St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Pastoral Home Ministry
February 2017 Report to the Pastoral Stewardship Council (PSC)
. NOTE: The PSC thought this was such a comprehensive and helpful report that it asked that it be shared in the eBulletin. Ed.)
St. Thomas Aquinas Pastoral Home Ministry offers spiritual and social support for the sick and the home bound parishioners of all ages by visiting, bringing communion, praying, listening and helping them connect with the parish and other available services.
We have approximately 21 ministers. All our ministers met the diocese requirements of fingerprinting and completing the two required Shield the Vulnerable classes.
We visit clients weekly in their homes and in several nursing and retirement homes: Lytton Gardens, Palo Alto Sub-Acute and Convalescent Home, Channing House, Vi Living, Sunrise, Palo Alto Commons and Avant.
Our ministers get to know our clients and there is good bonding and friendship. Most of our individual clients are long term but we also visit parishioners who are homebound for short periods of time in convalescent homes or recuperating in their own homes. We are always happy when they get back on their feet and can go home or attend mass by themselves. We are there for clients who are in the process of dying and in need of comfort and prayer.
In nursing and retirement homes we visit individuals in their rooms and/or lead group communion. At Vi Nursing Care and Palo Alto Sub-Acute and Convalescent Home we have mostly convalescent clients and work with the activity directors to identify the Catholics who want communion.
We help arrange priest visits for clients who request for them. We send letters to families of recently deceased parishioners to help them in their grieving process. We have information on meals, transportation and home care for those who contact us about these services.
We also have an outreach service to reach out to parishioners who may be in need. We help them identify their needs and help them get support services. We keep a data base on various agencies in our area.
We coordinate the monthly masses at Lytton Gardens. The masses are well attended, especially on Ash Wednesday. We have the support of the staff and many volunteers who help with the music, readings, set-up and transportation of clients to the auditorium for mass. Recently we started a mass at Palo Alto Commons on a seasonal basis. The residents were very appreciative of this service.
We maintain the ‘pray for’ lists in the Sunday bulletin and send out weekly updates to the Prayer Circle by e-mail and bi-weekly by regular mail. The Prayer Circle has increased in membership and it is heart-warming to see the responses of the members to the weekly e-mails and their concern for our sick. We are very fortunate to have the prayer shawl group who provide great comfort to our seriously sick by the beautiful prayers shawls they make.
We provide clients with At Home With the Word which have the Sunday readings and commentaries. We also bring them the church bulletin so they can keep up with the parish news and events. We also provide them with the little books for the different liturgical seasons.
Our strength is in our dedicated and caring ministers and parishioners. Our individual clients are usually referred to us by our priests, caring parishioners and ministers who notice those who are unable to go to mass and by the hospice care centers.
We are supported by wonderful volunteers like our musician and Legion of Mary helpers at the masses. We also have a group of caring parishioners who make cards and
tmas ornaments for our elderly clients.
Our weakness is in the lack of awareness regarding our services even though we are on the front page of the bulletin and have regular advertisement of our services in the eBulletin and paper bulletin.
We can be contacted by phone at (650)494-2496 X22 or by e-mail to Mary at