Faith Formation News and Notes

...for May 2017

  • Wed. Faith Formation Schedule (for PreK-8th from 6-7pm. For Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and High School Youth Ministry please look for communication from your child's catechist/leaders)

    • April 26 (Last Class)
  • Totus Tuus Dates and Registration:
  • Totus Tuus Volunteer Opportunities (contact me if interested)
    • Host an evening meal: host the 4 college aged students for a meal.
    • Help as a classroom aide during the day program for grades 1-6. Could be one day or all five.
    • Help with snacks during the day. Could be one day or all five.
    • Provide a lunch for one day (or more) for the college team to eat at the church.
    • Pray for the team and the kids!
  • Help with 1st Communion Meal
  • Congrats to the Newly Confirmed
    • This past Sunday Archbishop Jackels confirmed many from St. Thomas. Congrats and prayers to them and their families.
  • Registration to Come...
    • Keep your eyes open for registration to come out in the near future for next year's faith formation. 
    • This will include the possibility of signing up for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd...
  • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
    • Tentative times for next year are:
    • St. Cecilia will hold all the Level One Sessions at the following times:

      Monday   6:15pm-7:30pm
      Tuesday   9am-11am
      Tuesday   4:30pm-6pm
      Wednesday 9am-11am
      Wednesday 2:30pm-4:00pm
      Wednesday 4:30pm-6pm

      St. Thomas Aquinas will hold all the Level Two Sessions at the following times:

      Wednesday  2:30pm-4:30pm
      Wednesday  5:45pm-7:15pm
      Thursday  3:45pm-5:45pm

...for April 2017

 

  • Wed. Faith Formation Schedule (for PreK-8th from 6-7pm. For Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and High School Youth Ministry please look for communication from your child's catechist/leaders)

    • April 5
    • April 12 (NO Class - Holy Week!!!)
    • April 19 
    • April 26 (Last class)
  • Family Lenten Ideas: Here's some simple ideas to really bring Lent home for your family - Family Lent Ideas
  • Supple Lecture: How to Interpret the Bible, Thursday, March 30, 7:00-8:30pm in the Sun Room at the Memorial Union. Friday night Dr. Healy will give a talk on healing and a prayer service, 7pm at St. Thomas Aquinas.
  • Fish Fry: Friday, March 31, 5-7pm in the Lower Lounge
  • Totus Tuus Dates and Registration: http://staparish.net/prek-12th-grade-faith-formation/vacation-bible-school
  • Home School Survey: If you participated in the home school program this year we'd love to get your feedback. Since this is our first year with these materials, your knowledge of what worked well and what didn't will be beneficial for structuring the program going forward. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes and can be found here.
  • Carpenter Shop: Friday, April 7 at 7pm in the Lower Lounge. Fr. Charlie, Eric Evans and Tyler Wheeler will give their witnesses to how Christ has worked in their lives. Its a relaxed evening with snacks, a come and go event.
  • 1st Communion Prep
    • Learning Stations: Wed., Apr. 19, 12:00pm-7:00pm in the Lower Lounge. Parent(s) and child can come at any time between 12 and 7. Typically takes about 1 1/2 hours. 2nd Grade faith formation class will be cancelled that evening. No babysitting provided.
    • Rehearsal: Sat. May 20, 9:00-10:00am in the Worship Space. No babysitting provided.
    • 1st Communion: Sun., May 21, at the 10:30am Mass. 
  • Confirmation: Sunday, April 23 at 2:00pm at St. Cecilia's
  • Pure Fashion Show: an evening of fashion and faith. More info here

 

...for March 2017

  • Wed. Faith Formation Schedule (for PreK-8th from 6-7pm. For Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and High School Youth Ministry please look for communication from your child's catechist/leaders)

    • March 1 (NO Class - Ash Wednesday)
    • March 8
    • March 15 (NO Class - Spring Break)
    • March 22
    • March 29
  • 1st Communion Preparation
    • A child is able to receive their 1st Holy Communion if they've taken part in the sacrament of Reconciliation and is of the age of reason, 7 years old, but of course is in no way obligated
    • Orientation: Tues., March 7, 6:30-8:00pm in Prophets and Martyrs (1st and 2nd grade room). Babysitting will be provided.
    • Learning Stations: Wed., Apr. 19, 12:00pm-7:00pm in the Lower Lounge. Parent(s) and child can come at any time between 12 and 7. Typically takes about 1 1/2 hours. 2nd Grade faith formation class will be cancelled that evening. No babysitting provided.
    • Rehearsal: Sat. May 20, 9:00-10:00am in the Worship Space. No babysitting provided.
    • 1st Communion: Sun., May 21, at the 10:30am Mass. 
  • Ash Wednesday
    • ​Mass Times: 7am, noon, 5:15pm (Word and Ashes only), 7:15pm, 9:15pm
    • Help: would you be willing to help distribute books after the Ash Wednesday Mass you attend? Please see another email I'll be sending you.
  • Communal Reconciliation Times: 
    • ​At St. Thomas
      • Thursday, March 9, 7pm
      • Monday, March 27, 7pm
    • At the other Catholic churches around:

      • Sunday, March 19 @ St. Cecilia in Ames @ 2pm

      • Thursday, March 23 @ Saints Peter and Paul in Gilbert

      • Thursday, April 6 @ St. Cecilia in Ames

  • Supple Lecture: How to Interpret the Bible, Thursday, March 30, 7:00-8:30pm in the Sun Room at the Memorial Union.

