St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church
We, the parish family of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, proclaim our belief in the message and mission of Jesus Christ. We are committed to sharing our time, talent and treasure through worship, spiritual formation and outreach.
New In-Person Mass Guidelines
Weekly Online Liturgy
Eucharistic Adoration will resume according to the regular schedule on Friday, May 15th.
Message from Father Ray
May 11, 2020
I continue to remember each of you in my prayers during this very difficult time. I pray that God will watch over each of you.
Governor Kay Ivy has given permission for public worship services as long as social distancing and other precautions are taken. Bishop Robert Baker has lifted the suspension of public Masses inside Churches effective Wednesday, May 13th.
St. Thomas will celebrate public Masses inside the Church beginning on that day. However, we must remain aware of the very serious danger of the coronavirus. This pandemic continues to plague our state and the whole world. People continue to get sick and to die from this virus. Thus, we must act prudently to protect the safety and well-being of all.
Thus, I offer the following guidelines for St. Thomas:
- No one is to attend Mass if they feel sick.
- There is a general dispensation from attending Mass to anyone with health concerns that would lead them to fear contracting the virus.
- Holy Water and Hymnals have been removed from Church.
- Aisles are one-way marked by signs.
- Social distancing will be required in the Church.
- Face Masks are required to attend Mass.
- St. Thomas will provide Face Masks for those who need them.
- Offertory baskets will not be passed person to person.
- The Sign of Peace is retained but without physical contact.
- Communicants are to observe social distancing in the Communion line.
- Holy Communion will not be offered from the chalice.
- Communicants are strongly encouraged to receive Communion in the hand.
- Social distancing will be required entering and exiting the Church.
- Congregating will not be permitted in the Gathering Area.
- Dismissal after Mass will be by rows directed by Father Ray.
- After dismissal, no one is to remain in the Gathering Area.
- People may visit using social distancing in the Parking Lot.
I would emphasize the general dispensation from attending Mass. There is still a danger of contracting this deadly illness. When in doubt, I would urge you to err on the side of caution.
I would emphasize the request to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Many bishops are requiring this procedure. This is not only for your health and well-being, but also for the health and well-being of your neighbor.
St. Thomas posted an online liturgy on our website on May 3rd and May 10th. We plan to continue with online posting of the weekend liturgy for the benefit of our parishioners who are not yet comfortable attending Mass in person.
In order to observe social distancing, the Church capacity will be less than 50% of normal capacity. People who arrive after all the seats in Church have been filled will be asked to go to the courtyard. We plan to have speakers there, and people will be able to come into Church to receive Holy Communion at Communion time in the liturgy.
There will be limited seating. One parishioner who attends daily Mass suggests that those attending daily Mass might omit Sunday Mass to allow others to have the limited seating.
Since I had tested positive for the coronavirus, I felt that it was important to thoroughly clean and disinfect the Church. For that purpose, I contacted ServPro. Last month, ServPro sent a team of workers to offer a deep cleaning and a thorough disinfection of the Church. Additionally, St. Thomas will disinfect the Church after each Mass.
Thank you for your very generous support of our parish. Many parishioners have continued to give financially to the parish during this time of suspension of public Masses. However, during this crisis our parish income had decreased. I invite you to mail your contributions to St. Thomas.
St. Thomas also offers an opportunity of electronic giving through Faith Direct. You will receive a letter and an email message from me inviting you to consider using Faith Direct for your contributions to the parish. There is a Faith Direct link on the parish website. Many parishioners use Faith Direct, and their contributions have been very important to our parish finances.
For me personally, I am very grateful for all your prayers and support. I am getting better each day.
I pray that God will protect you and your family from the Coronavirus and every other illness.
Weekday Mass Cancellation Process
We had some dangerous weather in our area recently and the decision about whether there would be weekday Mass arose. After much thought and prayerful consideration of the safety needs of the parish, St Thomas will approach the decision about weekday Mass in this way. During the school year, if Alabaster Schools cancel school due to issues regarding the weather, there will NOT be Mass that morning. This approach will be followed to ensure the safety of all. During the summer and on weekends, if Mass is to be canceled, it will be posted on the parish website. Thank you for your understanding with regard this policy