St. Thomas Parish Calendar

Sacraments & Rights

Baptism

From the earliest times, the Church, to which the mission of preaching the Gospel and of baptizing was entrusted, has baptized not only adults but children as well. Our Lord said, “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.” The Church has always understood these words to mean that children should not be deprived of baptism, because they are baptized in the faith of the Church, a faith proclaimed for them by their parents and godparents, who represent both the local Church and the whole society of saints and believers.

Parents wishing to present their children for Baptism are invited to contact the parish office and arrange a personal meeting with the Pastor to begin preparations for this joyful celebration of new life in Christ.

Communal celebrations of Baptism are celebrated on the last Sunday of the month at 12:00 noon. On occasion, the Sacrament of Baptism may be celebrated at Sunday Mass or at other times under special circumstances.

Children who have completed their seventh year (usually in grade three) are required to celebrate all three Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist). A special parish program of formation is provided for them and their families.

First Communion

Children who have reached the age of seven years are invited to come to the Eucharistic Table for the first time, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Catechetical preparation is provided in our Catholic School and, for children not attending the Catholic School, through the Diocesan catechetical program. The reception of First Communion marks the beginning of a lifetime of full participation at the Sunday Eucharist.

Parents who wish to present their children for First Communion are invited to an information meeting at the Parish in the fall of the year. Watch the bulletin and website for details. Following this information meeting, they are invited to make a personal appointment with the Pastor to begin the preparation which includes participation at Sunday Mass and interviews with the Pastor and families. At the conclusion of the preparation, a date is set for the celebration of First Communion.

First Communions are usually celebrated during the Easter Season.

First Reconciliation

The Lord Jesus has entrusted to the Church his mission of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the great sign of God’s mercy and forgiveness for all who have failed to live fully their baptismal life in Christ. As St. Ambrose reminds us, the Church “possesses both water and tears, the water of baptism and the tears of repentance.”

Children preparing for First Communion are prepared also to celebrate this Sacrament of God’s mercy and forgiveness and given the opportunity to celebrate this Sacrament prior to First Communion. Catechetical preparation is provided in our Catholic School and, for children not attending the Catholic School, through the Diocesan catechetical program. The reception of First Reconciliation takes place in the fall of the year immediately following their catechetical formation. Resources are provided by the Parish to assist families in the immediate preparation for the Sacrament.

Confirmation

The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist constitute the sacraments of Christian initiation. The Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated with adults immediately following their Baptism and before their first reception of the Eucharist.

Baptized children usually celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation following their First Communion. In the Diocese of Hamilton, children are invited to celebrate Confirmation in grade seven or later. The catechetical formation for this sacrament takes place in our Catholic School and, for children not attending the Catholic School, through the Diocesan catechetical program.

The preparation for Confirmation usually begins in the fall with a meeting with the Pastor, parents and children who are presenting themselves for this Sacrament. At this time registration information and the date of Confirmation are communicated, as well as details regarding interviews and the retreat day, which are part of the immediate parish preparation program. Watch the bulletin and website for details.

Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

Adults who are interested in the Catholic faith and wish to become members of the Catholic Church, are invited to contact the parish office to arrange a personal meeting with the Pastor. The preparation for Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist) includes weekly meetings (usually beginning in September and concluding shortly after Easter), and attendance at the Sunday Eucharist, which is the heart of a Catholic way of life.

The formation for Adult Initiation takes place as a collaborate ministry of St. Joseph Parish, Canadian Martyrs Parish and the Cathedral Basilica Parish. Meetings are held on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. The associated rites are celebrated in the respective parishes.

Adults who have been baptized in other Christian churches who wish to become Roman Catholic are invited to join the non-baptized for all or part of this period of formation.

Marriage

Marriage between two Christians is a Sacrament – an effective sign that reveals and makes present the mystery of God’s love for humanity, and in particular, the mystery of Christ’s love for the Church, which is his Bride. It is always an occasion of great joy within the Christian community.

The marriage between a Catholic and non-Christian, although not a Sacrament, is likewise a celebration of the Church because it is an occasion of joy, which celebrates divine love and human love and the establishment of a new family.

Couples who are registered or living within our parish and who wish to celebrate their marriage at St. Joseph Parish are invited to contact the parish office to arrange a personal meeting with the Pastor.

Participation in a marriage preparation program is required for all couples celebrating their Marriage in our Parish.

In order to complete the marriage preparation program and assemble the necessary civil and church documents prior to Marriage, couples must contact the Parish at least six months prior to their proposed date of marriage.

Anointing of the Sick

Through the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, those members of the Church who are seriously ill receive the special help of God’s grace. In this Sacrament, the faithful are strengthened to fight against evil, are comforted by the Lord’s anointing and experience the healing power of Jesus, which he entrusted to the Church and its ministers. The Sacrament may be celebrated with those who are seriously ill, those with a lengthy or chronic illness, those preparing for surgery and may be repeated as desirable.

When a family member is seriously ill, either at home or in hospital or an extended care facility, please call the parish office to request a pastoral visit, which may include Communion and/or the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

If the sick person’s health is critical, and they are in danger of death, please contact the parish office to request the Sacrament. As soon as the Pastor is available, he will respond. If the person is in the hospital, the priest on-call can be contacted to provide the Sacrament.

Funerals

In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity. For Christians, the funeral rites are proclamations of our share in the Paschal Mystery, the death and resurrection of Christ.

It is customary to celebrate the death of a member of the Church in three stages: visitation at the funeral home with a Vigil of Prayer (usually the day before the Funeral), the Celebration of Mass at the church, and the Rite of Committal at the cemetery.

It is the preference of the Church that the body of the deceased is present for the Funeral Mass; however, it is also possible to have the cremated remains present for the Mass.

In particular circumstances the Funeral Mass may be replaced with a Funeral Liturgy (Liturgy of the Word only) celebrated in the church or funeral home.

When death occurs, family members are asked to contact the parish office for an appointment to plan the funeral rites for their loved ones. Arrangements for the funeral liturgies are to be made with the parish prior to meeting with the funeral home.