Sacraments

Gifts of God’s Presence

 

Sacraments point to and are channels of God’s grace, working as a means of communication between God and His people. At St. Thomas the Apostle, we rejoice in rich celebrations of these gifts from God.

Baptism

Baptism is a Sacrament of Initiation into the Catholic Church and into our faith community. At St. Thomas the Apostle, baptisms are celebrated monthly. The ceremony begins toward the end of the 11am Eucharist, with the presentation of the child to the community (including the naming of the child and the statement of intention from the parents and godparents and the promise of support from the community). The ceremony continues immediately after Mass.

We encourage parents to consider Baptism by full immersion in the font. Though not required, the symbolism of this action is rich and full, and a long-standing part of the Christian baptismal tradition. If desired, Baptism can also be celebrated with the simple pouring of water over the child’s head. Both forms are explained in greater detail during the preparation session.

If the regular schedule of Baptism dates is a problem for families, we will work with you to make alternative arrangements.

General Guidelines

For Infants and Children up to age 6

Parents wishing to present their children for Baptism are expected to:

  • Be registered members of the parish and active in the life of the community. Register online here>
  • Participate in the preparation session (offered monthly)

Please call the parish office to schedule Baptism and a preparation session. Parents are encouraged to call well before the anticipated date of Baptism and can take the preparation class at any time.

For Children age 7 and older

Contact Bill Nolan to discuss the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children

For Adults

Refer to the information in the RCIA section on this same page.

 

Reconciliation

(Including First Reconciliation for Children)

The Sacrament of Reconciliation calls us to deeper appreciation of God’s love and mercy and the recognition of our need for forgiveness in all our relationships – with God, with our neighbor, and with ourselves.

Through this Sacrament we also are called to recognize that sin, the damaging or breaking of these relationships of love, is both individual and communal. Our celebration of Reconciliation thus takes places in both individual and communal settings.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered individually at 4pm every Saturday, or by appointment with Fr. Michael. Other times may be scheduled during the seasons of Advent and Lent – watch the bulletin or check back on the website for specific times and dates.

Like adults, as children grow in their understanding of right and wrong, they need a corresponding understanding that, whatever has been done, God’s mercy and forgiveness remains a constant source of help to grow stronger in the Christian life.

Preparation sessions for the Sacrament of First Reconciliation involve both children and parents and are geared for children in second grade and older. Children spend the second-grade year preparing for both First Reconciliation and First Eucharist. The celebration of First Reconciliation is usually scheduled for mid-December and is offered in a communal service, with individual reception of the Sacrament open to all family members.

General expectations are as follows:

  • Families should be registered members of the parish and active in the life of the community. Register online here>
  • Preparation takes place as part of our Faith Formation for All Wednesday evening sessions. Exceptions to this need to be discussed ahead of time.
  • For those not yet baptized in the Catholic faith, please discuss Baptism preparation and reception with the coordinator.

Older children who wish to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation should contact the coordinator to arrange for age-appropriate preparation.

Preparation

To prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, please download and review the appropriate Examination of Conscience guide before coming in to celebrate the Sacrament.


 

First Eucharist for Children

Vatican II teaches us that the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is the “source and summit” for our lives as Catholic Christians. Preparing children to come to the table of the Lord for the first time is a significant period in their lives and the life of the larger faith community. It is the celebration and the communal reception of Eucharist that unites us as People of God.

Adequate preparation for celebrating Eucharist supports spiritual growth and makes clear that as we are nourished from receiving Eucharist, we are called in turn to feed those around us.

Preparation sessions involve both parents and children. The sessions begin after children have celebrated First Reconciliation, which takes place in mid-December. When children are ready to celebrate Eucharist, the parish community welcomes them to the table during our regularly scheduled weekend Masses. Families choose the Mass at which they would like to celebrate the Sacrament when they register.

General expectations are as follows:

  • Families should be registered members of the parish and active in the life of the community. Register online here>
  • Preparation takes place as part of our Faith Formation for All Wednesday evening sessions. Exceptions to this need to be discussed ahead of time.
  • Children must be baptized. For those not yet baptized in the Catholic faith, Baptism preparation will be simultaneous with First Eucharist preparation, with the Baptism typically taking place the Sunday after Easter.

 

Confirmation

St. Thomas the Apostle welcomes all who seek initiation in the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. The norm for full initiation includes Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, in that order. However, pastoral practice over the last century among different parishes and regions of the country has blurred the important relationship between these three sacraments. The intent of Confirmation is to complete the process begun at Baptism, with the outpouring and reception of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

By being confirmed in the Catholic faith at St. Thomas the Apostle, youth continue in more concrete ways to share in the responsibility of the life of our parish community.

