How do I ... ?

The following are the answers to some commonly asked questions.

If your don't find your answer here please contact the Parish Office at (732) 446-6661 ext 3.

Advertise my business in the bulletin:

It is not the policy of St. Thomas More Parish to advertise for businesses in our regular announcements. If you would like to rent a section on the advertisement page, please contact Liturgical Publications Inc., at 1-800-888-4574.

Get my child baptized:

First, you must be a registered member of the parish. If you are the parent of an infant or small child (less than age 7) you must attend a Baptismal Preparation Class. You may register for this class by calling the Parish Office (732-446-6661 Ext. 3) during normal business hours (Mon – Fri 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM). Both parents are required to attend.

After successful completion of the class you may call the Parish Office and speak with Vincenza to arrange a date for the Baptism. Baptisms take place in St. Thomas More Church on Sundays at 1:00 PM. There are usually three children baptized each Sunday. Private baptisms are not scheduled. As there are a large number of children to be baptized each year, your cooperation is appreciated.

The Catholic Church requires two sponsors for Baptism, commonly referred to as “Godparents”. The Church asks that there be one male sponsor and one female sponsor. Parents of the one to be baptized cannot be a godparent. One sponsor must be a Catholic who has received the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist), be at least 16 years of age, and if married they must have been married in a Catholic ceremony recognized by the Catholic Church. If you choose a sponsor who is not Catholic, that person must be a Christian who has received the Sacrament of Baptism. They are not properly speaking, a sponsor/godparent, but referred to as a “Christian Witness". A letter from their church stating that they have been baptized must be provided.

Each Catholic Godparent must provide a Sponsor Certificate to the Parish Office at least two weeks prior to the scheduled date of your child’s Baptism. If this is not done, your Baptism will be postponed until the next available date. The certificate may be obtained at the parish at which the Godparent/Sponsor is currently registered.

The purpose of the sponsor is to assist the child in the development of their faith. For this reason, you are asked to choose someone who practices their faith and not simply as an award to a friend or relative. Once a godparent has been chose and the baptism has been performed, the record cannot be altered later if you have a falling out with the godparent or Christian witness. You are urged to take this seriously and choose wisely. Should you have a special circumstance, for example, a teenage pregnancy, an older child (7 years old or greater), a child with a disability, etc… please speak with the pastor.

Have my child Confirmed:

Confirmation is a two year catechetical program overseen by the Director of Religious Education. It begins in 7th grade and runs through the entire 8th grade. In the student’s freshman year, usually September, they attend the following activities. The first time we meet in the fall they will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) and rehearsal for Confirmation, the second time they will attend a retreat and Mass, the third time they will meet will be for Confirmation. (If there is a gap in a student’s religious education between the third and sixth grades, arrangements must be made with the Director of Religious Education to catch the student up with additional years of religious education before they can be placed on track to receive Confirmation.

Arrange for my child's First Eucharist:

First Eucharist is a two year catechetical program in first and second grade. The reception of First Eucharist follows adequate Catechetical instruction in the second grade of religious education. Children first receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, generally during the Penitential Season of Lent. First Eucharist is celebrated on the weekends following Easter at Mass held in the afternoon. Every Catholic is encouraged to receive communion weekly at Sunday Mass and they are urged to make a frequent good confession, especially if in a state of Mortal Sin. It is fitting that First Eucharist be received during the Easter Season. Due to the large number of children receiving, each class will be assigned a particular date by the Director of Religious Education. Your cooperation is appreciated. Children may wear any clean and “dressy” clothing. Girls are encouraged to wear a white dress. Boys are encouraged to wear a suit or sports jacket and tie or dress slacks and shirt and tie.

Arrange to get married in the Church:

The Parish follows the Common Policy for Marriage for the Province of New Jersey. The Catholic Church of New Jersey has the same policies throughout the state by agreement of the Bishop's of New Jersey. Those wishing to Marry must contact the Pastor at least one year prior to the wedding date. You must be a registered member of the Parish. No “wedding date” is discussed until an initial meeting with the pastor is successfully completed and it has been determined that both bride and groom are free to marry in the Catholic Church.Sunday Weddings are not permitted. We do not take "cold" calls for those looking for a Church "rental". Like all of the Sacraments, marriage is a public act of worship involving the whole community. As part of the preparation for this lifetime commitment the couple has four instructional meetings. They are administered the FOCUS instrument to assist them in a assessing the strength's and weaknesses of their relationship. They are required to attend a Pre-Cana instruction taught by married couples.

In preparation for marriage, couples will be asked to provide a recently issued copy of their Baptismal, First Eucharist, and Confirmation Certificates. Please call the Church where you were baptized and/or confirmed and ask that a newly issued copy be mailed to St. Thomas More Parish. The document must have a raised seal. Therefore it cannot be faxed. If the Church where you were baptized or confirmed no longer exists you may call the Diocese in which the Church was located to ascertain where the records are kept. If your sacraments were administered at St. Thomas More or Our Lady of Mercy we will have the record and you do not need to obtain a copy.

