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Parish Survey Update

March 2, 2021

We Want Your Feedback!



Throughout Lent, parishioners at every parish are being given the opportunity to participate in diocesan-wide survey called the Disciple Maker Index that looks at all aspects of parish life. This 75-question survey is available in hard copy at all parishes and digitally on all parish websites as a survey link between now and March 22. Don’t miss your chance to participate! IT IS CRITCAL THAT YOU PARTICIPATE IN THIS SURVEY FOR THE GOOD OF OUR PARISH! REMEMBER EVERY MEMBER OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD OVER 18 CAN PARTICPATE IN THE SURVEY!


Click here for Survey


To date we have a total of 255 surveys have been completed. Thank you for your Participation. 

The Diocese of Columbus announces Real Presence, Real Future, a strategic initiative aimed at expanding the presence of Christ throughout the Diocese over the next two years and preserving the Faith for future generations. Watch the message from Bishop Brennan:


This initiative aims to re-imagine how the Church serves her people through a process or listening to the needs of the people, hearing their ideas, concerns, and desires. This planning and consultation phase will be held throughout 2021 and the findings will be implemented over the next few years. The full scope of the Real Presence, Real Future initiative will prepare the Diocese to increase its Catholic presence over the next 10 to 20 years and is intended to meet the many needs of the Diocese of Columbus’ diverse areas and ethnicities, emphasizing the utilization of active diocesan priests and deacons, mission-oriented parishes and schools, and all other available resources.


Real Presence, Real Future Priorities:

  • Engaging all Catholics to reflect upon the real presence of the Lord in their lives and how they can share that presence with others.
  • Articulating a plan for a comprehensive Catholic presence for each county/deanery by integrating missionary outreach, parish and school footprints, and leadership requirements for the next five years.
  • Defining and developing the necessary Diocesan resources structures to support priests, deacons, and lay leaders in parishes and schools.

Real Presence, Real Future will be driven by six evangelization subcommittees:

  • Forming parish missionary disciples
  • Increasing the Catholic presence and outreach to university campuses
  • Using digital and social communications for evangelization
  • Deploying lay missionaries in parishes and schools
  • Forming Catholic school faculty and staff in missionary discipleship
  • Creating a soft-entry center focused on outreach to the religiously non-affiliated

Stay informed about Real Presence, Real Future

  • Log on to the Real Presence, Real Future website as the primary source for information about this initiative and will be routinely updated to provide the latest information and opportunities for feedback and consultation.
  • Attend parish-level consultations in the fall to hear first-hand how this will impact your parish and grow the presence of the Church throughout the Diocese of Columbus.
  • Read information in The Catholic Timesas well as other news sources such as St. Gabriel Radio AM 820/FM 88.3.
  • Subscribe to the monthly Real PresenceReal Future e-newsletter. This monthly email will provide updates about this initiative and keep people informed throughout this two-year process. You can sign up here:

Important Message from Bishop Brennan

February 27, 2021

Please click below regarding the important message from Bishop Brennan about Real Presence, Real Future.


Real Presence, Real Future | Announcement – YouTube

Letter from Father Sullivan

February 11, 2021

Dear Friends, 


I went to Lourdes for the first time at the conclusion of my second year in seminary.  In those days the foundation of the second year of theological preparation was service to the sick.  As part of my preparation for priestly ministry I had been assigned to Washington Hospital Center as a student chaplain and participated in weekly Clinical Pastoral Education courses.  The courses were grueling, self-reflective group sessions which could often be quite brutalso much so that going and visiting serious and terminally ill patients in the hospital was a bit of a relief. 


It was during those hospital visits that I came in contact with a wide range of human illness and suffering.  From simple surgical procedures to chronically and terminally ill cancer patients.  I visited them all during that year and offered to pray with them.  I was only thrown out of a room once, presumably because of the Roman collar I was wearing. 


As the culmination of that experience I had the opportunity to go to Lourdes and make a retreat reflecting on my year ministering to the sick.  One of the religious sisters on the seminary faculty encouraged me to go, and insisted I be sure to take the bath in the famous spring waters flowing from the grotto of the apparition.  Her enthusiastic recommendation I found rather surprising as she wasn’t the type of nun who would seem otherwise enthused about apparitions and miracles. 


I arrived in Lourdes mid-May, really before the pilgrimage season had begun in earnest, and remember the sense of quiet and solitude that enveloped the entire area devoted to prayer and care for the sick at the great shrine.  I stayed for several days, taking up residence in the City of Saint Peter, a youth camp/hostel, where young people from around the world visiting Lourdes could stay at a very reasonable rate, with dormitory accommodations and mess hall type cuisine. 


Practically by myself, the days were filled with Masses, rosaries and solitude.  The other sites associated with the life of Bernadette formed a type of walking pilgrimage through the town, so during my stay I made my way to the old, abandoned jail that was her family’s home at the time of the apparition, the mill where her father had worked and where the family had spent her early years, the site of her birth, the parish church, the school Bernadette had attended and the convent where the sisters lived and where Bernadette took refuge after the apparition and whose community she would eventually join.  Each site had its own charm, and the spirit of the very simple, sickly, pious young girl who had difficulty remembering her catechism seemed to fill every space.  


Each day was highlighted by several visits to the grotto where the Immaculate Lady appeared to Bernadette.  The ground before the grotto is covered with a terrazzo floor, decorated with crosses and stars, as I remember.  The pattern is interrupted by a simple square, whose mosaic inscription reads, “Place Ou Priait Bernadette le 11 Fevrier 1858” —The Place Where Bernadette Prayed the 11th of February 1858— Each visit I tried my best to get nearest that spot to meditate upon the rosary, as Bernadette had done, and gaze up at the little opening in the cave to rest my eyes upon the place where she had seen the Lady who is the Immaculate Conception. 


Coming to the last day of my retreat, I still had not yet taken the bath, as Sister had so unexpectedly recommended.  Finally making my way past the grotto to the baths, I entered the section for men and waited for only a short while before I was admitted to the preparation room.  Removing my clothes, and wrapped in a very large and wet towel, I was led into the private area just before entering the bath itself.  Several men, speaking only French, ushered me inside and gave me instructions as to the procedure.  Taking me by the hands, they led me into the waters I was handed a small statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and asked to say a prayer.  I prayed the “Our Father” in French as all the gentlemen joined in.  In my heart, I was remembering all those sick and ill patients I had visited throughout the last year.  I remembered their sufferings and fears as I brought it all to the Mother of Jesus asking her intercession as I entered the waters of healing.  Quickly plunged under the ice-cold waters by my new sympathetic French friends, I was just as quickly placed back on my feet, then ushered to the dressing room where I dried off, retrieved and put on my clothing and was led back outside.  It all happened so quickly, but almost instantaneously a sense of great peace and love descended upon my soul. 


Today, February 11, 2021, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and commemorate the World Day of the Sick.  It has been 163 years since Mary appeared to Bernadette eighteen times from February 11, 1858 to July 16, 1858.  This year’s celebration occurs during the pandemic which we have all been enduring for almost a year.  The changes we have had to adjust to.  The new priorities we have put in place.  The illness and death which has touched so many of us.  All of these we bring to the Lady who, when informing Bernadette who she was said quite simply, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” 


Today I receive my first vaccination, how coincidental—no, ProvidentialI should receive it on this day. 


From my heart to yours, in the hearts of Jesus and Mary,  

Father Sullivan. 

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. 



"The soul is like an uninhabited world that comes to life only

when God lays His head against us." -- 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


© 2021   Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church
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