Coronavirus News Archive


Effective June 12, 2021, Bishop Kevin Vann is discontinuing the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass with the following exceptions:

  1. Those who are currently ill

  2. Those have a fever or exhibit flu-like symptoms

  3. Those who have good reason to think they might be asymptomatic of a contagious illness – such as COVID or influenza.

In those cases where a person may not be dispensed or excused from the obligation to attend Mass in one of the above categories but may have a significant fear or anxiety of becoming ill by being at Mass should speak to Fr. Eugene who may grant a dispensation in individual cases.

Keep in mind that those who are dispensed or excused from the obligation to attend Mass must still fulfill the divine command to keep holy the Lord’s Day and are encouraged to do so by participating in a livestream broadcast of the Sunday Mass, spending time in prayer, reading the Bible, praying the Rosary, and/or meditating on the Lord’s passion, death & resurrection.


Update Friday, May 14, 2021

The Diocese of Orange has issued the following statement:

“Per the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) new guidelines, fully vaccinated people are not required to wear a mask for Mass. However, those who are not fully vaccinated, including children, are still asked to wear a mask to ensure the health of all our parishioners.”.

Fully vaccinated means they have had both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for at least two weeks.

Click Here for Official CDC Guidance

Orange County is still in the Orange Tier and indoor occupancy is still restricted at 50%.

Also, if you are not fully vaccinated, please keep the following in mind:

  • Masks and 3 feet of social distancing required—keep at least one chair open between family groups

  • Please do not sit directly in front or behind someone—try to stagger your seating

  • Patio available for overflow—bring your own chair

  • For those who aren’t ready to come back in person, most Masses will continue to be livestreamed

Individual prayer is available only in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm and Saturday from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm. Please refer to our social media often for updates.

Our Bishop’s dispensation still applies. If you are over 65, or if you have an underlying health condition, or if you are truly afraid of catching the virus, you are not obligated, but you are always welcome to attend Mass in person. If you think you are sick, especially if you think you may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who tested positive, please join us via livestream.

Please know that we have all possible safety measures in place and look forward to seeing you all back at St. Thomas More.

We ask for your cooperation and patience as we navigate the directives in response to the pandemic. Even during these challenging times, we continue to worship our Lord as a faith-filled community.


Update: April 19, 2021

Three weeks ago Orange County moved into the orange tier. The reduced restrictions on places of worship allows indoor Mass occupancy at St. Thomas More to increase to 50%. As restrictions start to lift, please keep the following in mind:

  • Masks and 3 feet of social distancing required—keep at least one chair open between family groups

  • Please do not sit directly in front or behind someone—try to stagger your seating

  • Patio available for overflow—bring your own chair

  • For those who aren’t ready to come back in person, Masses will continue to be livestreamed

This includes baptisms and funerals. Also, individual prayer is available only in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. However, in-person gatherings of prayer groups, bible studies, Ministry meetings, etc. are still not allowed. Please refer to our social media often for updates.

Our Bishop’s dispensation still applies. If you are over 65, or if you have an underlying health condition, or if you are truly afraid of catching the virus, you are not obligated, but you are always welcome to attend Mass in person. If you think you are sick, especially if you think you may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who tested positive, please join us via livestream.

Please know that we have all possible safety measures in place and look forward to seeing you all back at St. Thomas More.

We ask for your cooperation and patience as we navigate the directives in response to the pandemic. Even during these challenging times, we continue to worship our Lord as a faith-filled community.


Update: April 6, 2021 – Indoor Services Occupancy Increased

On March 30, 2021, Orange County moved into the orange tier.  The reduced restrictions on places of worship now allow indoor Mass occupancy at St. Thomas More to increase to 50%.  This includes baptisms and funerals.  The patio will be available for any overflow.  Bring your own chair. Also, individual prayer is available only in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm.  However, in-person gatherings of prayer groups, bible studies, Ministry meetings, etc. are still not allowed.  Please refer to our social media often for updates.

