Our parish is located in the heart of the scenic East Tennessee, not far from Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you are from this area or visiting, we welcome you to join us.
Mission: St. Thomas the Apostle is a Roman Catholic community centered in Faith and fully engaged in Evangelizing, Discipleship, Prayer and Worship that is functioning as a well-informed Parish Community.
GOSPEL MEDITATION - ENCOURAGE DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE
December 16, 2018 3rd Sunday of Advent
In Christianity, we hear often about the "Good News." We might often associate it with Jesus' compassion to the poor, his healings and miracles, and the salvation he won for us. In today's Gospel, we read of John the Baptist. "Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people." Yet as we examine the rest of the reading, we see examples of John's preaching. If you have two cloaks, give one away. Don't cheat others out of their money, extort, or lie. And, of course, the warning that the Messiah is on the move and "his winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." Merry Christmas?
Not only do John's listeners enjoy his message, but they seem to think he might be the awaited Messiah! To understand today's Gospel, it's important to understand the Jewish people. For most of their history, God's chosen people had been under someone else's heel. They were slaves in Egypt. Their kingdoms were ravaged first by the Assyrians, then the Babylonians. Now they were under the yoke of the Roman Empire. Familiar with being strangers in a strange land, welcoming the stranger, caring for the vulnerable, and enacting justice was incredibly important to them as a people. While John's words may seem odd or strong to our modern ears, this call to justice was welcome, even if it was directed at the hearer.
The truth is, no one is exempt from John's call to repentance. We all have further to go in the Christian life. We can all grow in virtue and love our neighbors more generously. The Church gives us the Advent season to examine our own hearts. Did any of John's warnings resonate with you? That could be a great thing to bring to Jesus this week!
Please note if you need to check on room availability for our facility, please contact the parish office at 865-986-9885. The below list of events is for special events and does not include every activity taking place everyday. Thank you.
FIRST FRIDAY 24-HOUR
On the first Friday of every month, parishioners will have the opportunity to spend an hour with our Lord at all times between 9 AM on First Friday and 8:30 AM on Saturday. A sign-up placard will be positioned in the narthex covering all hours.
This broadened First Friday devotion is being offered because of the wonderful response to the worldwide 24-hour Adoration held earlier this month. There were at least four parishioners in the church for each hour. In order for Eucharistic Adoration to become a permanent observance on First Fridays, it is imperative that there be at least two persons in the church during each hour. The continued success of 24-hour Adoration depends on a core group of adorers who commit to the same hour each time. This ensures that all hours are filled and there are no gaps in attendance. Please prayerfully consider committing to a specific hour for each First Friday. The graces and blessings associated with Eucharistic Adoration are abundant.
MORNING PRAYER ON FRIDAYS
Morning Prayer on Fridays after Daily Mass.
Please join us!
The Rosary is prayed 40 minutes before 5:00PM Mass and 11:30AM Mass. If you are willing to help lead the Rosary, you should contact the coordinator for each Mass; 5:00PM, Jim Gecsei at 803-3555; 9:00AM, Ralph Pubillones at 458-6111; and 11:30AM, Pam Wallace at 657-3445.
You may also call the parish office to make an appointment at 865-986-9885.
Link to USCCB information on the Sacrament of Reconciliation Reconciliation
RECONCILIATION TIMES DURING ADVENT
Additional times Beginning December 2 thru December 23 and 24
Thank you all for your generous stewardship this year and for filling out the Stewardship form for next year. We rely on your weekly giving to sustain and grow our parish programs!
Here are just a few reminders and notes as we approach the end of the calendar year.
End of Year Giving Reminders
For a donation to be considered deductible in 2018, you must do the following:
Date the check in 2018,
Check must either be placed in the collection basket or office by December 31 OR If the check is mailed, it must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2018.
Checks brought into the office in January (even if dated in December) will be NOT be deductible in 2018.
Checks mailed with a postmark in January (even if dated in December) will be NOT be deductible in 2018
In both of these cases, the donations will be deductible in 2018.
If you are making a stock donation and you already have the St. Thomas broker information, we ask that you still call 865-986-9885 or email Chris Lucheon, firstname.lastname@example.org to inform her of the donation. We do not receive donor information from the broker.
If you are interested in donating stock, please call the parish office before December 19th and we will be happy to provide broker information to you.
The deductible amount of a stock donation is calculated based on the average of the high and the low price on the date of the gift (the date the stock transfer is made and not the stock sale date). Letters sent from the parish office will indicate what the amount is.
