies, assist handicap and elderly to reserved seating, welcome families of first communicants and direct them. Our area and parish are growing so we have new parishioners all the time and they alway comment how nice it was to be welcomed and greeted. also by being strategically placed, it means all of the meet and greet by regular parishioners stays outside the nave, so it really cuts down on noise inside before Mass. They also sell the BBQ tickets or take sign ups for parish picnic and so forth after Mass. This week they were helping parishioners plant flowers and prayer requests in our prayer garden. In October they will be handing out the rosaries that are gifts to every parishioner.

They don’t shake hands or inflict side hugs, it is a warm smile and a welcoming word. In any case they and all ministers use hand sanitizer the minute they come in. As I say they stand outside the church not inside so there is less, not more, disruption and noise. For that reason alone I like it.

the old Polish church were we attend TLM when I visit my relatives has always had greeters, to answer questions of newcomers, provide the missalettes (yes they have them, very helpful) offering veils for those who wish to wear one and so forth. they have been doing this as long as we have gone there well over 20 years.

It is not a new age practice, it is not an innovation of V2, it is not a borrowing from Protestants. My home parish as a child was also a pilgrimage shrine and a very large church with a lot of worshippers from outside the parish, so they had ushers and greeters, who wore red blazers, and were very necessary to direct people, to special seating for handicap, to cry room, to confessionals etc., to pass out shrine info to visitors and so forth. Just because it is new to your parish does not mean hospitality is an innovation in the Church. Benedict had it as a cornerstone of his rule over 1500 years ago.l

Hebrews 13:2 says “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

The theme of showing hospitality is a common one throughout Old and New Testament. When Abraham was visited by the three “men,” he immediately greeted them and offered them rest and food.

The greeters do their work OUTSIDE of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, so the liturgy is not compromised in any way.

The greeters that I have seen in Catholic churches do their work OUTSIDE of the nave, usually in the narthex (or whatever you call it), so again, there is no irreverence. Some greeters greet outside of the church entirely, but many Catholic churches are constructed in such a way that this is dangerous or impossible in bad weather.

Certainly some greeters are overly-effusive. But most greeters are merely friendly people who greet friends and strangers with a smile, and often a word or handshake.

This is a good thing. Another theme throughout the Bible is love for the brethren. (The verse immediately before the one I quoted above is “Let love for the brethern continue.”)

Those of you who are offended need to realize that there are a lot of strangers out there, people who are not Catholic and have no traditions of “silence” before attending “church.”

These visitors and strangers see friends chatting (because in most Catholic churches, friends chat OUTSIDE the nave before and after the Mass–and this is appropriate and not disrespectful to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament), and the strangers feel lonely and left-out.

It is a kind deed for someone to say “Hello” to them, and give them a smile or handshake of welcome so that they feel like they have a “friend” to talk to.

Greeters also serve the very practical purpose of giving directions and answering questions. I have yet to see a Catholic church that has bathrooms in the “lobby” (OTOH, almost all the Protestant churches I know have bathrooms in or near the lobby, and are easy to locate by people who have never been in the church). When a person is wearing a “Greeter” nametag, the stranger or visitor can safely ask this person where the facilities are, or if there is a phone, or if there is a Cry Room, or where they find the Parish Offices, etc.

Also, greeters can serve the function of educating strangers and visitors as to what is appropriate behavior before and after Mass. E.g., if the greeter greets a new person, and the new person begins talking loudly or telling jokes or carrying on an analsis of the game, the greeter can smile, lower their own voice, and say quietly, “I’ll meet you I]outside after Mass and we can talk more about this. We should probably keep it quiet here in the narthex because people are praying inside.”

I realize that in the past, Protestants stayed in their Protestants churches and Catholics stayed in the Catholic churches, and never ever associated with each other on Sundays.

But times have changed–thank God!

Many Protestants now visit Catholic churches, often just to “learn” or “be more informed.” That is a GOOD THING! We want converts, don’t we?

Yes, we want them converted to “true Catholicism,” not a Protestantized version of it.

But there is absolutely NOTHING in the dogma forbidding Catholics from being friendly and greeting visitors before or after Mass. There is nothing “Protestant” about being friendly and demonstrating hospitality.

This is not just an “option.” This is a Biblical admonition. The verse I posted above is just one verse telling Christians to welcome each other and be friendly.

IF the Catholic churches were “friendly,” there would be no need for greeters. For those of you who believe that greeters are unnecessary, I ask what YOU personally do to make strangers and visitors feel welcome and among friends in your parish. Nothing? Well, then don’t stop others from being friendly to strangers.

And the greeting of strangers in the narthex does NOT prevent Catholics who prefer silence from having silence once they are in the nave.

Catholics who expect all people to be silent all around them as they make their way into the nave are expecting too much from mere human beings. I absolutely agree that hilarity, brashness, loud guffaws of laughter, flirting, detailed analyses of sports and entertainment, etc. are not appropriate in the lobby in such close proximity to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

But quiet, friendly, pleasant greetings and smiles of welcome are very appropriate for Christians. We no longer live in a time when Protestants and non-Christians stay away from Mass. We live in a time when Protestants are seeking. Catholics need to help them to “find Jesus.” The good old days when everyone in the Catholic Church was in the know about “traditions” (small t) are gone. You are now living in the age when Protestants are coming home. Again, thank GOD! LET THEM COME IN and welcome them home.

One might argue that there are other venues where Catholics can demonstrate love to visitors and strangers. What are those venues? And how do you personally demonstrate love to the visitors and strangers who come to your parish?

Protestant and others don’t KNOW anyone in the parish, so they aren’t going to be coming to dinner at your house, or going to the game party at your friend’s house, or going out to breakfast with the gang after Mass.