Our Bishop’s dispensation still applies.  If you are over 65, or if you have an underlying health condition, or if you are truly afraid of catching the virus, you are not obligated, but you are always welcome to attend Mass in person.  If you think you are sick, especially if you think you may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who tested positive, please join us via livestream. 

Please know that we have all possible safety measures in place and look forward to seeing you all back at St. Thomas More.

We ask for your cooperation and patience as we navigate the directives in response to the pandemic.  Even during these challenging times, we continue to worship our Lord as a faith-filled community.


Update: February 9, 2021 – Indoor Services Allowed

As of February 6, 2021, indoor church services were again allowed by the State, with restrictions. Beginning February 10th, all Masses will move indoors with a maximum occupancy of 25% or 200 people. This includes Ash Wednesday, Adoration, Stations of the Cross, weddings, baptisms and funerals. The patio will be available for any overflow. Bring your own chair. Also, individual prayer is available only in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. However, in-person gatherings of prayer groups, bible studies, Ministry meetings, etc. are still not allowed. Please refer to our social media often for updates.

Face covering are still required and please maintain physical distancing.

Our Bishop’s dispensation still applies. If you are over 65, or if you have an underlying health condition, or if you are truly afraid of catching the virus, you are not obligated, but you are always welcome to attend Mass in person. If you think you are sick, especially if you think you may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who tested positive, please join us via livestream.

Please know that we have all possible safety measures in place and look forward to seeing you all back at St. Thomas More.

We ask for your cooperation and patience as we navigate the directives in response to the pandemic. Even during these challenging times, we continue to worship our Lord as a faith-filled community.


Update: November 16, 2020

Due to an increase in the number of COVID cases, Governor Newsom has moved Orange County back to the purple tier, as of November 16, 2020. All Masses and religious gatherings will be back outside again, effective November 17, 2020. Thank you for your patience, understanding and support during this time. Please refer to our social media often for updates. In-person gatherings of prayer groups, bible studies, Ministry meetings, etc. are not presently allowed. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is open for private, individual prayer Monday-Friday from 9am to 2pm.

Please note, the Bishop’s dispensation has been narrowed. If you are over 65, or if you have an underlying health condition, or if you are truly afraid of catching the virus, you are not obligated, but you are always welcome to attend Mass in person. If you think you are sick, especially if you think you may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who tested positive, please join us on livestream. Please know that we have all possible safety measures in place and look forward to seeing you all back at St. Thomas More.

We ask for your cooperation and patience as we navigate the directives in response to the pandemic. Even during these challenging times, we continue to worship our Lord as a faith-filled community.


Update: November 12, 2020

Orange County has moved from purple to red on the state’s COVID-19 tier ranking, allowing for limited indoor worship. However, the Diocese of Orange will continue to celebrate Sunday Morning Masses outside to accommodate the larger crowds, weather permitting. Weekend Evening Masses and Weekday Masses may be celebrated indoors with 100 people or less, or 25 percent of capacity. Baptisms, weddings and funeral Masses may be held indoors with 100 people or less attending.

In-person gatherings of prayer groups, bible studies, Ministry meetings, etc. are not presently allowed.

Dispensation from attending Sunday Mass has been revised – If you fall into one or more of these categories, you are not obligated but always welcome to attend Mass in person:

  • If you are over 65

  • If you have an underlying health condition

  • If you think you are sick, especially if you think you may have COVID-19

  • If you are truly afraid of catching the virus

The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is open for private, individual prayer Mon-Fri from 9:00am to 2:00pm. Please remember to keep a six foot physical distance, sanitize upon entrance/exit and please wear a face covering.

Please know that we have all possible safety measures in place and look forward to seeing you all back at St. Thomas More.


09/16/20 Parish Update

1. Orange County has moved from purple to red on the state’s COVID-19 tier ranking, allowing for limited indoor worship. However the Diocese of Orange will continue to celebrate Sunday Mass (and vigil Masses) outside to accommodate the larger crowds. Weekday Masses may be celebrated indoors with 100 people or less, or 25 percent of capacity. Based on our attendance, STM weekday Masses will be held outdoors. Baptisms, weddings and funeral Masses may be held indoors with 100 people or less attending. In-person gatherings of prayer groups, bible studies, Ministry meetings, etc. are not presently allowed.

