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Roof Shoring Project Approved

August 23, 2020

22 July 2020 

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene 


Dear Friends, 


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’ timewhich, 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 


Parish Priest  

Statewide Face Mask Mandate 

August 3, 2020

Dear Friends, 


This morning all Pastors and Administrators of our diocesan parishes received the following reminder from Monsignor Moloney, The Vicar General of the Diocese of Columbus, concerning the statewide mandated wearing of facemasks.  


I thank you for your charitable compliance with this order from the very beginning, and I want to pass on this reminder to all Saint Thomas Aquinas Parishioners as added encouragement for our continued safety. 

As a further reminder, signs will go up this week on the entrance doors of the Activity Center saying, “Face Masks Required.” 


Father Sullivan 


From Monsignor Moloney–  


The Chancery Office has received a number of calls from parishioners expressing concerns about lax compliance with the statewide mandatory “mask order” among those attending our churches and oratories. 

The statewide mandatory mask order requires everyone over age 10 coming to a public place of gathering (which includes churches) to wear a mask.  (Our own diocesan protocol is that everyone over age 2 must be masked.)  An exception is made for the “officiant” of a religious service.  This is generally understood as anyone having a speaking role:  e.g. celebrant, deacon, lector, or cantor.  There is also an exception for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons.  Such persons should be advised not to attend public gatherings at all, including coming to Mass due to their vulnerability to infection.  It should also be noted that those distributing communion must be masked while performing this function. 


 Because the wearing of masks is now mandated by the governor’s executive order, it is necessary for our parishes to enforce compliance with this order.  Lax compliance with this mandate on the part of the people attending Mass may result in problems not only for them, but also for the parish and the pastor or administrator.  Although we do not recommend confrontation, neither can non-compliance be ignored.  Pastors and Administrators are urged to take the steps necessary to ensure the fullest possible compliance with the mandatory mask order by all those who attend our churches. 



Parable Picnic The Prodigal Son

July 28, 2020

Friends, we made it! This is the final week for our online Vacation Bible School series. During the past five weeks, we journeyed across the roads of Israel and the Sea of Galilee, we learned about prayer and our part in growing the Kingdom of God. Today we conclude with a conversation about the Father’s generous gift of mercy.


The activities included in the workbook below provide options to help the lessons come alive for the little ones in your life. There is a participation certificate on page 2 for you to print, add your child’s name, and hang up at home as a reminder of our time together.


I hope you have enjoyed these weeks as much I have! It has been a lot of fun to share this time with you learning about Jesus’ parables. 


Many blessings for your family,



Parable Picnic Workbook_The Prodigal Son

Parable Picnics

July 20, 2020

Planting seeds is an act of hope. We cannot predict the results of the seeds that we sow. Last week we discussed the parable of the sower who generously spreads seeds on all types of ground, waiting in hope for a bountiful harvest. This week we will read the parable of the mustard seed. It reminds us that great things can spring from small beginnings. Just as Jesus began his earthly ministry calling his disciples one by one, a seed starts small and alone in the earth. His ministry grew and now influences hearts and souls throughout the entire world. Likewise, the mustard seed grows into a tree that provides a dwelling place for many types of birds.

You are invited to join us Tuesday at 11am on Facebook for our Parable Picnic VBS series. Whether you have been with us every week or this will be the first time, you are welcome!


Parable Picnic Workbook_The Mustard Seed

Weekly Update 7/16/2020

July 16, 2020


This week marks the halfway point in our online VBS series. Even if you haven’t joined us yet, it’s not too late! Each week is a stand-alone event and you are welcome to jump in anytime.

Last week we talked about how persistence in prayer can change our hearts and conform our desires to God’s will. Similarly, spending time diving into the figurative language of parables create time with the Lord for Him to change our hearts. We have time to marinate in the images and ideas that Jesus shares in the story. The more time we spend with it, the more it becomes part of us.

The activities included in the workbook below provide options to help the lessons come alive for the little ones in your life. They don’t require too much preparation; if you have some watermelon on hand and a cornhole game in your yard, then you are perfectly set up for this week’s discussion about the parable of the sower!

I hope you will make time to join us this week! If unable to attend live you can stream on YouTube at anytime. Access YouTube from our website home page.

Many blessings,


Parable Picnic Workbook_The Sower


Email scams continue to abound around the Diocese of Columbus, and here in our parish.  If you receive an email from someone claiming to be Father Sullivan or another staff person asking for a favor, please check the email address from where it came.  All parish correspondence will come from an email address ending in  Furthermore, it is very unlikely anyone at the parish, including Father Sullivan, would contact a parishioner in this way asking for a favor. Please be aware and stay safe!


We have an abundance of mail being returned, at the expense of the parish, from addresses that are no longer valid.  Please remember to inform the parish if you have moved by contacting Becky Howard.  Thank you for your assistance!


Several Mass intentions are available through the month of August. Please contact Becky Howard

@ 740-453-3301 Ext. 113 to schedule your intentions.

"Obedience unites us so closely to God that it in a way transforms us into Him,

so that we have no other will but His." -- Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church  •  144 N. 5th Street  •  Zanesville, OH 43701-3506  •  740-453-3301  •
Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church  •  144 N. 5th Street  •  Zanesville, OH 43701-3506

740-453-3301  •

Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church

144 N. 5th Street  •  Zanesville, OH 43701-3506


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