St. Thomas the Apostle Church, in the Diocese of Rochester, New York, is slated to be closed in the near future. Since we (many concerned parishioners) do not believe that this closure is the only option, we are proposing a solution which would ensure that a Roman Catholic presence be maintained in this locality.

Our proposal is that, in these days when so many new groups and communities are being formed in the Church, one of them would be invited into the Diocese in order to establish a mission or center of pastoral ministry here at the St. Thomas site.

Is there any interest "out there" in this apostolic venture???

It must be understood that any interested party will need to approach the Diocese of Rochester for admission, and will need to work out with it the details of the arrangement.

We are hoping and praying fervently - with all our hearts - that we can find a community which will share our vision, and that our Diocese will support such a project which could be beneficial to all.

For more information, continue reading below.

Church, Facilities, and Grounds of St. Thomas the Apostle

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More Information on St. Thomas the Apostle

St. Thomas the Apostle church is located in the quiet suburban town of Irondequoit, NY, which is a major suburb of the nearby city of Rochester. This spacious, multi-facility parish is expected to be placed on the real estate market in the very near future. A planning group is recommending the closure and sale of St. Thomas and one other nearby parish as part of a diocesan restructuring due to a shortage of priests.

St. Thomas’ campus is comprised of seven structures-the church, a former Catholic school, a former convent with a 3 car attached garage, a single family residence, and 2 large storage buildings. The church, dedicated in 1965, is a 23,000 sq. ft. building that is constructed of a reinforced concrete skeleton that is covered by brick veneer. The roof is a four dome structure that gives a Byzantine impression, technically known as “translational shell ceilings”. It has seating for approximately 1000 worshippers. The worship space induces a sense of the sacred, lending itself to solemn and dignified liturgical celebrations.

The former Catholic school building is approximately 25,000 sq. ft. and at its peak enrolled about 800 students. The building is currently leased to long time tenant, Stepping Stones Learning Center. Rental income from Stepping Stones is approximately $130,000/year.

The former convent, approximately 17,000 sq. ft., was originally built to house 22 nuns. It has a large kitchen, dining room, and living room along with multiple offices and bedrooms. Also, there is an attached chapel which currently features Eucharistic adoration from 9 am to 11 pm, Monday through Friday. Occasional Masses are offered in the chapel on special occasions.

Finally, there is the 2700 sq. ft. single family dwelling that sits on a separate parcel directly adjacent to the church property. This building is a traditional colonial style 4 bedroom brick home. It can either serve as an integral component of the parish campus or could be rented out for additional income.

Currently, St. Thomas has about 1800 registered Catholics with average weekend Mass attendance of about 500 worshippers. The sacramental averages since the year 2000 are: Baptisms-15/year; Weddings-6/year; Funerals-30/year; First Communion-16/year; Confirmation-17/year.

If the diocese closes St. Thomas and the other nearby church, there will be no Catholic church in a roughly 6 square mile area within the town of Irondequoit. This area is home to about 25,000 residents. Statistically, this means there are about 6,000 Catholics in this geographic region of the town.

St. Thomas has the potential to become a thriving regional Catholic community. Perhaps it could be something of a mission church. All the fundamentals are here-well catechized parishioners, evangelical zeal, Eucharistic piety, a large Catholic population, and financial stability. It will only take someone with a vision to build on this solid foundation.

Please note that this website is in no way affiliated with the Diocese of Rochester. Its intent is to convey information about the wonderful potential of this truly unique parish in the Rochester area. Please contact us at for more information.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Marian Holy Hour - 6:00 PM Friday August 13th

Please try to make it to a Marian Holy Hour being held in the Adoration Chapel of St. Thomas. Vespers begins at 6:00 PM, with silence from its completion until the beginning of Compline at 6:50 PM. At Vespers, we will chant the Ave Maris Stella, and then at Compline, the Salve Regina. Please try to come. I realize there is the rosary being said in the church around the same time, but it would be a wonderful thing to pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin in our beautiful Adoration Chapel. It's truly a gift from God that we have such a thing.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

IPPG Proposal Accepted

This evening, Fr. Tanck informed us that the bishop has accepted the IPPG proposal. His statement was rather vague and rushed, and he left before any questions could be asked. We will be trying to obtain more concrete information as the week progresses.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We Wait For Word

Friends - We are still waiting to hear from Bishop Clark regarding the future of our parish and the others in Irondequoit. We must maintain prayerful hope, and not give into the despair so common with people in our unfortunate position.

In order to keep everyone on the same page, here are links to the February 2010 and April 2010 editions of Veritas. Definitely give them a read. Please check here and at other Rochester blogs (i.e. Cleansing Fire) for news about St. Thomas and the Irondequoit cluster.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What's Going On With This Site?

I've gotten some emails asking what exactly is going on with this site.

Those of us in charge of the site think it prudent to wait until we have definitive word - YES, STA will be closing or NO, STA will not be closing. It would look pretty bad for us if we actually find a buyer, and then Bishop Clark hears our pleas. We would be causing him embarrassment, as we would ourselves.

We have a mission statement prepared, and which will be posted once the results of the next Presbyteral Council meeting are released to us. Please be patient - we need to do this thing right, or it won't yield any results for which we are hoping and praying.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Now is the Time for Prayer and Action

Dearest parishioners, now is the time when we should start looking around us for someone who may be able to help this vibrant and beautiful parish. Sometime this coming week, we will be posting an introduction to our efforts, explaining who we are, what we are doing, why we are doing it, etc. It will have information about the parish, our facilities, our uniqueness, our strengths.

Until this goes up, we should start contacting various priests, religious orders, monastic communities, and oratories, to see if anyone is looking for a parish to run in this part of the nation.

People have remarked that St. Thomas the Apostle is architecturally suited to chant, for reverent, dignified liturgy. Keep this in mind when you go forth, questing for assistance. Orders whose names have been suggested are as follows:

  • Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
  • Fraternity of St. Peter
  • Society of St. John Cantius,
  • the Barnabites
  • Benedictines
  • Conventual Franciscan Friars
  • Oratorians
  • Institute of Christ the King
As time goes on, we will be posting contact information for various of these orders, various other websites, dioceses, and other organizations who be able to help find priests to take over St. Thomas, or who may "know people who know people." There is definite reason to hope, dear friends. No doubt about it.

So, until such a time as we get around to posting the contacts, please take the initiative and seek these brothers, friars, priests, and monks out, explaining to them "with clarity and charity" what we are hoping for.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


More information will be posted soon, but I'll let you know the basics right now:

  • We are a group of lay people from the parish and beyond who would like to see the continued existence of a Catholic presence in this area of the Diocese of Rochester.
  • We would like to see St. Thomas the Apostle left open, even as a different entity, such as an oratory, monastery, etc . . .
  • We will be contacting various religious orders, bishops, priests, and apostolates to see if any of them would be willing to take over the parish, and make it a unique "canonical entity."
Please, until that time, feel free to email us at We have a calling as Catholics to defend Holy Mother Church. We are not launching this initiative out of selfishness, pain, anger, or frustration. Rather, we are doing this in the hopes that the area will continue to be a rich environment for the faith for years to come.