2. Dispensation from attending Sunday Mass has been revised – If you fall into one or more of these categories, you are not obligated but always welcome to attend Mass in person:

  • If you are over 65

  • If you have an underlying health condition

  • If you think you are sick, especially if you think you may have COVID-19

  • If you are truly afraid of catching the virus

3. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is open for private, individual prayer Mon-Fri from 9:00am to 2:00pm. Please remember to keep a six foot physical distance, sanitize upon entrance/exit and please wear a face covering.

Please know that we have all possible safety measures in place and look forward to seeing you all back at St. Thomas More. Please check out the bulletin and our news page on the website at www.stmirvine.org for the most current information.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to the priests if you might have any questions or concerns.

Keeping you all in prayer during these challenging times. God bless.


06/06/2020 Update

We are excited to welcome, Faith family!
Public Mass begins, June 8th.

As we enter into our Phase 1 of reopening the Church, please follow the guidelines outlined below to ensure the safety of all those attending in-person, our priests, and volunteers. Other than the Mass schedule listed on the Home & Parish News pages, the church will remain CLOSED. The parish offices will continue to remain closed to the public until further notice.

Livestream Masses, on Facebook, will continue to be offered for those not ready to return. Streamed Mass times are the same as the public Mass schedule listed on the Home & Parish News pages.

***In-person Masses are limited to 100 people in the church. Please arrive 15-20 minutes early to ensure everyone is seated prior to the start of Mass. You may stand on the patio or grass and view Mass on the outside screen. Please socially distance responsibly if you choose this option.

In-person Mass guidelines:

– Please bring a mask to wear during Mass.

– Please sanitize your hands before entering the church.

– Please wait to be seated by an usher.

– Please socially distance at all times.

Those who are sick or have underlying health conditions, as well as those who are caring for someone who is sick, are encouraged to stay home.

Click for a copy of General Protocol

Please be patient with us as these procedures are new to us too! We have been working diligently to provide you with the cleanest, safest environment upon your return.

We can’t wait to see you!


Reopening of the Church for Public Masses – Updated 05/23/20

Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange has given permission for public Masses to resume at the Feast of Corpus Christi – weekend of June 13 & 14 (click for full News Release). We are very excited to be able to worship in person again.

St. Thomas More’s opening for Masses will come in phases. We will publicize our timeline for resuming Masses on our social media and website. We ask for your cooperation and patience as we work to welcome you back.

The current schedule of our Livestream Masses will remain the same until that date, at which time a new schedule will be posted.


Update on Reopening the Church – 05/22/20

We are grateful that President Trump has declared houses of worship as essential and is asking for the governors to allow churches to open. We understand and share with everyone’s desire to once again attend and participate in Mass in person.

However, we must be prudent in our actions. Under the direction of Bishop Vann, all parishes in the Diocese of Orange have been working on plans to reopen our churches. These plans include complying with the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control as well as directives from the Orange County Department of Health.

The health and safety of all who attend St. Thomas More is of the utmost importance. We will not be opening the church until it is safe to do so and are given permission by Bishop Vann.

We long for the day when we can all worship together again safely. Please check our social media often as we will post updates as soon as we receive them.


Update 04/27/2020 – How is Everyone Doing?

Hello STM family!

On behalf of Fr. John, Fr. Kiet and the STM staff, we hope you are doing well and staying safe!  As we approach the month of May, we wanted to share a few announcements with you.

  1. Join us for the livestream May crowning, followed by Adoration, this Friday, May 1st from 10am to 11am.  Please see Click Here for more information.

  2. All are encouraged to virtually attend the liturgy with the prayer of re-consecration that will take place on Friday, May 1 at Noon. Click Here or more information. The event will be available on the USCCB’s social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  3. Visit our Blessed Mother on Mother’s Day, May 10th (drive thru).  Click Here for more information.

  4. Drive up, walk up Confessions continue on Saturdays from Noon to 2pm with Fr. Kiet Ta and Fr. Joe Horn.

  5. Please continue to check our website (www.stmirvine.org) and social media (Facebook & Twitter) for the latest updates.

