“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” –Matthew 28:19
Baptism is the very first sacrament that a Catholic can receive. This is where it all begins. When we are baptized, we become children of God, members of the Church, and are given eternal life. A person can only be baptized once as a Christian. The symbols of baptism are water, which washes away our sins, and light, which is the Holy Spirit giving us new life in Christ. Baptism washes away the Original Sin incurred by Adam and Eve and allows us to be born again in Christ.
Please contact the Rectory in order to arrange for your child to be baptized. Information sessions for first-time parents are required prior to baptism.
First Holy Communion
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” –John 6:51
In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, Christ is with us in the bread and wine at Mass. Through the prayers of the priest and the power of the Holy Spirit, those man-made gifts of bread and wine become truly the Body and Blood of our Lord. This is called transubstantiation. Due to His Presence in these gifts, the Eucharist is held in highest honor and adoration and reserved to Catholics who have received proper catechesis and formation to understand this gift.
First Holy Communion is a special event during which second graders in our parishes receive their Lord for the first time, truly knowledgeable of His Presence within them. Please contact the Rectory for information on your child joining the Faith Formation program and attending First Communion classes, which typically begin in first grade.
“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” –Acts 8:14-17.
At Confirmation, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives in a special way, strengthening our Faith and welcoming us into full life within the Church. By the power of the Holy Spirit, confirmed Catholics receive His seven gifts: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. It is the last of the sacraments of initiation, as it follows baptism and first communion.
Please contact the Rectory in order for your child to continue his initiation into our Faith and to register him in our Confirmation program. Classes typically begin in ninth-grade and the sacrament is given in tenth grade.
“But if the wicked do penance for all his sins which he hath committed, and keep all my commandments, and do judgment, and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die.” –Matthew 3:8
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we confess to God through His priests and do penance for our sins. Through confession, we are lifted from the burdens of our sins and receive a special grace from God to avoid sin in the future. Frequent confession is encouraged for all Catholics.
The times available for confession in our parishes are as follows:
Sat. 11:30 am St. Patrick’s
3:00 pm St. Thomas Aquinas
Other times by appointment, please call the Rectory.
“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” –Mark 10:6-9.
We at St. Patrick’s and St. Thomas Aquinas want to congratulate you as you begin to prepare for your wedding. Entering into marriage is entering into a new way of life. Especially important is the need to pray together as husband and wife and as a family in years to come. We are certain the adage coined by Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. in the 1940s still holds true today, “the family that prays together stays together.”
St. Paul called marriage “the great sacrament” and saw it as a sign for the love that Jesus has for His Church. We know that marriage can be a source of great joy, great pleasure, and great growth; but it also brings life-long responsibilities and obligations. We hope to help you in your preparation to receive this sacrament. Please contact the Rectory for more information and to begin planning your special day which begins a lifetime together. We require at least six months notice before the wedding.
PreCana is a required program for all engaged couples prior to their wedding. The session may be attended either at our parish or another church. St. Patrick typically offers a one-day session for couples. Call the Rectory for more information and to plan your special day.
This is an additional program offered in our area to increase the preparation received by engaged couples. Prepare/Enrich assesses your relationship on constructs show to be important for healthy relationships, creating awareness and dialogue around these areas. A trained facilitator will guide you through your results, highlighting relationship strengths and using those strengths and skill-building exercises to grow areas that are not yet strengths. This process encourages heart-to-heart conversations that are key to understanding your partner and developing a deeper, healthier relationship. For more information, visit prepare-enrich.com or call 651-635-0511.
This program offers a chance for reconciliation and renewed understanding between married couples who are currently struggling in their relationship. This program is offered two- or three times a year to strengthen the holy bonds of marriage between loving spouses.
Anointing of the Sick
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” –John 14:6
Through the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, which has also been called Extreme Unction, a Catholic in danger of death is blessed by a priest in order to receive special grace and strength in that time of trial. If the recipient is conscious, he will often make a last confession before receiving this Sacrament; the conferral of this Sacrament on unconscious Catholics give them spiritual strength and blessings after death. It may be received more than once.
Please contact the Rectory or emergency services if you or a loved one is in need of this sacrament.
Holy Orders (Vocations to Priesthood)
“He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” –Matthew 4:18
Diocese of Syracuse Vocations: vocations-syracuse.org
In the sacrament of Holy Orders, men are ordained by their Bishop as priests for the Church. The Apostles first received this sacrament from Christ Himself at the Last Supper, this line from Christ has been carried by Apostolic Succession to the priests of today. In receiving these Holy Orders, priests are empowered by the Holy Spirit to distribute the sacraments and tend to Christ’s flock.
If you feel that God is calling you to serve His Church as a priest, deacon, or religious, please contact Fr. Joe O’Connor at the Diocesan Office of Vocation Promotion:
240 E. Onondaga Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
For funeral arrangements at St. Patrick’s or St. Thomas Aquinas, contact your preferred funeral home directly, the Funeral Director will make the initial contact with our parish offices. Below, please see the Funeral Guidelines promulgated by the Diocese of Syracuse which is used in our parishes.
