Worship Service Overview

We offer a wide variety of worship services throughout the week at Saint Thomas Church. Below you can find descriptions of weekly worship and how different kinds of services work.


Weekly Worship

Sundays

Each Sunday, we offer three or four opportunities to worship. Most of our parishioners regularly attend one of the three morning services, which all are Masses, and some return for Evensong at 4pm (offered on most Sundays from September through mid-May). Visitors are welcome at any service, of course.

8am – Holy Eucharist in the Chantry Chapel

This short, said service usually lasts about 30 minutes. It is ideal for those who want to start off their week with readings from Holy Scripture, prayers, and the Eucharist…and then be on their way. There is no music at this service.

9am – Sung Eucharist at the High Altar

This service is similar to the 8am service, but includes music. The congregation sings hymns and part of the liturgy, such as the gloria and the agnus dei. For this service only, members of the congregation may sit in the choir stalls in the chancel, or in the regular pews in the nave. The service typically lasts about 45 minutes and is followed by a Coffee Hour in the living and dining room of the Parish House. This service is ideal if you want to attend adult education classes at 10am, or if you have children in Sunday School, which also meets at 10am.

11am – Choral Eucharist at the High Altar

This service, always with a choir, usually has by far the largest attendance of the Sunday services. It includes hymns, appointed readings, a psalm sung by the choir, a sermon, prayers, the Eucharist, and anthems sung by the choir. Depending on the service, it might include incense and various processions. From September through May, the vast majority of the 11am services are sung by the full Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. However, when the choir school is on break, it’s the Gents only. In the summer months we usually have visiting choirs.

The 11am liturgy is followed by Coffee Hour in the living and dining room of the Parish House. Also, a formal tour of the Church is often offered following this service.

4pm – Choral Evensong at the High Altar

September – Mid-May

Choral Evensong is generally a more contemplative way to worship, requiring only minimal active participation from the congregation. Therefore, it is popular among those who are new to the Episcopal tradition of worship. And because it is beautiful, it is also popular among those who are well acquainted with the tradition, especially among those who follow the routine of daily worship.

Please note that unlike weekday Choral Evensongs at Saint Thomas, Sunday Choral Evensongs are not followed by a celebration of the Eucharist. If you would like to make your Holy Communion at Saint Thomas on a Sunday, please come at 8am, 9am or 11am.

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Weekdays

Every Monday through Saturday, there is at least one celebration of the Mass at Saint Thomas. In addition, on Mondays through Fridays, we usually offer Morning Prayer (followed by Holy Eucharist) and Evening Prayer or Choral Evensong (also followed by Holy Eucharist).

Because our schedule of worship is impacted by various considerations, including the liturgical calendar, federal holidays, choir school sessions, and special events, the schedule of worship services for any given week may vary from the list below. Therefore, please see the worship calendar for particular dates. That said, in general, our weekday worship schedule is as follows:

Mondays and Fridays

  • 8am – Morning Prayer & Holy Eucharist (Rite I)
  • 12:10pm – Holy Eucharist (Rite II)
  • 5:30pm – Evening Prayer & Holy Eucharist (Rite I)

Tuesdays through Thursdays

  • 8am – Morning Prayer & Holy Eucharist (Rite I)
  • 12:10pm – Holy Eucharist (Rite II), includes healing service
  • 5:30pm – Choral Evensong or Evening Prayer, followed by Holy Eucharist (Rite I)

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Saturday *

12:10pm – Holy Eucharist (Rite I)

* One Saturday per month is usually set aside in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and another is usually set aside for a said Requiem Mass for all faithful departed, usually in the Resurrection Chapel.

On federal holidays we typically only have one celebration of the Eucharist (Rite I) at 12:10pm, with no Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. Also, sometimes when we have an evening concert in the church, we have a simple Eucharist at 5:30pm with no Evening Prayer. So, again, it’s always best to check the worship calendar for a precise schedule of worship services and times.

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Service Overview

The Daily Office, followed by Holy Eucharist

The daily cycle of Morning and Evening Prayer is called The Daily Office. A good portion of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, is broken down into lessons to be read daily in a two-year cycle. Therefore, if you attended every Morning and Evening Prayer at Saint Thomas for two consecutive years, you would hear most of the Bible in those two years. If you want to read the psalms and lessons appointed for each day, simply go to the worship calendar and click on the individual listings for Morning Prayer & Evening Prayer. The scripture citations are listed for each day.

When Morning and Evening Prayer are said (as in the Chantry services), they last about 10 minutes each. They are followed by a celebration of the Eucharist, so the combined Daily Office and Mass typically lasts approximately 35 to 40 minutes. The Eucharist often includes a short homily for the day. The topic is often the saint we remember on that day.

When Evening Prayer is sung (and therefore is called “Evensong”), which is often several times a week (September-May), it lasts about 40 minutes, and is followed by a brief, said mass at the high altar. We are pleased to offer Choral Evensong nearly 120 times each year. In addition to Sundays at 4pm, we frequently have Choral Evensong at 5:30pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If a major feast day falls on one of these days, Choral Evensong is replaced by a choral Festal Eucharist.

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The Weekday and Saturday 12:10 Mass

The 12:10 Mass is offered six days a week (Monday – Saturday) every week of the year. Even on federal holidays, when we have no Morning and Evening Prayer followed by a Mass, we nevertheless always have the 12:10 Mass.

  • The Tuesday 12:10 Mass includes a healing service.
  • The Mass on the first Saturday of the month is usually in honor of the Virgin Mary.
  • The Mass on the second Saturday of the month is usually a said requiem for all faithful departed, held in the Resurrection Chapel.
  • The 12:10 Mass is Rite II when there are other masses on that day. If the 12:10 Mass in the only celebration of the Eucharist for the day, it is Rite I.

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Choral Evensong

Based on the services held daily in the medieval Church, Choral Evensong as arranged in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England has been sung regularly since the sixteenth century. Many people who are new to worship at Saint Thomas enjoy the contemplative feel of Evensong.

At Saint Thomas, Choral Evensong typically occurs four times a week from September through May: Sundays at 4pm and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm. For exceptions, please check the worship calendar. Check our music lists see which settings of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis will be sung on any particular date by looking at the music list.

When we have Choral Evensong on a weekday, it replaces Evening Prayer in the Chantry Chapel. If a major feast day falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, Choral Evensong is replaced with a weekday Festal Eucharist, which is more similar to a Sunday morning service than to Choral Evensong.

Also, there is no Mass following Sunday Evensongs, but there is almost always a Mass following weekday Evensongs.

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