Confirmation preparation and celebration at St. Thomas the Apostle begins in 9th grade. Preparation sessions are held on Sunday evenings at the parish. Confirmation is celebrated at either the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, or at the Cathedral of St. Paul, in February of 10th grade.

Those preparing for Confirmation are expected to:

  • be registered members of the parish and active in the life of the community. Register online here>
  • participate in the Confirmation retreat, scheduled in September of 10th grade
  • participate fully in the Sunday evening preparation sessions, as well as related service opportunities.

Those who have not yet been Baptized or received First Eucharist in the Catholic faith are welcome to participate, and reception of these sacraments will be a part of their preparation.

Those older than 9th or 10th grade who would like to be confirmed, should contact Bill Nolan to explore options for preparation and celebration of the Sacrament.

Christian Initiation for Adults

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a sacramental preparation process through which adults learn about the teachings of Jesus and put these teachings into practice by living as part of the Catholic community, serving others, and praying.

RCIA at St. Thomas the Apostle engages participants intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. It helps a person figure out what God is saying to him or her at this point in life. The emphasis is on personal reflection, prayer, and service. There are formal presentations on subjects such as God, Jesus, the Sacraments, and the Scriptures, but RCIA is not fundamentally an academic course in theology.

RCIA is primarily for:

  • Those who have never been baptized in any faith (catechumens);
  • People who were baptized in another Christian faith (candidates);
  • Baptized Catholics who have never received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.

RCIA has several aspects:

  • Spiritual – candidates learn new ways of praying, and discover what God is saying to them now.
  • Educational – candidates learn what the Catholic Church believes about God, about Jesus, about the Bible, and about what the Church teaches.
  • Community – candidates are encouraged to be part of the parish and to attend parish events and celebrations.
  • Service – In the Bible, Jesus directs us to “love your neighbor as yourself,” and lets us know that “whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” Opportunities to participate and serve in the parish community are an essential element of RCIA.

At St. Thomas the Apostle, the RCIA process begins with participation in the adult faith formation program on Wednesday evenings in the fall, though participants may join at any time. In January, those in RCIA will break off into their own group for more focused discussion and reflection on the content and practice of the Catholic Faith. Formal sacramental reception into the Church takes places at the Easter Vigil each year.

The program is open and tailored to fit the needs of participants. If you are interested or have other questions about becoming Catholic, we encourage you to contact us and see how we can help you continue your journey of faith!

Marriage

“A Wedding is a Day; a Marriage is a Lifetime.” As cliché as that may sound, it does reflect rather soundly the sacramental theology we hold dear at St. Thomas the Apostle. We strive not only to help couples prepare for and celebrate their wedding, we also take seriously the responsibility to help couples prepare for and celebrate their marriage.

Like all Sacraments in the church, Marriage is both personal and communal. Couples preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage should do so at a place they feel is or will become their spiritual home. We invite couples to spend time with us in liturgy and prayer, to experience the fullness of our community.

When a couple makes the decision to marry at St. Thomas the Apostle, they should:

  • register in the parish, if not already members. Register online here>
  • call the parish at least nine months in advance of the desired wedding date to set up an initial meeting which will review all policies and procedures for weddings celebrated here;
  • complete the marriage preparation programs as directed – this will include an engaged couple’s retreat, completion of the PREPARE Inventory and subsequent reviewal of that inventory, liturgy planning, etc.

Every couple’s situation is unique. For couples where one or both individuals have been married previously, where one person is not Catholic, or any other circumstances, we will work with you to determine how best to address your situation. We invite all those considering marriage in the Catholic Church to explore how St. Thomas the Apostle might be of assistance.

Anointing

“Anointing of the Sick is the sacrament that is received by those who are ill or suffering. By the sacred anointing and the prayer of the priest, the whole Church commends those who are sick to Christ. The sick person receives the Holy Spirit’s gifts of strength, faith, peace, and courage, and his or her suffering is united with the suffering of Christ for the building up of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], nos. 1520-23).”

In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the priest anoints the seriously ill, injured, or the elderly with the oil of the sick. The oil of the sick is a special oil used for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. It is blessed by the bishop each year at the Chrism Mass.

In addition to Anointing, the person is often offered Eucharist. For a dying person, the Sacrament is preparation for passing over to eternal life.

If you or someone close to you desires Anointing, please contact Joan Gecik below.

Holy Orders

Through Baptism, all are called to share in the priesthood of Christ. In time, this call may become more focused and directed toward ordained ministry as a priest or deacon, or to vowed religious life as a priest in a religious order, a brother, sister, or nun.

Such calls are often unpredictable, and may come at any stage of life. If you or someone you know would be a good candidate for either ordained ministry or vowed religious life, please reach out to us and our staff can help direct you to resources where these vocational calls can be explored in greater depth.

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