Parents who wish to have a child baptized are asked to contact the parish office for a preliminary meeting with one of the priests on staff. Parents, and if possible the godparents, will be expected to attend a baptism preparation session held on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:00 p.m. Baptisms are scheduled on the third and fourth Saturdays of each month at 10:00 a.m. Baptisms in Spanish are regularly scheduled on the second Saturday of each month.
Adults who wish to become familiar with the beliefs, the traditions and practices of the Catholic Church are invited to join the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults(R.C.I.A.). The R.C.I.A. is a process designed primarily for adults who are not baptized and who are considering the possibility of baptism in the Catholic Church. It is also appropriate for adults who are baptized Catholics, who received little or no religious education and who require one or more of the sacraments of initiation. Many R.C.I.A. candidates were baptized in other Christian denominations and are considering membership in the Catholic community. Sessions are scheduled weekly and reception into the Church occurs when the individual is ready.
The parish recognizes that parents are the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith. With this principle in mind, the parish will assist the parents of children who are preparing to receive the Eucharist for the first time. Our Catholic schools provide the remote preparation for the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation; the parish provides the immediate preparation with the support of parents. Religious instruction in our schools is based on the religious education series prepared by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The parish’s immediate preparation is offered in four or five sessions.
Religious education sessions for children enrolled in non-Catholic school are conducted by parish volunteers who assist the parents. These sessions begin in the fall and are normally scheduled on Saturdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. which is just prior t the 5:00 p.m. liturgy.
At the beginning of each school year, dates for parent meetings and classes are made public through announcements and the parish bulletin. We strongly recommend that parents of children who are candidates for First Communion and Reconciliation register their children in May or June in order that the necessary materials will be available in September.
The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the initiation of the baptized into the Church. In this sacrament the gifts of the Holy Spirit are received to encourage and support us as we continue to live out our baptismal mission as disciples of Jesus.
Candidates for Confirmation are encouraged to register at the beginning of the school year.
Our Catholic schools provide the remote preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation; the parish offers the immediate preparation for the sacrament. Students who are enrolled in non-Catholic schools will be prepared by parish volunteers with the support of parents.
Adults who have not been confirmed are encouraged to contact the parish office for an appointment with one of the priests on staff. Depending on circumstances, it may be appropriate to join the R.C.I.A. sessions or to be directed to another form of preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Confessions are offered by appointment only by calling the Parish office.
During Advent and Lent, a parish penitential evening is scheduled during which seven or eight confessors are present to hear confessions in Spanish and English.
Engaged couples, who are members of St. Thomas More Parish, are welcome to set up an appointment to make initial wedding plans. Contact should be made with one of the priests on staff one year in advance of the planned wedding date. An information packet is available at the parish office. Couples should expect to meet at least twice with a priest, and will be asked to participate in a marriage preparation series.
Anointing of the sick
Individuals who are seriously ill, preparing for major surgery, or who are frail and advanced in age can request the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. In the event that someone is hospitalized, it is important to know that a priest is assigned to most of the hospitals in Toronto. A request for a visit from a Catholic priest, for the Sacrament of Anointing, can normally be made through the nursing staff.
Holy Orders and Vows of Religious Life
The Church is blessed with a rich diversity of vocations; all of them are born from God as He calls us to participate in His work of redemption. If you are thinking about God’s call and trying to find purpose for your life, we are here to help you. Maybe He is inviting you to be a priest, a religious brother or sister, to serve the Church with love and generosity. Come and talk to us! We will help you discern your vocation.
Contact: Fr. Antonio Resende Pereira, SCJ
(Priests of the Sacred Heart Vocation director)
A priest is a man who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which confers on him certain powers of Christ, principally the power to consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and the power to forgive sin in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. When he does these things he acts in the Person of Christ.
A diocesan priest is one who is called to serve souls in a particular diocese. The Bishop has been placed by Christ as the head of that diocese, and the diocesan priest serves in obedience to and collaboration with him, serving mostly in parishes. On a practical level you can say that the Church “runs” on diocesan priests serving in their parishes. They administer the sacraments, they are responsible for the instruction of their people, they are close to them in their lives and trials, they counsel, forgive and serve constantly, heroically and patiently.
A religious priest is a member of a religious community who has received the Sacrament of Orders. He is under the authority of his own superiors, and he serves the local diocese through the works of his order or congregation located there. However he is not limited to serving in one diocese but can be assigned elsewhere by his superiors. Everywhere he serves he does so with the permission of the local bishop. Some religious priests serve in parishes, but the majority have more specialized apostolates, such as education, retreats, communications, etc.
Permanent deacons are qualified laymen who, after being trained by the Diocese, are ordained by the Bishop to serve the needs of the parish and the Diocese.
The people who live religious life are called “Religious”. Religious seek to follow Christ more closely by publicly professing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in a recognized religious order, giving public witness of their consecration by wearing a religious habit, and they live in community.
There are religious orders or communities of men and of women. Women religious are nuns and male religious can be either priests or brothers. Religious communities often refer to themselves as “religious families”. Each has its own Founder and mission, and its own “family spirit” or spirituality. That is why if you are considering religious life it is necessary to get to know particular communities.
Lay consecrated life
Lay consecrated are people who consecrate themselves to God through promises of poverty, chastity and obedience, while still remaining lay people. They are usually associated with some group or Movement. As lay people they remain “in the world” and often exercise careers while giving a priority in their lives to prayer, witness and service.
From the beginnings of the Church there have been those who felt the call to consecrate themselves exclusively to Christ in a private manner. In recent times there has been a revival of this vocation, by which a woman makes her private consecration in the presence of her bishop.
Contemplative or monastic life
The contemplative dedicates much time to prayer each day, lives mostly in silence and also is dedicated to manual labor. There is a great tradition in the Church of both female and male monastic and contemplative life. Their hidden prayer and sacrifice is of major importance for the overall good of the Church.