My brothers and sisters in the Lord,
I am delighted to welcome you to worship once again in St. Thomas Church and Chapel. I hope that during these stressful days the ways of participating in prayer, especially our Sunday worship, has provided you with spiritual nourishment as we sacrificed our worship together out of our commitment to the common good and Jesus’ command that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Yet this strange situation in which physical proximity has had to be tempered by “social distancing” has caused me to feel for you as St. Paul felt for the Philippians when he was separated from them, “For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:7). As I said in one of my homilies, before we reach the paradise of being together in complete peace and security, we have to go through purgatory. You will see below the details of this purgatory. In reading this message, please be aware that Bishop Barres has extended the dispensation from Sunday Mass attendance for now. Further, those particularly vulnerable due to age, underlying conditions or both should take advantage of this dispensation.
In His peace,
Msgr. Frank Maniscalco
How do I participate in weekend Mass?
- Wearing a mask covering your nose and mouth is required for attending Mass. Please supply your own. (NOTE: Masks or facial coverings should not be worn by children under two years of age or by anyone with breathing difficulties.)
- Your temperature will be checked before coming into the church or chapel.
- Observe social distancing and respect the desire of others to keep their distance.
- Keep a log of which Masses you attend.
What can I expect when I arrive for Weekend Mass?
- Plan to arrive early to have your temperature checked. This will occur outdoors.
- A mask will be required from the time you leave your vehicle until you return. You will NOT be admitted to Mass without a mask.
- Enter through the front doors of both church and chapel. Signs will appear on all other doors directing you to the front doors.
- Please remain at least six feet away from others as you wait your turn to check-in.
- Once you enter the building, ushers will be present to assist you in choosing an appropriate socially-distanced seat. Please cooperate with them. If you find your usual seat already taken, please, in charity, choose another. Those sharing the same household may sit together in the rows where more space is allotted. Couples/individuals should sit in the other rows.
- Once you arrive at your seat, please remain in place for the duration of the Mass.
- Please be on time. Latecomers might not be seated.
What will be different about Mass?
- The celebrant will not process or recess; there will be no presentation of gifts, sign of peace or congregational singing (although there will be music supplied by a cantor and organist).
- Accommodations have been made for people with mobility issues. Those who need the elevator must wait to be brought to it by an usher and allow him/her to call it and send it to the church level.
- The bathroom will be available only in emergencies. Please inform an usher if you must use the bathroom. Only the one in the vestibule will be open.
- Collection: We continue to recommend online donations. (Click here for details.) For those who bring donations with them, a collection box is available as you enter the worship space.
- Holy Communion will be distributed at all parish Masses, both weekend and weekday, including funerals and nuptial Masses.
- Departure - exit in the front of the church/chapel, row by row, following the directions of the ushers and maintaining proper social distancing. Please do not leave anything behind. Once you have exited you will not be able to reenter. Each household is invited to take a printed bulletin on the way out of Mass.
- The celebrant and deacon will not be available for greeting or conversation before or after Mass.
Will I notice anything different about the church/chapel?
- To ensure appropriate social distancing, not all pews will be available for use.
- Where there were cushions, they have been removed.
- All missalettes, cards with the parts of the Mass and other printed material have been removed from the pews and the book racks emptied.
How do I celebrate the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation/Confession)?
- Confessions are heard in the Parish Center (downstairs from the Main Church) on Saturdays from 11:00AM to Noon.
- Please wear a mask.
- Confessions can be heard by appointment. Please call 516-489-8585.
What if I’m uncomfortable with coming back to Church right now?
- Don’t be concerned. Bishop Barres has extended dispensation from Sunday Mass attendance for now. Further, no one should participate in the Eucharist if he or she has any symptoms indicating others might be put at risk. To do this is to observe the second of the Two Great Commandments, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is an act of worship in itself.
- The 10:30AM Mass from St. Thomas the Apostle is being livestreamed each Sunday morning. Click here to view it.
What about Baptisms, Funerals and Weddings?
- Please call the rectory office (516-489-8585) to make these arrangements.
How do I make a Mass Intention?
- Call the rectory office (516-489-8585).
How can I help?
- While the transmission of the virus is still a possibility, the church and chapel will have to undergo more regular cleaning and disinfecting than in the past. Volunteers willing to help with this are greatly appreciated.
- Volunteers able to assist with the check-in and seating process at weekend Masses are also crucial as we strive to maintain appropriate social distancing.
- Please call the rectory office at 516-489-8585 if you are available to assist with any of these new Mass procedures.