The Order of Christian Funerals
Approved by Most Rev. Robert Cunningham, May 2012
The Order of Christian Funerals was canonically approved by Rome and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in April 1987. The Order of Christian Funerals offers a variety of prayers to be offered for the deceased. The three main parts of the Funeral Rites are the Wake Service, the Funeral Mass and the Rite of Committal.
It is important that the death of faithful Catholics be honored with the proper respect and prayers that are rightfully theirs. The Church has the responsibility to assure that these important rites are carried out with decorum and dignity.
What follows is a short explanation of the various steps that should be taken upon the death of a loved one. The local priest and funeral director work together to provide the services that you desire so that with a firm Christian faith, we may bring our brother or sister to eternal rest in Christ.
Writing Obituaries for Catholics
The language or words to be used in writing an obituary notice for the news media referring to a church funeral should be written as: “a Funeral Mass will be celebrated…” or “A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated…”. The act of burial or entombment of the remains in a cemetery should be worded as “the Rite of Committal and burial will be…” The term “Memorial Mass” is used where the body or cremated remains are not present for the Mass.
The Vigil—Wake—Calling Hours
The Vigil Service for the deceased is an important part of the funeral rite and should not be eliminated. A priest, deacon or lay person may preside at this rite. At times this rite takes place before calling hours begin. At other times, the family may choose to include the time of this service in the obituary. In either case, the opportunity is given to those who want to join with the family for prayer. The ritual consists of scripture, intercessory prayer, and a brief homily or reflection. This is the time for family members and friends to share stories or to give a eulogy. Parish organizations/service clubs should make arrangements with the funeral director to schedule another appropriate time for their service.
The Funeral Mass
The heart of the Funeral Rites is the Funeral Mass. The Funeral Mass focuses, not on earthly life, but eternal life. This Mass celebrated for the deceased commends the soul to the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father. The prayers of the Church entrust the individual to the care of God who has called our loved one to Himself. Our prayers to God entreat Him to be gracious and merciful, not looking upon the sins of the past but to the glory they are to share with Christ. “Having been baptized into his death, we hope to share a resurrection like his.” (Romans 4)
This liturgy also offers comfort and consolation to those who mourn. The Mass lifts our hearts to God who will strengthen us in the days ahead and give us the grace of His comfort as we continue our journey of faith.
Since the Funeral Mass leads us to reflect on eternal life, eulogies are discouraged. The Vigil Service or at the conclusion of the Rite of Committal is the preferred time for family and friends to offer stories and reflections on the life of the deceased.
Eulogies or tributes to the deceased have been inserted into the Funeral Mass, but current liturgical guidelines strongly discourage doing this. Section 382 of the Revised Roman Missal states: “At Funeral Masses there should usually be a short homily but to the exclusion of a funeral eulogy of any kind.”
If permission is granted for a eulogy to be given at the Mass, only one person should speak on behalf of the family and the remembrance should be well prepared, written and limited to no more than three minutes in length.
Music for the Funeral Mass
As in all liturgies, music is sung prayer and plays an integral role in the Funeral Mass. It allows us to express our faith, love, and hope, drawing us closer in unity to our faith. While favorite songs that are popular or secular may hold special meaning to the deceased and the family, this type of music is not appropriate for the Mass nor is the use of recorded music. The family is invited and encouraged to be part of the music planning for the funeral liturgy.
The Mass lifts our hearts to God who will strengthen us in the days ahead and give us the grace of His comfort as we continue our journey of faith.
The parish musician, priest, or those assisting in the preparation of the funeral Mass, can be helpful in assisting in the choice of suitable hymns and the placement of music selections. Many churches have soloists and choirs that sing at funerals, enhancing the liturgy, honoring our loved one through sung prayer.
Rite of Committal
The last of the rites in the Order of Christian Funerals is the Rite of Committal which includes a verse from the scriptures, a prayer of committal, intercessions, the Lord’s Prayer and a blessing. If desired, music may be added to the Rite of Committal.
This rite should take place directly after the Funeral Mass at the time of burial. A priest, deacon or lay person may preside at this rite.
Canon Law states that the Church allows both cremation and burial as a means of honoring the body of a deceased Catholic. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body be present during the Vigil Service and Funeral Mass, and if cremation is selected, then it should follow the celebration of the Funeral Mass.
The remains are to be placed in a worthy vessel which is then carried and transported with the same respect and attention given to a casket carrying the body.
The final disposition of the cremated remains is equally important.
The cremated remains must be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium The practice of scattering cremated remains, keeping created remains in the home, or dividing the remains into separate containers (such as lockets, bracelets, etc.) is not permitted
If cremation is a consideration, it would be wise to discuss this option with your parish priest and funeral director.