Since Marriage is a Sacrament and a religious institution, the ceremony is a thoroughly Catholic one. The introduction of secular, pagan, superstitions or cultural practices are not permitted. This includes the music. The Parish Church may not be redecorated or altered in any way. In keeping with the penitential nature of the holy season of Lent, weddings are not conducted during this church season.

Those individuals who are planning on marrying a non-baptized person (Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, etc…) have options that respect the religious beliefs of their partners. Please speak to the priest about these situations.

Become a member of St. Thomas More Parish:

The parish has boundaries. Even if you live in Manalapan, you may not be within the territory covered by St. Thomas More Parish. Manalapan is covered by three (3) Catholic Churches. It is suggested that you call the parish office (732) 446-6661 ext. 3 to determine if St. Thomas More is your parish or possibly another Catholic Church.

Once you know for certain that St. Thomas More is your parish, you may:

– Register over the phone (732) 446-6661 ext. 3

– Stop by the Parish Office during normal business hours (Mon – Fri 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM)

Get my name on a Prayer List:

There are two prayer lists one may be on. There is a list for sick parishioners printed in the bulletin each week. If you would like to be added to the list, call the Parish Office (732) 446-6661 ext. 3.

There is also a parish “prayer chain” for additional requests or situations. You can email your request to prayerrequests@moremercy.org, or you may call (732) 446-2371.

There is also a novena held at Our Lady of Mercy Church every Monday at 7:00 PM. Prayer requests are written in a book and the book is placed upon the altar. Special prayers are said for those needs each week and offered up to Our Lady of Perpetual Help for intercession.

Enroll my child in the Religious Education Process:

In person registration begins in mid May through the end of June. No registration by mail will be accepted.

Children entering the first grade and new students must submit a copy of their baptismal certificate, and where applicable, copies of all other sacramental certificates along with a transcript letter from their previous religious education program. You can obtain a registration form at the religious education office or go to our website where you can download the religious education registration packet. Go to www.moremercy.org and click on the link to Religious Education to access this information.

Placement of students is offered on a first come first serve basis. If the session you request is unavailable, you must provide a second and maybe a third choice. Because of our large enrollment, all class assignments are final at the time of registration.

Become a Catholic – R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults):

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is for anyone who is not Baptized, anyone practicing in another faith who wants to convert, and Catholics who have been Baptized but have not completed their Sacraments of Initiation (First Eucharist and Confirmation).

INQUIRY –

Call to make an appointment for an informal interview with the RCIA Director. Then the Inquire and its Rites begin. During this first stage in the faith journey, inquires begin to form relationships with one another and with their catechists. Sessions are informal, life stories are shared and curiosity questions are answered about “things Catholic.”

CATECHUMENATE –

When a decision to continue in the process is made, the inquirers approach the second stage of RCIA. Inquirers who are Catechumens (not Baptized) will experience the Rite of Acceptance and Candidates (Baptized) will experience the Rite of Welcome. We meet weekly at the Sunday morning 8:30 AM Mass, are dismissed at 9:00 AM before the Liturgy of the Eucharist, then gather in the Adult Education room to break open the Word of God (study the Sunday readings and doctrine).

LENT AND ITS RITES –

The third stage, the Rite of Election takes place on the first Sunday of Lent. It is celebrated by the bishop and marks a major transition. The Catechumens now become the “Elect” and their names are placed in the diocese’s Book of Enrollment. On the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent, the Rite of the Scrutinies are celebrated at Sunday Mass. The Candidates celebrate the Penitential Rite on the second Sunday of Lent. Final preparation for the Sacraments of initiation takes place during Holy Week and culminates on Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil at sundown.

MYSTAGOGY –

From the second Sunday of Easter through Pentecost the “neophytes,” as the candidates are now called, enter into the final stage of their formal religious education in the RCIA process and uncover their experience over the past year. They are continuously cared for as newly initiated members who are naturally woven into the fabric of our worshipping community. Their journey is not a newly paved surface, but one with many layers of history to uncover especially the paschal mystery. The final stage of preparation centers on the practical learning of their Church’s specific ministries and their personal commitment to at least one of these. It is now their own road to travel, maintain and build with us as a parish community.

Learn more about the 3rd Edition Roman Missal:

The Roman Missal, Third Edition, the ritual text containing prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Mass, has been approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. First use of the new text of the new Roman Missal will be on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. For complete information about the changes please visit the following web site: www.usccb.org/romanmissal/

Obtain a sponsor certificate:

You can obtain a sponsor certificate provided the following conditions are satisfied:

– Registered member of the parish

– An active Catholic who received the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)

– In a marriage recognized by the Church

– At least 16 years of age

If you meet the above requirements contact the Parish Office during normal business hours (Mon-Fri 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM).