Weekly Update 9/17/2020
Feast of Saint Robert Bellarmine
Monday, September 21st, we begin the new shared Daily Mass Schedule with Saint Nicholas at Saint Nicholas Church.
Monday Mass at 8:00 am
Tuesday Mass at 9:00 am
Wednesday Mass, with the school children, at 9:00 am
Thursday Mass at 8:00 am
Friday Mass at 8 :00 am
Since the Activity Center needs to be used by the Preschool during the week, and our Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel is really too small to accommodate the current requirements of “social distancing,” for the time being, Saint Nicholas Church is the appropriate place for our daily Mass in Zanesville.
Ordinarily I will celebrate the Masses on Tuesday and Thursday. Father Ralko will celebrate the Monday and Friday Masses, and he and I will alternate the Wednesday Mass with the school children.
I will offer a private Mass in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel each Monday, and the Wednesdays I am not able to concelebrate. The Masses which were scheduled to be celebrated on Fridays at Saint Thomas have been moved to other days of the week which didn’t have a Mass Intention. With this schedule in place all the Daily Mass Intentions at Saint Thomas will be satisfied by me, either in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel or the Masses I celebrate at Saint Nicholas.
Based on your response to the proposals for new Saturday evening and Sunday morning Mass times, I will be informing you soon of my decision.
Saint Nicholas Church does not have the capacity to livestream the Daily Mass. Here at Saint Thomas we will continue to livestream our Sunday 11 am Mass each week. We are planning to increase livestreaming options at Saint Thomas by providing the Rosary on a more regular basis. We also have plans to livestream a weekly catechetical session which will be our RCIA program for now, and also provide other livestreamed adult education opportunities. The connection livestreaming affords us as a community has been invaluable during this unique moment. We want to continue this connection with you as we support each other and come together virtually as Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish.
From my heart to yours, in the hearts of Jesus and Mary—
Peace and blessing,
Mass Location Changes
With the start of preschool this Monday, August 24th, Daily Masses will be held in the Chapel in the Parish Center. Masses this upcoming week will be held at 8:30 am with Father Thomas as Celebrant as Father Sullivan is on vacation.
Due to social distancing protocols by the Governor and the Bishop, attendance will be limited in the Chapel for Daily Masses to approximately 12 people. Please accept our apologies, however, these Masses will be Live Streamed so that all may participate.
Weekly Update 9/9/2020
Feast of Saint Peter Claver
As the new school year begins– whether live, virtual or hybrid–and the parish’s activity starts up again, I want to take a moment to thank you for your patient endurance and steadfast devotion to Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish during this “new normal.” These days have been difficult for all of us, and your perseverance through it all has been a true blessing and witness to me, the staff of Saint Thomas and the greater community of Zanesville and Muskingum County.
Special thanks for your dogged remembrance to bring your missalette to Mass each weekend. Thanks, too, for remembering to sanitize your hands upon entering the Activity Center. Also, special recognition to all of you as together we wear the face masks! Its not easy–I know–but your commitment to this inconvenience is a great witness to your love of neighbor and concern for the common good.
I also want to commend those who stay after each Mass to help sanitize the chairs and doors, and points of entry. As they say, “Many hands make light work!” This past weekend was a great example, as we need a number of volunteers after the 11 am Sunday Mass to stack up the chairs and put in place the dividers to ready the gym for the Pre-School during the week. What took one person two hours was done by twenty individuals in 15 minutes!
Bishop Brennan, and the Bishops of Ohio, have informed us that the Dispensation from the Obligation to Attend Sunday Mass will be in place for the foreseeable future. I am happy we are able to provide the livestreamed Mass on Sunday to those who aren’t yet comfortable returning to public worship. I receive comments quite often from folks who really appreciate the opportunity to stay connected to the life of Saint Thomas Aquinas and our worship through these electronic means. I am happy we are able to provide this virtual connection to the Saint Thomas Aquinas Community and beyond.
