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
When will St. Thomas resume public Masses?
- Our first public Mass will be offered Saturday, June 13 at 5:00PM.
- Beginning the weekend of June 13/14, weekend Masses will be offered: Saturday 5:00PM (church), Sunday 10:00AM (church) and 11:00AM (chapel). Updates to this schedule will appear on the Weekend Mass Registration page (CLICK HERE).
- Beginning Monday, June 15, weekday Masses will be offered in the lower church at 9:00AM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Beginning Monday, July 6, weekday Masses will be offered in the lower church at 9:00AM Monday through Friday.
- Please be aware that Bishop Barres has extended the dispensation from Sunday Mass attendance for now. A Sunday Mass for viewing at home will still appear on our parish website each week.
How do I participate in weekend Mass?
- A reservation is required to attend a weekend Mass. Mass attendance will be capped at 140 persons in the church and 70 in the chapel.
- Reservations can be made on our parish website — CLICK HERE — or by calling the parish office (516-489-8585).
- Reservations close Friday at noon.
- Wearing a mask 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/chapel.
- Your name (as well as family members’ names) will be checked off on a reservation list as you enter.
What can I expect when I arrive for Weekend Mass?
- Plan to arrive early for the check-in process, which will occur outdoors and may be lengthy. A mask will be required from the time you leave your vehicle until you return.
- You will NOT be admitted without a mask or your name appearing on the reservation list.
- Plan to 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, you will be directed to a seat. Do not expect to take your usual seat. Families 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 even with a reservation will 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. For those who bring donations with them, a collection box will be 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.
- The celebrant and deacon will not be available for greeting or conversation before or after Mass.
How do I celebrate the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation/Confession)?
Beginning Saturday, June 27, confessions will be heard in the foyer of the school auditorium from 11:00AM to Noon. Please enter the auditorium by the door on the driveway between rectory and the school. If both doors to the foyer are closed assume that a confession is being heard and please remain as close to the stage as possible. If more than one is waiting, please keep six feet apart. All those going to confession must wear masks.
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.
What about Baptisms, Funerals and Weddings?
- Please call the rectory (518-489-8585) to make these arrangements.
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 bookracks emptied.
- Printed bulletins are not currently available.
Can I come and pray in the church during the day?
The lower church will be open for visits from 9:00AM to Noon, Monday through Friday.
There will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after the 9:00AM Mass until noon on Friday.
Visitors are asked if possible to have sanitizers with them and wipe down areas they use for visits.
How do I make a Mass Intention?
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 would be 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 at 516-489-8585 if you are available to assist with any of these new Mass procedures.