  • Protection of Children Notes: Protection of Children notes can be found here: http://staparish.net/prek-12th-grade-faith-formation/protection-children-notes

  • Small Groups
    • ​​
      • “Small groups gave me a safe and welcoming place to explore my faith while being supported by others on the journey.”  Resident Parishioner.

      • Read Scripture, get to know others, grow in your faith.  To sign up or to find more information, including frequently asked questions, go to: http://staparish.net/faith-formation/adult-faith-formation

      • If interested or would like more information, contact Tyler Wheeler (515-460-1480, tyler@staparish.net)

  • Knights of Columbus Fish Dinners: 

    • Friday, March 3

    • Friday, March 31

  • Vocation: Join in praying for vocations on March 7 with Archbishop Jackels. At 7pm there is a vocational discernment talk and then from 8-9pm a holy hour. 
  • Totus Tuus Dates!

    • Totus Tuus will be at St. Thomas the week of July 16. More details to come. 

 

...for February 2017

 

  • Wed. Faith Formation Schedule (for PreK-8th from 6-7pm. For Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and High School Youth Ministry please look for communication from your child's catechist/leaders)

    • Feb. 1
    • Feb. 8
    • Feb. 15
    • Feb. 22 (Prayer Listening)
    • March 1 (NO Class, Ash Wednesday)
  • Small Groups
    • ​​
      • “Small groups gave me a safe and welcoming place to explore my faith while being supported by others on the journey.”  Resident Parishioner.

      • Read Scripture, get to know others, grow in your faith.  To sign up or to find more information, including frequently asked questions, go to: http://staparish.net/faith-formation/adult-faith-formation

      • If interested or would like more information, contact Tyler Wheeler (515-460-1480, tyler@staparish.net)

  • Totus Tuus Dates!

    • Totus Tuus will be at St. Thomas the week of July 16. More details to come. 

  • Honduras Coffee - Service Opportunity
    • From a member of the Honduras Coffee Committe (and a small group leader):
    • Over the last year or so, the coffee committee at STA has established a direct trade partnership with a cooperative of farmers in El Zapote de Copan, Honduras. It is a mutually beneficial relationship in that they provide us with a very high quality product that we, as a community, can't produce ourselves; and we are able to provide them with a fair price for that product, which they don't receive when they sell the coffee in Honduras. Any profits from the coffee sales will be reinvested in our sister parish, Dulce Nombre de Maria. 

      The coffee committee would like to make more parishioners aware of this partnership. In order to do this, we'd love to get more parishioners involved in the process. We want to invite anyone with interest to help package, and/or sell the coffee after weekend Masses, which we currently do once a month. My small group volunteered to help package coffee one Wednesday night and it really was a great experience to volunteer together. Of course anyone is also welcome to join our committee or come to a meeting. They typically take place in the first week of each month. Please contact Monica Reinken at mjreinken@gmail.com, if you would like to get involved; or with any general questions about the coffee committee.

  • Adoration
    • Every Tuesday from 4:00-8:00pm (Benediction from 8:00-8:30pm) St. Thomas Aquinas has adoration. On the last Tuesday of the month adoration is from 12:30pm-8:00pm. All are welcome to come and spend time with the Lord. If you would like to spend an hour or 1/2 hour with the Lord on the last Tuesday of the month between 12:30 and 4:00pm, please let Nannet Horton know (nanagatep@hotmail.com) so that we can ensure that someone is present at all hours. Thanks.
  • Leaving
    • ​(From the Bulletin) After much prayer and discernment Lynette and I have decided to move to her parent’s farm near Fort Atkinson, IA to pursue farming. The decision to leave was not an easy one but comes from an inward calling to a farm life filled with prayer, a hope to be a good steward of God’s creation and to reflect His light to our kids and the people of Northeast Iowa. We have, in many ways, considered Ames and STA our home ever since we met here as undergrads and we will deeply miss it. Through the years St. Thomas Aquinas parishioners, Fr. Jon and all of my fellow staff have been more of a blessing to us then we could have ever imagined. These past 5 years have been a time of tremendous spiritual growth for our family and we will be forever grateful to you for that. From the first day we moved back to Ames we have felt welcomed, supported and loved. To watch the Lord move these 5 years, both in our family and in the parish, has been a tremendous gift. This is truly a wonderful parish and I believe with my whole heart that, as a community under Fr. Jon’s leadership, STA is drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and shining brighter and brighter out in the world. Again, thank you for these past five years and for your prayers as we seek to bring the love of Christ we have encountered at STA to our new home.
    • Tyler and Lynette Wheeler (and kids)

 

...for November 2016

Children's Faith Formation

 

...for October 2016

Children's Faith Formation

Adult Faith Formation

  • Small Groups: As always, we have small groups going. If you and your spouse would like to attend but don't know what to do with the kids, we'll find you a babysitter! Come know more about Christ in a welcoming group of fellow seekers and believers. 

