Mass for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 2, will be held inside the Church. The Bishop has lifted the Sunday Obligation, so you do not need to attend Mass. We ask that those who are in the risk group, are feeling ill, are immunocompromised, or caring for someone who is, to refrain from attending Mass and join us for the 9:30 a.m. livestream from home.
At St. Thomas Aquinas parish, we celebrate Mass in both the Ordinary Form (English), and the Extraordinary Form (Latin). The 5:30 p.m. Vigil, and the 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. Mass are in English. The 11:30 a.m. Mass is offered as a Latin Mass.
We have the pews marked accordingly (every-other row) to observe the proper space between families. Each angled section of a pew will allow one family to sit together. Pews are taped off to separate the sections and to give a clear idea as to how families can choose the pew they sit in. Please arrive at church at least 10 minutes before Mass begins. If you are not on time for Mass, your spot may be given away to someone else, and you will have to sit in the courtyard.
This layout allows for 50 households to attend each Mass. Not only does this help us make sure we do not have too many people, but it helps the priests know how many communion hosts to consecrate. If you do not signup, you may attend, but must sit outside in the courtyard.
- In the "My Comment" box, write the number of people who will be attending as part of your family household. Please only put the number (for example "2" and not "2 persons")
Please watch this short video before signing up and read all of the instructions below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O__9Lyg1LuU&feature=youtu.be
Please read the following new protocols that will be in place as we worship inside:
- Parish ID: We will not turn away the faithful from the sacraments. However, we do ask that if you are not a registered member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church to refrain from signing up for a Mass slot until Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m., so that our pastors can serve their flock first. Anyone is welcome to register online on our website.
- Outdoor seating: We are maintaining a maximum of 50 families inside the Sanctuary. Ushers will be checking names so as to know we have enough space inside. If you show up to Mass without signing up first, we ask that you wait inside the Narthex prior to the beginning of Mass. If a slot opens up, we welcome you to sit inside. Otherwise, a full sign up will allow you to attend Mass in our courtyard if you did not sign up.
- Entrance & Exit: We are utilizing most of the entrances available in the church besides the main entrances. You can find them in the corners of the church by the Cry Room and the Columbarium. You are welcome to use these to enter the church. We ask that if you use the side doors to choose a pew on that side of the church so that foot traffic is kept at a minimum. The ushers will be helping to space people out as they enter and exit the church. When leaving the church at the end of Mass, please utilize all of the exits inside so that there is no crowded bottleneck in the Narthex. Follow the guidelines and directions of the ushers please.
- The seating arrangement allows for proper distancing between families. If you are on the edge of the pew, please try giving enough space for those who pass by in the aisle during communion.
- Pews are marked with blue tape to illustrate where it divides for a new family. It follows the natural curvature of the design. Some pews are shorter; some are longer. If you are a part of a smaller family, try to find a smaller section so that we may utilize the longer pews for larger families. Once again, please come early.
- The Worship Aid is available in the Narthex. Please take the copy you use home with you and do not return. Thank you!
- For Communion, ushers will guide each individual family as to when to get up to receive, and the rail will be sanitized after each family has received. Do not get up to receive Communion until the usher guides you.
- Offertory baskets will not be passed around. We ask that you drop off your envelope in the marked baskets that are stationary around the church.
- Restrooms need to be used at home before you come -- Bathrooms are for emergency use only. Children may feel antsy (and bored) being back at Mass, but please do not have them use the restroom as a means of distraction. It's important that we minimize the spread and transfer of any germs at this time. The water fountain has also been disabled.
- The Cry Room is available to comfort a distraught child. We ask that you do not use this room as a place to attend Mass because of the close proximity of individuals and the limited circulation of air inside. While the Narthex is also accessible to comfort your child, we encourage you to go outside in the courtyard for a brief period before returning to the church. We will be broadcasting Mass from speakers so you can still hear what is going on.
- Sanitizing Wipes: If you have saniziting wipes, please bring them along with you and wipe down any surfaces that may have been touched by your family. You can do this at the conclusion of Mass before you leave.
- Praying after Mass: You can stay after Mass for private prayer. We've been separated for a long time, so if you wish to catch up with friends, please do it outside in the courtyard after Mass.
- Video with Directions: We recorded a short video for you to visually see how we have the church set up for this weekend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O__9Lyg1LuU&feature=youtu.be Please watch it and get yourself familar with the process.
We will have speakers outside broadcasting Mass, so for those who do not yet feel safe inside, and overflow seating, you are welcome to site in the courtyard, bring chairs, umbrellas, water, hats/sunscreens, etc. You can also bring your own pop up tent for shade if you wish. You will have the ability to receive Communion in the Parish Center. Please note that this is not for those who simply like sitting outside for Mass. Mass is properly, and ideally celebrated inside the Church. Please sign up and sit inside if you do feel safe doing so.
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