On behalf of all the priests, deacons, sisters, and the parishioners of Saint Thomas More Parish, I welcome you as part of our family. You will soon begin to experience, if you have not seen already, the great faith, love, and hospitality of this community. I am sure that your presence among us will contribute greatly into building up this parish.
As you read through this directory, you will find the numerous groups, ministries, and programs that we are blessed to have here at Saint Thomas More. They are diverse from Youth Ministry to the Prime Time Club, from the Women’s Guild to the Men of Saint Thomas More, and so many more wonderful organizations. There are also many programs designed to enrich your spiritual lives. We ask you to consider growing in your knowledge and love of the Lord. Each of us has a role to play in extending the Body of Christ to others. Our parish community desires your time and talent in these endeavors.
We invite you to accept the opportunity to give your all to Christ so that you might give Christ to all. May God Bless you and your family!
Thanks for being part of our parish. We need you and we welcome you. If we can ever assist you, do not hesitate to call. As an extension of Christ’s ministry we strive to be His servants to you.
Saint Thomas More
“I am the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
Saint Thomas More (1478-1535) After a thorough grounding in religion and the classics, Saint Thomas More entered Oxford to study law. After the university he embarked on a legal career which took him to Parliament. In 1505, he married Jane Colt who bore him four children, and when she died at a young age, he married a widow, Alice Middleton, to be a mother for his young children. This learned man numbered Bishops and scholars among his friends, and by 1516 wrote his famous book “Utopia.” He attracted the attention of Henry VIII who appointed him to a succession of high posts, and finally made him Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, he resigned in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage and the supremacy of the Pope. The rest of his life was spent in writing mostly in defense of the Church. In 1534, with his close friend, Saint John Fisher, he refused to render allegiance to the King as the Head of the Church of England and was confined to the Tower. Fifteen months later, and nine days after Fisher’s execution, he was tried and convicted of treason. He told the court that he could not go against his conscience. And on the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as “the King’s good servant-but God’s first.” He was beheaded on July 6, 1535. His feast day is June 22nd.
Brief History of Saint Thomas More Parish
In 1966, the land south and west of Allentown was dotted with an ever growing number of residential developments. Many more acres of farmland were destined to absorb the steady sprawl of Lehigh County. Within this framework of demography and necessity, Saint Thomas More Parish was born. On a Sunday morning in May 1966, Bishop Joseph McShea announced its formation with a nucleus of 550 families and 17 acres of undeveloped land. The first new parish in 38 years was launched. It was exciting news to the members of this area.
The Bishop’s challenge was met by a fledgling Catholic community full of resolve and hope. The catalyst was the Reverend Robert Coll, a very dynamic leader. Groundbreaking was held on Christmas Eve of 1967 and construction began shortly after. Saint Thomas More Church was formally dedicated on October 17,1971. Bishop McShea celebrated a Mass attended by 1,000 worshippers and 41 priests. It was the culmination of five years of sacrifice and service by a parish that had grown to 750 families. In 1974, the parish center was completed which provided room for both the priests and the staff. Monsignor Coll left the parish in 1980 to become assistant executive director of Catholic Relief Services.
The Reverend John P. Murphy became pastor in October 1980. He was previously the pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Allentown. At the time he was the youngest pastor in the Diocese. Through his twenty-eight and counting years of leadership, the Church and School has seen tremendous growth. In 1981, the first kindergarten classes began at the school. Another major addition was the opening of the Saint Thomas More Family Center in 1982. This serves as a school cafeteria by day, meeting space by night, and social functions and private receptions on the weekend. In 1989, the generous people of the parish contributed over one million dollars to the “Share the Moment” campaign. The sanctuary, roof, and daily Mass Chapel were among the projects which the money went directly towards. Today over 2,900 families belong to this growing parish, 610 children comprise the largest grade school in the Diocese, and 530 are enrolled in our religious education program. We are an active and vibrant parish and invite all families to become involved in our parish.
FRIDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY
An informal lecture class that takes people deeper into the Scripture readings of the Mass. Meetings are held every Friday after the 8:45 am mass in the Disciples Room, September – May.
MEN’S MORNING BIBLE STUDY
An early morning fellowship that brings men together around God’s word. Meetings are held every Friday at 6:45 am in the Disciples Room, September – June.
SUMMER BIBLE WORKSHOP
An all-day event held in July that seeks to nurture one’s love for the Scriptures.