Support My Church and Save on My Taxes?! What’s Better than That?
Want a way to boost your tax savings beyond the newly increased standard deduction? If you are 70 ½ or older, you can use your IRA to make a gift to your parish, school, diocese or ministry and save on taxes!
Normally, a distribution from your IRA is taxed as ordinary income. However, federal tax law now allows you to make a distribution of up to $100,000 each year from your IRA to a qualifying charity and it is not subject to federal income tax.
By making a “qualified charitable distribution” (QCD) from your IRA, you can give to your parish, the Bishop’s Appeal, the Home Campaign or Catholic Charities tax free and it also counts toward your IRA’s annual required minimum distribution!
Transfers must be made directly from your IRA administrator to a qualifying 501c3 charitable organization. For more information contact our parish office, your IRA administrator, or John Deinhart in the Diocesan Stewardship Office at 865-584-3307.
If you are visiting with us or have not registered at the parish, we would love to get to know you better! You may stop in the office to register or pick-up a registration form in church or even register online (see further down on this page or click here). Or if you would like to just learn more from a member of our Welcome Committee, please contact email@example.com.
If you have recently registered and have not heard from our Welcome Committee, please contact Deacon Dave Pecot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Welcome Committee's mission is not only to help you to know about St. Thomas but to also help you feel to like St. Thomas is your home and an extension of your family.
RECONCILIATION TIMES DURING ADVENT
Saturdays: beginning December 2 thru December 23
Sundays: beginning December 3 thru December 24
Please be advised that no priest, staff person or official volunteer for the church will ever ask for your help financially via email....we will not ask you to send money or buy itunes cards or anything similar. Please do not respond to any such emails. Scammers are more and more clever and are using websites to find out names and they are creating email addresses and asking for help. Please do not respond! Father Julian's email was the latest to be used in this way.
PARISH OFFICE CLOSING
Monday, December 24th thru Tuesday, January 1st. We will return on Wednesday, January 2nd.
HEARING ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE
Hearing assistance transmitters and headphones are available in the closet next to the sound control board in the back corner of the sanctuary. If you have difficulty hearing, please take advantage of these devices. Just pick them up at the closet prior to Mass, and return after Mass.
KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS
In today’s secular world with all the attacks on our Catholic Faith there is one easy way for us to evangelize our belief in Jesus Christ. Remember He said: “Do not be afraid.” Proudly display a “Keep Christ in Christmas” magnet on your car. They are available for sale in the Narthex both in English and Spanish. We also have lapel pins that you could wear anywhere. Let those around you know that Christ is our Lord.
SOCIETY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
Second Sunday of Advent: In today’s Gospel John the Baptist urges us to “Prepare the way of the Lord,” and this is what Advent is all about. We are called to help prepare the way of the Lord by making the real meaning of Christmas come alive in our own hearts, in our families, and to reach out to those in need. Is there a family you know that needs assistance? Please call the Society of St. Vincent de Paul so that together we can help the suffering and poor to celebrate Christmas. The next regular meeting will be on Friday, December 21 in the Deacon Jose Room at 1:00 pm. Call Larry Finneran at 865-657-9119 for more information.
If you’re sad or struggling inside, don’t suffer alone. Ask for help. We’ve got a team of Stephen Ministers who are ready to listen, care, encourage, pray, and help you through a tough time. Men are matched with men, and women with women. (It’s completely confidential too!) To find out more about Stephen Ministry for you or someone you know, contact Barbara Brennan 458-8922 or Tom Ringenbach 458-0915.
ROSARY MAKERS ARE LOOKING TO EXPAND THEIR MINISTRY
If you have an interest in making rosaries, we can teach you. We meet in Room 111 the last Thursday of every month from 6:00-7:00pm. No need to call, you just stop by and see if this is for you. We have everything you’ll need.
If you have rosaries or parts of rosaries that you no longer use, please contact us. We can put them to good use and make new ones.
If you know of someone who needs a Rosary just contact us. We can give them to you for free!
Pam Geoghegan 865-657-0949
CATHOLICISM INQUIRY SESSIONS
Do you have a family member or friend who is interested in becoming Catholic? The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a ministry for those who are not baptized or who have been baptized in another faith tradition and wish to learn more about and possibly enter the Catholic Church. Our Inquiry sessions are held every Sunday morning (10:15am-11:15am) or Monday evening (6:30pm-8pm) in Room 118 downstairs in the Parish Family Life Center. You may attend either session as they will both contain the same information. For more information, call Deacon John Krepps, 469-0604, email@example.com.
