Dear Friends of St Thomas Aquinas Parish,
Every single one of us has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has disrupted our lives and caused much pain, suffering, and uncertainty. Though we may feel ourselves in a never-ending Lent, I hope that you might turn your mind and heart to the Risen Christ and find peace, joy, and light, here and now in this difficult time.
I also hope that our parish family has been a support to you in this crisis. Our work of helping people discover intimacy with Christ continues! Much has stopped in our world, but the work of the Church moves forward.
We are still preparing people for marriage and having (small!) weddings. We are still doing funerals. We are still running our great school and preparing people to receive sacraments of initiation (all online). We are still celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation with hundreds of people through Saturday drive-through confessions. We are bringing financial support and food to the poor in our community through our St. Vincent de Paul Society. We are reaching out to parishioners through phone trees, social media, videos, and live-stream Masses on the weekends.
I see something amazing happening. We have been brought to a new threshold. We are poised to reach, impact, and unite people in our parish like never before. Unlike perhaps any time in our lifetime, people are aware of their fragility and therefore also of their deep need for God and for what He alone gives: infinite love, truth, and life. And our parish is responding with love, energy, and creativity. I don’t think we’ll ever be the same.
That’s a wonderful thing! We are responding to the needs of our community in a new way. We’ve had thousands of people live stream our Masses. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that we had upwards of twenty thousand views on our parish website around the time of Holy Week. But I think what moves me the most is when, during this crisis, a young mom and her daughter spend a few minutes in quiet prayer in the church on a Tuesday morning. Or when an elderly man who has lost his vision kneels for an hour in the front pew in the empty church as he whispers his rosary. Or when a father leads his family in a simple online bible study even though he’s not sure he can do it “right.” We’re growing where it matters and that’s a great thing.
I want you to know that we can keep moving forward. We can be better as a parish than we’ve ever been before.
That is why I am asking for your help.
As you know, almost everything we do is offered for free. The financial support we receive goes right back into supporting our mission. Unfortunately, like so many of you, we have seen a steep decline in our essential revenues. I need your help to keep our operation stable and moving forward in this crucial time.
People in our community are suffering. Lost jobs, drained savings, failed opportunities. Parishioners have called me and emotionally told me that they are able to give half of their normal gift, or none at all. My response is, “God bless you! How can we help you?” I believe if we can help, we have a special God-given responsibility to do so. We are in this together!
If you can help financially, I humbly ask that you consider making a gift to St Thomas Aquinas parish and to support our mission of bringing Christ into people’s lives. In particular, our online giving really helps us become more stable and strong (www.stacc.net/ways-to-give.html). I’m grateful for your support in the past, and for your prayerful consideration of even more investment in our life-changing mission now.
Every day I pray for you and your family. There is great peace and joy in my heart knowing that the Risen Jesus is with us, leading us, and uniting us in his love. May he help us to trust him more than ever before.
Thank you for everything you are and do.
Yours in Christ and His Mission,
Fr John Muir
Pastor, St Thomas Aquinas Parish and School