Return to Worship Plans


The Diocese of Lafayette has developed a thorough, phased Return to Worship plan in response to the COVID outbreak. Given St. Tom’s connection and proximity to Purdue University, our parish is following COVID safety protocols established by both the Diocese and the University.

Our plan reflects a commitment to the health and safety of our staff and worshipers and is inclusive of the recommendations from our state and federal government (the Center for Disease Control – CDC), the Diocese of Lafayette, and our own St. Tom’s Return to Worship Planning Committee.*

The information below outlines St. Tom’s direction for reopening for fall semester, effective August 15, 2020.


If you have tested positive with COVID-19, are not feeling well, or have any flu-like symptoms, especially fever do NOT attend Mass or enter the facility.

The dispensation from the obligation to attend Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation remains in effect until November 1 and livestream Mass will continue at 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sundays.

It is recommended by the CDC that those who have underlying conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus and those who are age 65 and older should remain home and participate in Mass online at this time.

Building Hours

  • Weekdays……………… 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday ………………. 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday ………………… 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Note: If you have an appointment during Office Hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday), but before building open hours, ring one of the doorbells located by the east and west doors of the Gather Space.


Please carefully read the Mass protocol information under the “In-Person Mass Format” heading below. Mass reservations are required for Sunday Masses. A link to register is at the bottom of this page under the “Worship Resources” heading.  St. Tom’s Live stream Mass (and recorded for later viewing) are offered at 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sundays, effective August 23, 2020.

Note: The dispensation from the obligation to attend Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation remains in effect for ALL until November 1.

Mass Schedule (through Friday, Aug. 21)

  • Monday to Saturday at 11:30 a.m.*
  • Saturday Vigil at 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday at 9:00 a.m.*, 11:00 a.m.

Mass Schedule (effective Saturday, Aug. 22)

  • Monday to Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
  • Monday, Tues, Thurs at 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday at 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday Vigil, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday at 9:00 a.m.*, 11:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m.*, and 9:00 p.m.

*In-person, live-streamed and recorded for later viewing

Reservations (required for Vigil and Sunday Mass)

Due to the social distancing safety requirement of six feet, approximately 200 parishioners per Mass can be accommodated. You must register on-line to attend Vigil and Sunday Mass each week. No reservation is required for Daily Mass due to smaller attendance. Reservations may be made through a Flocknote invitation distributed each Sunday evening or through the link under the “Worship Resources” heading at the bottom of this page. Note: Individuals without Internet access may call the church office at (765) 743-4652 to make a reservation.

Note: When the capacity for Mass is not reached, Mass attendees without a reservation will be admitted by completing online registration at the door, and Purdue students without a reservation will be asked to swipe their student ID cards. As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, it is important to keep track of who attends our Masses to aid with contact tracing. This data will be kept private and will be destroyed after 14 days.

In-Person Mass Format

Entering Church

Registered attendees (all with face masks) will line up (with six feet between parties) and may begin to enter the cleaned and sanitized church 30 minutes prior to the start of Mass through two entrances – the east side of the Gather Space (ramp entrance) and the north entrance to the church on State Street starting August 22. All attendees will be provided hand sanitizer upon entering the church (and a face mask if they do not have one). An usher will guide your party to available seats to ensure the six feet distance requirement between groups. Note: For daily Mass, attendees should enter the two east entrances directly from the parking lot into the sanctuary.

During Mass

For the safety of others and yourself, attendees must keep their masks on throughout Mass and maintain six-foot physical distance between parties. If you need to use the restrooms while in the building, please follow the directions on signage in the gather space. There will be no singing by the congregation due to the aerosolization of the virus nor any missalettes or hymn books in the pews. A cantor and accompanist provide music and song.

Communion during Mass

An usher will dismiss your row; you will be provided hand sanitizer as you approach to receive the host.

Communion will continue to be received in the hand only. Once you receive the host, please step to the side, lower your mask, consume the host, and then replace your mask before returning to your seat.

After receiving Communion, attendees should return to their seats for Mass announcements, final blessing, and the recessional hymn.

After Mass

Once Mass is complete, ushers will dismiss rows, and attendees will exit the east doors of the sanctuary.

Chapel and Eucharistic Adoration

Due to space considerations, the chapel is closed at this time. You may pray in the main gather space during the building open hours. Adoration in the parking lot will finish on Saturday, Aug. 15, and will resume on the main altar once all time slots have been filled on Monday, Aug. 31. You will find the sign-up book for Adoration in the Gather Space lobby with a sign by it.

Adoration Times:

  • Mon/Tues/Thurs from Noon to 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


A temporary confessional has been set up in the northwest corner (near the permanent confessional). Please observe the procedure below so we can celebrate the sacrament safely.


Monday-Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. and Daily from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.


  • Enter the east entrance to the sanctuary.
  • The line for confession begins in the back of the church. Stand on the designated spots on the floor to maintain proper social distancing while waiting. Please remain standing, and do not sit in the pews.
  • When it is your turn to celebrate the sacrament, approach the confessional. You have the option to celebrate the sacrament from behind the screen or face-to-face.
  • Once you are finished, follow the arrows to exit the confessional. You may remain for a few minutes to pray, but please only do so in the front half of the church.
  • Parishioners who are physically unable to manage the stairs at the east entrance and/or wait in line for confession may schedule an appointment with a priest by calling the church office.

COVID Precautions

Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth at all times inside the building and outside when social distance cannot be maintained. Anyone six and older must wear a mask; ages two to five are highly encouraged to wear a mask, and those ages two and under should not wear a mask per CDC guidelines.

Observe social distance of six-feet at all times.

Refrain from entering closed-off areas of the church.

Church spaces must be reserved by ministry leaders using the online St. Tom’s Event Planning Form.

The kitchen space will be assigned to one group at a maximum capacity of six persons working in the area. Contact Martin Schap, director of operations, for specifics on kitchen protocols before requesting the space by phone 765-743-4652, Ext. 224, or email

Persons reserving space for events are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that attendees observe social distance and mask protocol;
  • Sanitizing the space after the event is over (Stations with sanitizing solution and paper towels are available throughout the building.); and
  • Taking attendance and submitting the sheet to the Church Office immediately following the event. (Attendance sheets are available outside each room meeting space.)

Non-compliance = not wearing a mask, maintaining social distance or following directional signage (i.e., closed areas of the church)

If you observe non-compliance:

  1. ASK (ask the offender to comply),
  2. OFFER (offer them assistance to comply),
  3. LEAVE (leave the situation, if they continue to refuse), and then
  4. REPORT (report offenses to a priest or Martin Schap, director of operations).

To reopen (and keep open) the church and to ensure the well-being of our St. Tom’s community, we must follow these strict sanitation and distance protocols. We thank our Return to Worship Planning Committee (Alice Hession, John Cox, Julie Demerly, John Smith, Barb Strasburger, and Kenny Sebastian) for their insights and efforts, which are allowing us to open our doors to worship!

* St. Tom’s Return to Worship Plan is subject to change based on any new public directives by governmental authorities, Purdue University, and/or the Diocese of Lafayette.

Worship Resources

Other COVID-19 Resources