Faith Formation News and Notes

...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:

      • If interested or would like more information, contact Tyler Wheeler (515-460-1480,

  • 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, 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 ( 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 ( 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 If interested, or if you just want more information, contact me at 515-460-1480,


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” ( 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: 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.