We are doing everything we can to make our worship environment safe. I ask you who are healthy, those who have returned to work and to school to consider returning to Mass in person. We are all sanitizing. We are all wearing masks. We are all social distancing. Consider giving it a try. We would be happy to welcome you home!
From my heart to yours, in the hearts of Jesus and Mary—
Peace and blessing,
We are asking for a handful of volunteers Friday 9/11/2020 @ 3 p.m. to help set the gym up for weekend mass. With a handful of volunteers it should only take about 15-30 minutes. Thank you in advance for your help!
With the start of pre-school, the Activity Center can no longer be used for daily Mass. This requires that the Activity Center be dis-assembled at the conclusion of the Sunday 11 a.m. Mass. We are asking for a handful of volunteers to help with this process, it should only take about thirty minutes. Thank you in advance for your help!
Roof Shoring Project Approved
22 July 2020
Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene
I am happy to announce Bishop Brennan has approved Phase 1 of the project to repair the roof of our beloved Saint Thomas Aquinas Church. Phase 1 of the project is called the “Shoring Up Phase”. During this phase of the project, portable shoring towers will be located within the church to stabilize the roofing infrastructure and prevent any additional damage.
You may remember the church roof was condemned by local authorities on Ash Wednesday after the structural engineering analysis reported significant deterioration of the 178-year-old trusses supporting the roof of the church. Just 19 days later all public celebrations of Masses were suspended and the doors to churches were closed due to the spreading Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses, including construction companies and other building firms suspended their work, as well.
Through these ensuing four and a half months we have been laboring hard to put in place a plan to repair the trusses and provide new stability for the roof, as well as patch cracked plaster, repaint effected areas, repair disintegrating masonry on the clock tower and replace the clock dials and mechanism which allows the church bell to ring, calling us to prayer.
We have removed the acoustic tile ceiling in Rosary Hall and the underlying pressed tin ceiling. Finding asbestos insulation underneath the old tin ceiling, a company was hired to abate the asbestos. This work has been successfully completed since May. Our building engineering plans have been finalized, reviewed by the local building commission and approved. Special thanks to Mike Morris for all he has done to get us to this moment. His expertise and enthusiasm for our parish has been invaluable in this process.
The cost of Phase 1 of the project is significant and I want to share that cost with you. We have received a proposal for Phase 1 with a “not to exceed” cost of $276,963. That proposal has been accepted and work will begin very soon.
Phase 2 is the actual truss repair of the project.
Phase 3 consists of repair of cracked and damaged plaster, repainting in effected areas and the re-installation of pews, ambo, altar and other liturgical furnishings.
In order to achieve approval for the next phase of the repair project, Bishop Brennan will soon initiate discussion with the priests of the area to put in place a vision and long range plan, in conjunction with Saint Nicholas, Saint Ann and Saint Mary, that considers all strategic issues for the Catholic Community of Muskingum County over the next 10 to 20 years. Once that is completed, decisions can be made on how further resources are used at Saint Thomas.
The Catholic Church faces many challenges including:
- Decreasing number of priests
- Decreasing percentage of the population that practices the Catholic faith
- Decreasing resources to support existing ministries
Just to name a few.
The overall Saint Thomas Aquinas Roof Repair Project is a very big undertaking and the estimated total cost of all three phases is estimated not to exceed $1.7 million. That is a lot of money– to be raised over several years’ time—which, if approved, will require generous participation by us all.
Because of the past generosity of several individuals, now gone to their eternal reward, work can begin on Phase 1 of the project immediately. As we go forward, these funds will have to be replenished in our parish resources so Saint Thomas Aquinas Church can continue to provide spiritual support and ministry into the future.
Your love for and dedication to our venerable parish has been manifested to me time after time in the very short period I have been among you in Zanesville. Together we can do this, so that Saint Thomas Aquinas Church and the Catholic Community of Muskingum County can continue to serve the spiritual needs of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and the greater community of Zanesville for many years to come.
Trusting in God’s Providence, with faith and confidence in Jesus and His Holy Mother, supported by the intercession of Saint Patrick and Saint Thomas Aquinas, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Reverend JCP Sullivan