 

...for September 2016

 

Children's Faith Formation

Adult Faith Formation

  • Rare Opportunity!!! The Carpenter Shop: Friday, Sept. 23rd, 7:00-8:30pm in the Worship Space. We have a big time guest with us as recording artist Jackie Francois Angel will be with us! Here's more info on Jackie (http://www.jackiefrancois.com/). Jackie is a nationally known speaker and will be speaking at the Christ Our Life Conference that same weekend at the Wells Fargo Center in Des Moines. 
  • International Welcome Event: Join us after the 4:45pm Mass on Saturday, Sept. 17th for a welcome event for international students/residents. A desert will be served as well as some witnesses to what international students/residents have found at St. Thomas. All are welcome. 

 

...for August 2016

 

Children's Faith Formation

  • Calendar Changes:

    • ​New Start Date - Sept. 14: We have changed the start date of faith formation classes from Wed., Sept. 7 to Wed., Sept 14. This change will put us on the same schedule as Youth Ministry, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and St. Cecilia's. 
    • New 1st Reconciliation Time: 1st Reconciliatin will still be on Sat., Nov. 12  at St. Thomas Aquinas but will be from 8:30-10:30am. This change has been made to accommodate a wedding that will be taking place that day.
    • Confirmation Date: We've received our Confirmation date, Sunday, April 23rd at 2:00pm at St. Cecilia's.
  • Well Child Check-up for the Spiritual Life

Adult Faith Formation

  • Small Groups: Pray with Scripture, get to know others, be supported and grow in your faith. More information about small groups, including FAQs, can be found here http://staparish.net/adult-faith-formation/adult-small-groups. If interested, or if you just want more information, contact me at 515-460-1480, tyler@staparish.net

---------------------------------------------

Schedule Change for 2016-17

 

On Monday, May 2nd, I presented to the Pastoral Council on behalf of myself and the Faith Formation Commission a proposal to remove the Sunday faith formation classes and have all faith formation classes for grade PreK-8th take place on Wednesday nights, starting next fall, 2016. After some discussion the Pastoral Council approved this proposal. Therefore, starting next fall St. Thomas will no longer offer faith formation classes on Sunday morning. All classes for regular faith formation, for grades PreK-8th grade, will be offered on Wednesday evenings. The following is a Word document that highlights some of the reasoning behind this decision: Schedule Change Reasoning - 2016 (2).docx.  Below I would like to highlight some alternative options and a path forward for faith formation next year. Please know that I am more than happy to talk with any parent/guardian about this issue.

 

First and foremost, though, I want to say that this decision was not taken lightly. Everyone involved in making the decision knew that this called for a sacrifice for many St. Thomas families. Speaking for myself, I felt very sad after the decision was made, even though I still firmly believed it was the correct one. Family time together is a valuable, precious thing that can be difficult to come by. Myself, the Faith Formation Commission, and the Pastoral Council knew that this decision may make family time even more difficult to come by. Another aspect to this sacrifice is that it will ask families to bring their children, even little ones, to Mass with them on Sunday mornings. Many families have enjoyed leaving their children at faith formation class while they are able to participate in Mass freed from the distraction that can come with having little ones at Mass. So why was this decision made then, if said sacrifice was known? Again, for the reasoning behind this decision, please see the attached document.

 

The faith formation options for next year will be:

·         Homeschool – Our homeschool option will be revamped for next year and I want to emphasize that this is a perfectly legitimate option. In fact, this is the route my family will take so that my wife and children can be home together on Wednesday night. This doesn’t need to be the “if all else fails” option but instead can be a wonderful way for you and your child(ren) to draw closer to Christ together, with you the primary catechist, leading the way. We will be implementing a program called “Family Faith Formation” (http://familyformation.net/). It will be available for grades PreK-6th (although we can experiment with doing 7th/8th). I am still working out the details but know that my main priority will be to equip and support you as parents as primary catechists if you choose to go this route. Homeschooling may not be easy but it certainly can be fruitful, if it’s the right fit for your family. The program gives lesson plans that parents can walk through with their child, as well as all the needed materials. Each month each family will receive materials and lesson plans for 3 one-hour lessons. St. Thomas will help families to process and prepare this material, probably through some digital communication (a website or email). Please feel free to contact me for more information.

·         Catechesis of the Good Shepherd – an alternative method of faith formation that is offered jointly with St. Cecilia and will be available to kids 3-9 years old. These will be held at both St. Cecilia and St. Thomas (the exact schedule with be available in registration and can be seen in the attachment). CGS limits the number of participants to 10 per session. Here is a brief video introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F3jP0cf0nA. Please feel free to contact me for more information.

·         Regular faith formation for grades PreK-8th on Wednesday nights from 6:00-7:00pm at St. Thomas Aquinas.