Coffee and donuts? That might work. But it happens AFTER Mass. If no one has greeted the Protestant by the time Mass is over, many Protestants will leave, because they have reached the conclusion by then that the church is unfriendly. Protestants are not the most tolerant people, in case you haven’t noticed. You need to convince them that the coffee and donuts will be a pleasant experience, not just more of the same “silent treatment,” which, to them, means hostility and unfriendliness.

As an ex-Protestant, I can assure the OP that the friendly greeters played a major role in helping my husband and me to eventually convert to Catholicism. At the time we started attending Mass, we desperately needed a friendly face and a word of welcome. These dear people (most of them elderly) provided that friendly home feeling for us, and made us feel that we were among friends, not cultists or pagans.

OP, greeters should be trained to be sensitive to people and to bypass those who appear to desire anonymity and silence. For all others, there is no need for an overly-enthusiastic “used car salesperson” approach. Just a warm smile, a “Hello, welcome.” A handshake isn’t necessary unless someone new offers a hand.

Finally, to those who think greeters are intrusive, I would say that they need to remember that the Mass is not all about them.

I like greeters. They help to show the hospitality of Heaven, of which church is an eschatological sign. Plus, for all we know, they might be doing something good for Confirmation. Thanks be to the Lord Jesus for giving me that experience as a Confirmatioin candidate; He’s made more understanding toward the church greeters.

and think about it, if we have greeters outside or at the door, we don’t have to go through that non-liturgical meet and greet inside, during Mass, after the initial blessing, we can stick to the greeting and exchange of peace that is liturgical.

Although I don’t think they are absolutely necessary, especially in some parishes where they are totally open and friendly to each other anyway, I also don’t think that they do any harm.

At my parish, they have greeters. Our parish is very transient in terms of lots and lots of visitors, then young professionals who are part of the parish, but move in and out of the city, students who might be there for four years and then leave the city once they graduate, and finally those parishioners who are pretty much there for the “long haul”. Our hymnals, missalettes, liturgy sheets, Latin OF mass booklets, etc are kept locked up and are distributed prior to mass and then collected either at the entrances/exits or in the pews by the greeters/ushers after mass. (They are locked up because they tend to get stolen, defaced, ripped up by people who come into the church during the week since it’s kept open during the work day for people to come in to pray. Unfortunately, though, since you are in a city, you also get people who aren’t necessarily there for prayer.)

So, we needed these greeters to be able to give out books/sheets. I have noticed through the years, prior to having greeters, that the visitors, new parishioners, and students, would never know where to get the needed hymnals, sheets and especially the Latin mass booklets (when people realized that the mass was in Latin, you’d see a bunch of people look around to find out where to get the booklets that others may have so people would either share with them or help them get a booklet), even though they’d be out in full view at the entrances and exits.

The greeters at our church aren’t overly effervescent, they don’t touch you or are overwhelming (I’m a major introvert myself, so I’m not crazy about the over-friendly approach). It’s just right. They say good morning, how are you and hand you the hymnals and sheets for the mass, as well as help any newcomer/visitor out. I

At the parish where I work, the pastor (who is the only priest there) is out front of the church every Sunday morning about a half hour prior to mass and says good morning to all the parishioners and also the visitors (again this is in the city). About 10 minutes before mass he will go in to get dressed, then back to the entrance of the church from where he also processes.

It’s a little contrived and phoney, although I think greeters are trying to be nice. If Catholics were more friendly in the first place, we wouldn’t need greeters.

As a side note, at any of the EF masses I’ve attended, they almost always had greeters. It was a wonderful balance of being friendly outside of the church and before/after mass, but once you entered the church, it was totally about the God and the mass.

Our priests will also do this many times on a nice weather day outside. He however, unlike your pastor, does get dressed before any of us get a chance to see him.

Finally, to those who think greeters are intrusive, I would say that they need to remember that the Mass is not all about them

A rather quaint statement. So what about the infusion of noise and unnecessay chatter happening at the entrance of the Church causing a disturbance with their fellow Catholics who are trying to pray ? Rather uncharitable if you ask me since the House of God is foremost one of Prayer, not some meeting house. Originally an Ushers role was to greet and welcome people to each Liturgy as well as be available to assist as need arises throughout the Mass. It’s unnecesarily redundant to have Greeters fulfill this role.
Unless of course priests don’t see a need for Ushers. A little common dog sense goes a long way. Maybe their are Catholics who would rather see the Catholic Church become
like some Protestant meeting hall on Sunday morning. I’m not one of them. With the looming threat of the N1H1 virus ever present, many Catholics might feel compelled as an act of charity to shake a greeters hand if it was extended. Not much thinking goes behind closed doors at every Parish council meeting on this topic.

I’ve met greeters at the door of most OF or EF masses I attend in Austin. Having someone hold the door for you with a smile is nice, but not in any way necessary. At the EF Mass it was expecially appreciated because the first few times I came I really did need some guidance as to what to do, where to sit, how to read the missal, etc. lol.

Not sure if I should lump this in with the greeters, except that usually it’s the same people…But what I really, *really don’t *like are the overzealous ushers who try to herd you into a certain pew, and get a little…well I’ve seen some almost hostile behavior from these ladies. It was genteel and smiling, but it was hostility nonetheless. These are the same people who bar the doors when you come late and make you stand in the narthex until they’re good and ready to let you inside. Sometimes it’s not till the first reading, sometimes not till the homily. Depends how late you are I guess. They stand there like Swiss guards. I once saw someone who was obviously not understanding the “rules” try to go in one of the back side doors and she was physically stopped. To these people I want to say “get over yourself and your ‘job’ ok?” lol. As long as we’re leaving aside the pews for handicapped parishoners, we should be able to sit wherever we want to.

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