Welcome to our Community
ROSARY BEFORE MASS
The Rosary is prayed 40 minutes before 5:00PM Mass and 11:30AM Mass; starting Sunday, July 2, the Rosary preceding the 9:00AM Mass will start. If you are willing to help lead the Rosary, you should contact the coordinator for each Mass; 5:00, Jim Gecsei at 803-3555, 9:00, Ralph Pubillones at 458-6111, and 11:30, Pam Wallace at 657-3445.
If you would register your Kroger Plus card and designate St. Thomas as your charitable choice once each quarter Kroger will send St. Thomas a donation check. The donation amount is based on how much we collectively spend each quarter at Kroger. Nothing else is required on your part, just shop as you normally would. To register visit Kroger.com. If you do not have computer access you can call 1(800) 576-4377, OPTION 3, or just visit the customer service desk and they will help you. The St. Thomas program number with Kroger is 42126. It is easy and the church benefits. If you are not registered, please consider doing so and if you are registered, thank you!
Come and See the “Catholicism” DVD series
Join us this Sunday, December 16, in the Deacon Jose Rivera Room (10:15-11:15 AM) for an opportunity to experience the truth, goodness, and beauty of Catholicism in breathtaking and high-definition cinematography. Journey with Bishop Robert Barron through the Holy Land and Rome. Be illuminated by the spiritual and artistic treasures of this global culture that claims more than one billion people. Do something for yourself this Christmas-come learn more about the full meaning of the faith.
While this session is part of a series, each session stands alone. There is no homework or obligation to commit to more . . . although we expect you’ll find it hard to stay away! Remaining sessions will be scheduled in the future. Questions? Contact Jill St. Yves at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apologetics/Defending the Faith – Become more comfortable in discussing your Faith with others
Bible Study - Unpack Bible scripture to explore the mysteries of the Word and increase your understanding and Faith
Mariology – Learn about the Blessed Virgin and her place in Salvation history
Morality & Contemporary Issues - Fundamentals on Catholic teaching and practice for a Christ-like life
Parish Mission – A special three day event designed to enliven and renew your faith
Personal Spiritual Growth - Grow your faith with books and DVD programs that will inspire you about your Faith
The Sacraments – Augment your understanding of the Sacraments, especially as they relate to the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Holy Bible
There are hundreds of options for you to view from your home computer, laptop, or smart cell phone at no charge any time of the day or night with our Parish subscription.
We have found that the site works best using the Chrome or Firefox browser.
Above on our site, there is a menu item, called "FORMED for St. Thomas the Apostle", click on that menu item to be taken directly to our FORMED page.
Once you are on our FORMED page, under the Parish Code, you will see a space for your email address. Add your email address and you will be prompted to put in a password for future use. After this, you can click on “WELCOME TO FORMED” and select that video play button to learn more about what will be available to you as a new user
Please help us to be attentive to those who are ill, homebound or in the hospital. Either the patient or family member must notify the parish office (865-986-9885) if they or a family member is ill or in the hospital. (We will not be notified by the hospital due to patient confidentiality.)
Communion can be brought to the home or healthcare facility.
COME EXPLORE CATHOLICISM UPDATE
No Inquiry Sessions will be held from Monday, March 26 through Monday, April 23.
NEW PROGRAM: All those interested are welcome to join us for a 5 session Bible Study on the Gospel of John beginning on Sunday, April 29, at 10:15am, in Room 118 of the PFLC. We will meet twice a month on the following dates: April 29, May 13 & 27, and June 10 & 24. Please bring a Bible! For more information, call Deacon John Krepps, 469-0604, or email@example.com
There will be no Inquiry sessions during July.
Our regular Catholic Inquiry sessions will begin again on August 5 & 6.
If you would like to donate flowers for the altar, please contact the parish office at 865-986-9885.
DEACON DAVE'S SECOND HELPINGS
Ever try to remember a homily on Monday? Often the things we hear on Sunday are inspiring and should be used to fuel our spiritual lives during the week. But we often fail to remember the key point that would assist us in applying the gospel to our lives. Try reading Deacon Dave's reflections on the Sunday gospel. Deacon Dave's Second Helpings is a weekly blog on the Sunday readings. You can find his homilies through a link on the St. Thomas web site. Click the link below to get to Deacon Dave's Second Helpings.