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FALL & SPRING EDUCATION SERIES
Topical lecture series that delves into relevant issues regarding faith, doctrine, and history. Meetings are held Mondays 7:30 P.M. in the Disciples Room, from Sept. – Dec. and Jan. – May.
DR. BRENNAN PURSELL
Short-term, informal small groups that seek to nurture faith and strengthen relationships. 10 week session held in the Spring and Fall.
WOMEN OF GRACE
A renowned Catholic study program that focuses on authentic femininity. Nine week sessions offered throughout the year.
RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS (RCIA)
A program that introduces people to the Catholic Church and seeks to guide catechumens into full communion. Classes are held every Tuesday at 7 P.M., and Sunday, 10:30 A.M. Mass. September— May.
FR. JARED ZAMBELLI
An enriching weekend of prayer and reflection held annually in March.
MSGR. JOHN MURPHY
PARISH VOCATIONS COMMITTEE
A group that seeks to foster, affirm and promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life. New members welcome.
Meetings held on the second Thursday of every month.
in the Parish Center.
Holy hour observed on the First Friday of each month
at 4:15 pm in the chapel.
DIVINE MERCY CENACLE
Gathers twice per month on Tuesday at 9:30 A.M. in the Disciples Room.
EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION
NATALIE PIONEGRO (CHURCH)
DEACON JIM TOOLAN (HOME VISITS)
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Support Groups & Programs
ADVENT/LENT PRAYER RETREATS
An Ignatian prayer journey to prepare the hearts of the faithful for the approaching holy celebrations. Meets Saturdays, 8:30 A.M., in the Disciples Room.
JARED RABOLD & BONNIE SELL
CHI-RHO (Christians Reaching Out)
A network of volunteers who provide service and support to fellow parishioners in need: i.e., prayer, visits, meals and transportation.
Widows and widowers who gather monthly to offer support through spiritual and social activities to fellow parishioners who have experienced the loss of a spouse.
A Loving outreach that provides faith-centered support to parents who have lost a child during pregnancy or neonatal infancy..
FRIENDS OF THE CARPENTER
A group of handy parishioners who help elderly members with small household repairs at no charge.
CHRIS BIRKHEAD &
DEACON JIM TOOLAN
PARISH NURSE PROGRAM
Health professionals who seek to holistically care for parishioners physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
JULIE TESTEN &
MARY LOUISE PADOLICK
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Youth Ministries & Organizations
Special worship time and catechisis for children 3 – 5 years old. Located in the Shepherd’s room during select masses. Saturday 5:30 P. M., Sunday 9:00 A.M. and 10:30 A.M.
TAMMY VAN KOOTEN
SENIOR HIGH YOUTH MINISTRY
A ministry that seeks to nurture spiritual growth and promote service among our teen community.
JON & MARTINA PEACE
Open to parish boys and girls in grades 5 – 12.
FR. JARED ZAMBELLI
TEEN AND CHILDREN’S CHOIRS
CHILDREN’S ROSARY (ARMATA BIANCA)
First Fridays at 3:15 pm in the church during the school year.
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JV BASKETBALL (5-8)
CROSS COUNTRY (K-8)
JV VOLLEYBALL (5-8)
BOYS & GIRLS SOCCER
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St. Thomas More Family Center
Customizes wedding receptions, cocktail parties, and corporate events.
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MEN OF ST. THOMAS (M.O.S.T.)
A men’s group that fosters the spiritual, physical and intellectual development of men and provides opportunities for service to the parish and community.
ACTIVITIES: Monthly Breakfasts, Spaghetti Dinner, Softball Game and Lenten Day of Recollection
FRANK BERRY, PRESIDENT
The purpose of this organization is to aid the Pastor in development of family life in the parish. Its activities are primarily spiritual and social.
ACTIVITIES: Mother & Daughter Brunch, reception for STM and HS graduates, mother & son roller skating party, anniversary couples mass & brunch and children’s Christmas Party.
CATHY SPISSZAK, President
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS COUNCIL #4397
An international Catholic men’s organization that seeks to promote the faith, family, fraternity and service.
ACTIVITIES: Easter egg hunt, Knight at the Races, Free Throw Contest, Soup & Stations and Children’s Halloween party.
KEN LUPOLE, GRAND KNIGHT
STM MOM’S GROUP
A social group for moms and dads and their preschoolers and infants.
A group of Bridge enthusiasts who get together monthly to play a marathon game of Bridge, September – May.
JOE & DOTTIE CRAGO