PARISH REOPENING

Parish reopening

We are eager to welcome you back to Holy Mass and the celebration of the Eucharist at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.   During Phase 1 of reopening our parish, we have been welcoming parishioners to daily Mass Monday through Saturday.  As we begin Phase 2 we will add two weekend Masses to the schedule.  Unfortunately, the threat of COVID-19 is still with us and we must therefore follow strict guidelines as we continue with the process.

As you know, our reopening will be gradual and we want to thank you for your prayers and patience during this entire transition and pandemic.  Please take some time to review the following and be aware of what to expect when you return to Mass.

Sunday Mass Obligation

It is important to remember that the dispensation of the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days remains in effect in the Archdiocese during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We encourage you to watch the weekend Masses that are being live-streamed on our website: www.stasugarland.com

 We encourage those who are most vulnerable and at-risk to stay home.  If you have any underlying health issues, please view the Mass from your home. Who are those?

  • 65 and over
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Moderate to severe asthma
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney and liver disease
  • Weakened immune system

At any age if you are sick, coughing, have a fever or at risk in any way, please do not come to church.

We also ask that you do not bring children under the age of six for Mass at this time.  This is for their own protection.  The Cry Room will be closed.

Church Capacity 

To meet with Governor Abbott's requirements we will only allow a 25% capacity of people at each Mass.  For our St. Thomas Aquinas parish that is a total of 140 people for each Mass. 

If we reach the allowed capacity at any Mass, please be understanding if the usher informs you that we cannot take any more into the church.  Do not be offended, we are just following the procedures we are required to observe.

Mass Times

Daily Mass Monday through Saturday
8:00 AM with the Sanctuary open 7:30AM – 9:00 AM.

Wednesday
7:00 PM Mass  

Saturday (Beginning May 30)
5:00 PM Mass

Sunday (Beginning May 31)
9:00 AM Mass

Sacrament of Reconciliation

By request following Daily Mass on Monday and Tuesday.
Masks must be worn when going to Confession.

Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals

Contact the parish office.

Office Hours

Monday-Thursday: 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 7:30 AM - Noon


What will this reopening look like…?

Masks
All persons are required to wear a mask covering mouth and nose at all times in the church.

Put on your mask before you enter the church.

Please research the proper use of masks.  Constantly touching the mask or getting close to others with a mask on defeats the purpose.

All the entrance doors to the church will be locked except for one set of front doors.  Please use only these doors to enter and to exit the church.

Do not seat yourself.  Ushers will be there to guide you and seat you in the designated areas.

Some parts of the church will be closed off, please respect these areas.

The books and prayer guides will be removed for sanitation reasons.  If you would like to follow the readings we suggest you use your phone.  The Sunday readings can be found on www.usccb.org.

Safe Space: Social Distancing

Social distancing is a must! Every other pew will be used for seating and people will need to remain 6 feet apart unless you are from the same household.  

No physical contact during the Lord’s Prayer (no holding hands) and the Sign of Peace (no shaking hands). 

No congregating before or after Mass inside or outside the church.

Offertory

We are very grateful for your faithfulness in stewardship and your continued support is extremely important.  Ushers wearing mask and gloves will pass among you with collection plates.  Remember, you can also make your donation online or by dropping off or mailing your offertory to the parish office.

Procedure for Holy Communion

The procedure for distributing Holy Communion during Mass has been changed. The priest will no longer circulate among the congregation. The parishioners will now receive Communion at the altar.

Social distancing must be observed. Markers have been laid out on the sanctuary floor to make this easier. The ushers will guide the flow from the pews to the altar.

Communion will be given to the hand only. Keep your mask on as your receive the Blessed Sacrament. Move away from the altar before lowering your mask to consume the Host.

Sanitizing the Church

The church will be sanitized after each Mass. A team of volunteers will handle the sanitizing task.  Please do not try to sanitize your own area.  Certain sanitizing products can damage the finish and wood of the pews.  By allowing the volunteers to do the sanitizing we will avoid unintentional damage. 

Many cleaning supplies will be needed and some are difficult to purchase right now.  Please consider donating hand sanitizer, bleach-free disinfectant wipes or bleach-free disinfectant sprays.  Please drop off donations of sanitizing supplies at the parish office.

 

 

Facilities

Meetings and Gatherings

No meetings or gatherings for ministries, prayer groups or social groups will be allowed at STA facilities during the months of May, June and July.

Rentals

None of the STA facilities will be available for rental during the months of May, June and July.

Church and Chapel

The Church will be open for Mass and prayer only during the times listed above.

The Chapel will continue to be closed.  There will be no Exposition of the Holy Eucharist until further notice.

 

We’re in this together

We need your understanding and patience as we gradually transition back to normal operations.  Your health and safety is our top priority.  You help us by your presence, by your understanding, by your willingness to help when called upon. We will continue to keep you updated of any changes that are made.  Thank you and God bless you and your family.