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Friday, December 21, 2018

St. Thomas Evolves to Meet Needs of Parishioners

Article submitted by St. Thomas Catholic Church

At a point in time when our nation and world are looking for signs of renewed faith in humanity, many have sought out newer and more modern religious faiths. Some have simply turned away from church altogether.  While many explore spiritual alternatives, a local Catholic Church is out to prove that one of the oldest faiths in the world can be as engaging and fulfilling as current popular Christian churches, and perhaps can offer even more.  Saint Thomas Catholic Church, a staple in the Fort Thomas community since 1902, is evolving to meet the needs of their parishioners today and in the future.  Many of the efforts are being led by Pastoral Associate, Charles Marks, who also teaches religion classes at the parish school.  Here are three of the ways they’re attracting the interest of the community.

Weekly Family Mass
Every Sunday at 9 a.m. (since the kids are already awake), bring your household to their weekly family Mass where the music is led by Pastoral Associate, Will Panagakos, who puts a modern spin on classic hymns through a guitar-led worship.  In addition to the innovative music, youth from the parish share the Mass readings and fill other roles normally done by adult parishioners.  Following Mass, everyone is invited next door to the church’s activity center for their weekly “coffee and donuts” to catch up with friends and welcome new guests.

Faith is not One-Size-Fits-All
Recognizing that not every parishioner has the same needs from their faith, Saint Thomas has created several programs that tailors the right message for each group within the parish.  Marks leads a dynamic high school youth group through immersion in the Catholic Sacraments, regular gatherings, and retreats. He also heads up a Men’s Group on early Friday mornings that addresses the pressures men face as individuals, husbands and fathers in our modern culture.  Will Panagakos, a member of the Pastoral Associate Team, in addition to playing music at the 9am Family Mass hosts monthly worship events where all are invited to participate in a night of prayer through music and scripture. Will also coordinates an outreach to homeless neighbors twice each month in Covington at which many parishioners volunteer. Catie Panagakos, also a Pastoral Associate and wife of Will, is leading a renewed women’s ministry that can be as casual as a quick stop for coffee and conversation after dropping off the kids to school or a more immersive retreat designed specifically for women.  The Panagakos’ moved to Fort Thomas from Philadelphia earlier this year, specifically to bring more worship and ministry to Saint Thomas Parish.

SpirFit – Where Faith Meets Fitness
Faith can often be considered as only a matter of the heart or of the mind, but in St. Thomas’ “SpirFit” class, faith is transformed into a holistic mind, body & heart experience.  Every Tuesday & Thursday evening from 7-8 p.m., parishioners and trained yoga teachers Jessica Muehlenkamp and Lexi Sheets lead Spirfit, a 60-minute fitness class that focuses on breathing, movement and prayer.  “Spir’” comes from the Latin word “spiratus” meaning “to breathe.” For just a $5 donation, of which a portion goes back to the parish or designated charities, you can participate in the classes held at the church or school and experience the connection of the Catholic faith to mind & body fitness.

Pastor Monsignor Schulte is optimistic that the parish’s efforts will help community members find their way back to the Church in a time where societal unrest makes strong faith more needed than ever.  If one of these reasons peaks your interest, you might want to stop in. Perhaps, you’ll start this Christmas season.  Mass times for Christmas are as follows; Christmas Eve 4, 7 & 9 p.m. and Christmas Day 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. & 12:15 p.m..

You can get additional information about SpirFit at

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