To Parishioners and Attendees of St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Patrick’s Mission regarding a message from Father Philip on the Re-Opening of Our Parish:

Amendments from Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey to COVID-19 Directives for the Diocese of Corpus Christi dated June 17, 2020:

Please note the following amendments to the directives concerning liturgical and other practices in the Diocese of Corpus Christi regarding the COVID-19 pandemic:

•  The dispensation for all the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation is extended through August 31, 2020.  This dispensation will be reviewed again at that time.

•  The occupancy limit of individual Masses and other liturgical services in parishes/missions -- including weddings, funerals, and baptisms -- has been increased to 50% capacity, while maintaining the prescribed social distancing requirements.  Hand sanitizer is still to be made available to all those who come into the church and people are to be encouraged to wear face masks.

•  If necessary, additional Masses may be added to the schedule to accomodate larger numbers.

Directives from Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey dated April 30, 2020:

The Bishop has advised that we will resume public Masses on the weekend of May 9-10, 2020.   There are certain directives and guidelines that we as a parish will need to follow and adhere to in re-opening our parish.

All those who want to remain home for any reason are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday through the month of June.   If you are concerned about receiving Holy Communion, please keep in mind that as Catholics, you are only required to receive Communion once a year.  You are certainly able to remain in your home and/or pew and pray the prayer for Spiritual Communion.  

If you are symptomatic or have been exposed to another with the virus within 14 days, you are not permitted to enter the church, which is in accordance with national, state, and local health directives.  All parishioners are asked to check your temperature at home before coming to church.  If you have a fever, please stay at home.

Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issue or who are over 65 years of age are strongly encouraged, for their own health, to avoid the risk of attending public celebrations of the Mass.

The high use areas of the church will be cleaned and sanitized before and after each service.   A sanitizing and cleaning team will be established and available.   There will be no hymnals or missalettes in the pews.  You are encouraged to bring your own missals or hymnals for use during celebration of Mass. 

Ushers and volunteers must wear masks or face coverings and gloves throughout the celebration of Mass. 

Everyone must maintain six-foot distance and are not to greet parishioners by contact as they enter and exit the church.

Entry and exit doors must be designated and monitored.  In an attempt to keep people from touching the doors, entry and exit doors will be propped or held open for people to walk in before Mass and out after Mass.  REGARDLESS OF WHICH COUNTY A PARISH IS LOCATED, IT IS NOT ALLOWED TO EXCEED 25% OF SEATING CAPACITY. 

The holy water fonts will remain empty.

Ushers and volunteers will assist with directing people to pews specifically marked.  Every other pew will remain empty.  Seating is to be arranged such that a six-foot distance can be maintained between members of one household and members of another household.  Music ministers are to maintain and observe six-foot social distance.

Hand sanitizer will be made available in the general areas of the church, but we encourage parishioners to bring their own hand sanitizer with them to have it readily available for use. 

Parishioners are to wear a mask or face covering upon entering the church and walking to their pews.  Once seated, you can remove the mask or face covering while in your pew. 

We will not have an offertory.  The offering baskets will be stationary and located in the back of the church.  You can put your tithing envelope or monies directly into the baskets. 

Holding hands during the Our Father is not permitted.

The sign of peace is suspended.

If you choose to receive the Holy Communion, you will need to put your mask on while you process to receive Holy Communion.  The line for Holy Communion will be single file and you will need to maintain six-foot social distance between the person in front of you and behind you.  There will be floor markings placed six feet apart on the floor.  When you approach to receive Holy Communion, you are to pull down your mask below your chin and present one hand resting on the palm of the other.  After responding “Amen”, you are to reverently place the Eucharist in your mouth and then immediately replace your mask or face covering.  Holy Communion is to be distributed in the handThose who desire to receive Holy Communion on the tongue can see the celebrant after the Mass to arrange for reception of Holy Communion in a safe manner.  The distribution of Precious Blood to the assembly is not allowed.   Those distributing Holy Communion must be masked and sanitize their hands immediately before and after distributing Holy Communion. 

At the conclusion of Mass, families should put their face masks or face coverings back on, depart the church in an organized manner, and observe the six-foot social distancing between other households. 

There are to be no greetings of the parishioners by the priest or deacon.  They are required to return directly to the sacristy.  There are to be no social gatherings following Mass. 

The sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion, can resume as of May 10, 2020.    Detailed information will be provided below.  Confessions will resume on May 2nd; however, the confessionals cannot be used. 

Funerals are permitted in the church beginning on May 4, 2020.  However, the 25% seating capacity rule must be followed. 

Weddings are permitted in the church beginning on May 9, 2020.  However, the 25% seating capacity rule must be followed. 

Please note that the above directives and guidelines relating to Mass were given at the Chancery by the Bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi by on the 30th day of April in the year of Our Lord 2020, the Memorial of Pope St. Pius V. 


Fr. Philip J. Panackal

St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and St. Patrick’s Mission

16602 FM 624 Robstown, Texas  78380




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