2020 at Saint Thomas – A Year in Review

2020 was a year like no other. The following is a brief history with links to the events for more information if you are interested.

The year started normally enough with the Epiphany and Epiphany Pageant in early January and Catholic Schools Week the last week of January.  Blood pressure screenings and hospitalities were held in Saint Peter’s room in January and February.

The Eucharist Series continued in the bulletin (1/12/2020, 1/19/2020, 1/26/2020, 2/2/2020, 2/9/2020,2/23/2020, 3/1/2020, 3/8/2020, 3/15/2020) and a presentation by Bob Miller in March.

There was a new Holy Water Dispenser donated by parishioners.

Second graders received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time (names are in the February 23, 2020 Bulletin)

In February we had World Marriage Day with a special blessing on those couples celebrating major anniversaries.  Also in February Father Michael Saporito, whose parish was Saint Thomas growing up, was named a Bishop in the Archdiocese of Newark. He was ordained a bishop  in June  and celebrated a mass at Saint Thomas in August 2020 (Click for photos here).

Lent began with Ash Wednesday February 26, 2020.  The Archdiocese had their Men’s and Women’s Conferences the first two weekends of Lent.

The weekend of February 29, 2020 only the Body was distributed as a precaution against COVID-19.

Altar Serving Training started in March but needed to be suspended because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

All public activities stopped at Saint Thomas the weekend of March 14th and 15th.

March 15, 2020 was the first weekend where a public mass wasn’t celebrated at St. Thomas since its first mass June 25, 1939.

Mass went online on March 22 and we got over 1400 views for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (Latin for Praise).

The Baptismal Font was updated after donation to complete the project from the 1999 capital campaign. A 360 video is available by clicking here.

Handrails were added to the altar and side altars.

St. Thomas started videos/music including: O God, You Search Me, We will Rise Again, Pescador de Hombres Regina Caeli, and Salve Regina. (Click here for a YouTube Playlist)

Religious Education Students were recorded by their parents at home reciting the Hail Mary and posted on our website.

Saint Thomas had Virtual Living Stations of the Cross for Holy Week.

St Thomas started an Instagram account to expand our outreach via the internet that already included our website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.

We had livestreams for Holy Week – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.

Prayers were posted online for the end of the Pandemic, Prayer for essential workers, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day blessings and blessing for new parents (Click here for the YouTube Playlist).

Deacon Al Tizzano passed away April 13, 2020 (Memorial Bulletin) with a memorial mass celebrated on September 19, 2020. The homily at his memorial mass is located here and the closing words at mass by Father Larry are located here. A memorial slide show is available here.

Deacon Tom Coyle and Deacon Dennis Besida celebrated 25 year anniversary of their ordination to the Deaconate. Deacon Tom remains active by posting his homilies every third week of the month on the website.

Father Anton celebrated his fifth anniversary of ordination in May.

A virtual concert was performed in June.

There was another St. Thomas School Graduating Class (Bulletin and Photos).

Church was reopened for private prayer May 19, weekday masses resumed June 15th….. And weekend masses resumed June 20th. Recording masses were posted each week for those unable to join us at Mass. A video recording ministry was created to help support this effort. Religious Education Student created “Welcome Back” signs.

The Rosary was prayed daily by our Rosary Society, a virtual rosary was recorded and put on YouTube and the Rosary is prayed before daily Mass at 11:00AM. The Miraculous Medal Prayer is prayed every Monday at Mass and the Angelus is recited every weekday Mass.

Summer and Fall CCD was done remotely.

St. Thomas had Virtual Movie nights in May/June hosted by Bob Miller and adult education.

Our Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) candidates received their sacraments in the summer.

Deacon Michael Pasquale was ordained on July 11 and assisted at his first mass on July 12.

Brick repairs were made on the north tower. 

Beyond Cornerstone provided food and bottled water to the St. Augustine’s Food Kitchen during the duration of the pandemic.

Our Food Pantry received generous donations and distributed them to those in need. A Saint Thomas School Student prepared and distributed meals to those in need.

Father Anton was assigned as Chaplin to Seton Hall University Inter-Professional Health Sciences Campus

We welcomed Father Lukaz in September 2020.

Social Concerns ministry was established and our Around the Community page was updated with information regarding government programs supporting those in need during the pandemic.

First Communions took place in August and September.

Confirmation Masses in September and October.

There was a new Bulletin design on November 1, 2020.

We remembered those we lost this past year on All Souls Day.

An Evening of Reflection for liturgical ministers was done in November.

The Advent Giving Tree went online and parishioners were extraordinarily generous.

Father John Gordon was assigned to Holy Spirit Church in Union.

Christmas tree when up (see Fourth Week of Advent Post), we had a Children’s Liturgy of the Word Storytime  and a beautiful Christmas Pageant.

Saint Thomas went back to livestreaming for Thanksgiving Day Mass, Immaculate Conception, Daily Mass for the last two weeks of Advent, and Masses for Christmas Day.

Patricio on receiving his Ph.D. in Music Composition from Rutgers. Patricio received his first Ph.D. in Musical Arts in 2019.

It has been a challenging year for many of us.  When we work together and support each other using Jesus as our example then wonderful things happen.

God’s Blessing on you and your families.

St. Thomas Webmaster

PS – I may have missed something…So if you have an addition/correction please email webmaster@stachurchbloomfield.com. There are so many small acts of charity that went on at Saint Thomas and with its parishioners that it is difficult to capture them all (cf. John 21:25 – There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.)