We are praying for you.  Please pray for us.


Update 04/03/2020 – Palm Distribution Postponed

Given the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation, Bishop Vann has decided that palms are not to be distributed on Palm Sunday this year but rather will be handed out at another time in the future, once times become more normal. Please ignore the previous instructions sent out as recently as this morning.

Thank you very much for your continued flexibility during these trying times.


4/1/2020: “Church Bells”

The message below is sent on behalf of Auxiliary Bishop Tim Freyer. 

As we continue to unite in prayer for the sick, caregivers and all affected by this pandemic, parishes are asked to ring their church bells throughout the day to call people to pray.  Even though St. Thomas More doesn’t have church bells, we are suggesting to pray at home during the following times:

9 a.m. – Prayer for those infected with the virus and all those who are ill

12 p.m. – Prayer for healthcare workers and those attending to the sick

3 p.m. – Prayer for first responders and essential workers

6 p.m. – Prayer for people of every nation and their leaders

9 p.m. – Prayer for those who have died today

Thank you for all your prayers and asking the Lord to help end this pandemic.


Update 3/30/20 – Distribution of Palms

Good afternoon STM family,
As Palm Sunday approaches, we wanted to share the plan for the distribution of palms with all of you.
The palms will be available to pick up in the office lobby during the following times:
Saturday, April 4th:  5 pm to 7 pm
Sunday, April 5th:  9 am to Noon
April 6th -11th:  9 am to 2 pm
The blessed palms will be laid out on a long table in the office lobby.  Enter the office lobby on the side closest to the parish library (parking lot side) and exit to the opposite (patio) side.  Please only touch and take one palm per person.  If there is a line, make sure to keep six feet apart.
Old palms can be dropped off in a separate box during this time. The collection box (“Believe” box) will also be in the lobby if you have any correspondence or donations to drop off.
Please let us know if you have any questions.  God bless.

Update as of 3/23/2020 (revised 4/6/2020):

Here are a few updates from Fr. John and Fr. Kiet for all of you:

1. Confessions:  there will be “Drive-up” Confessions from Noon to 2:00pm on Saturdays with Fr. Kiet, except during Holy Week and the following two weeks.  “Drive-up Confessions will resume Saturday, April 25th.  Cars will simply line up in the parking lot and wait for their turn.  When it is your turn, then you will get out of your car and sit in the chair outside Fr. Kiet’s open window.  The screen and shade will provide a barrier.

2. Mass intentions:  will be taken over the phone.  Please call the office to request a Mass Intention for the coming week.  Limit: One per family per week.  Once you have spoken with Windy or Glenda to confirm your Mass intention, checks can be mailed in or dropped off in the Believe box in the lobby.  Make sure to mark your own envelope with who the intention is for, living or deceased and who it is from.  Donations can also be made online on our website by clicking the e-giving button (Mass intention section).

3.  We are asking for photos of your family.  The photos will be pinned to the chairs in the church so that our clergy can see your smiling faces as they celebrate Mass. Email your photos to the office at: stephanie@stmirvine.org.

4.  Please send us photos of you and/or your family participating in the live-stream Mass.  Email your photos to stephanie@stmirvine.org.

All of us from the STM parish staff are praying for you!  God bless.


REVISED Update as of 3/20/2020:

Hi STM Family!  We hope you are all staying safe and healthy.  Fr. John and Fr. Kiet wanted to share some updates and reminders with all of you.

The Diocese sent out a statement regarding the Order from the Governor – Pandemic Emergency Order.  It states, in light of the Governor’s order for all California’s residents to remain at home, except essential services individuals.

What does this mean?

  • As public places, our church and office need to close to public entry until further notice per the Order.
  • All non-essential staff will need to work from home effective midnight on 3-19-2020, per the Order, until further notice.
  • Food distribution ministries may continue at the discretion of the pastor.  No one over 65 and/or underlying health conditions should participate
  • Parishes should plan to continue to provide livestream Masses
  • Funerals should be postponed
  • Sacramental preparation is to be conducted through digital or online tools
  • Daily confessions are suspended at this time.  Further clarification will be provided to you as soon as possible regarding both Confessions and Holy Week services
  • Anointing of the sick should continue, again, respecting the suggestions of civil authority and the regulations imposed by hospitals or convalescent homes
  • Please continue to offer support through phone calls, social media, etc.
  • Mass will continue to be livestreamed, Daily at 8am, Saturday Vigil at 4:30pm and for this weekend: Sunday at 9:30am via the STM Facebook page.
  • Please drop off your photos printed on an 8 1/2 x 11 paper and leave it in the envelope taped to the office door.  The photos will be taped to the chairs for the Masses this weekend so the priests can see your smiling faces as they celebrate Mass.
  • If you are not an e-giver, please consider setting up e-giving by clicking the link on the upper right hand corner of the website.  If you need assistance, please call the office between the hours of 9am to 2pm.  We will continue these office hours to receive calls, even though our doors will be locked.
  • Thank you for keeping in touch and continue to pray for each other.  It is important that we stay strong and support each other.  God bless!

Wednesday, March 18th Update: Latest News for the St. Thomas More Parish Family

In response to the COVID-19, all daily and Sunday in-person Masses in the Diocese of Orange will be temporarily cancelled until further notice. However, churches and parish offices will remain open for parishioners and others who wish to pray and seek spiritual assistance. Starting from Thursday, March 19th, our pending schedule at St. Thomas More parish will be:

OFFICE HOURS:
Monday-Friday: 9:00am-2:00pm
Saturday: 10am-2:00pm
 
CHURCH HOURS (for personal visit and prayer)
Monday-Friday: 9:00am-5:00pm
Saturday: 10am-2:00pm
Sunday: 8am-Noon

CONFESSIONS
10am to 2:00pm on Saturday in the Sacristy or by appointment

LIVESTREAMED MASS (STM Facebook Page)
8am for daily Mass from Monday to Saturday
4:30pm Vigil Mass

Parishioners can also view Sunday Masses on Channel 56 at 9am or via livestream at Facebook.com/ChristCathedralCA in English at 9:45 a.m., Spanish at 11:30 a.m. and Vietnamese at 1:15 p.m.

Christ Cathedral has plans to livestream daily Mass in English at 6:30 a.m. and Vietnamese 5:30 p.m.

St. Edward the Confessor will livestream its 8:15 a.m. morning Mass from Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday at http://stedward.com/stedcast/.


Tuesday, March 17 Second Update:  Things still in Flux – Keep checking!

Hello everyone!

This is father Kiet (on behalf of father John and STM staff)

This afternoon, we just got another urgent notice from the Diocese of Orange that, under the order of Orange County Health Department, all churches and their offices must be locked up until further notice.

Unfortunately, all our previous plan, including livestream mass in church, private confession, individual visit and adoration, must be cancelled.

However, nothing can stop us to try our best to reach you. I plan to have livestream mass at home, contact you through email, website, Facebook…

So please keep in touch and spread out my word to others. Please also comment below for support and encouragement. Let us stand still throughout this difficult time and remind each other that WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT.

I break my Lenten promise by using Facebook for this. But I’m in peace because I’m doing everything through Him, with Him and in Him.

Thank you and keep in touch!

Fr. Kiet Ta


Tuesday, March 17th: Things are changing rapidly, so please continue to check back for updates.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Kevin Vann today announced that starting Tuesday, March 17, all daily and Sunday in-person Masses in the Diocese of Orange will be temporarily cancelled. However, churches will remain open for parishioners and others who wish to pray and seek spiritual assistance.

The church at St. Thomas More will be open for prayer during the following times:

Monday-Friday: 9:00am-5:00pm , Saturday: 10am-2:00pm  and Sunday: 8am-Noon

Confessions:  10am to 2:00pm on Saturday in the Sacristy or by appointment during the week

Office Hours:

Monday – Friday:   9:00am-2:00pm

Saturday:             10:00am-2:00pm

All Catholics in the Diocese of Orange are dispensed from the obligation of attending Mass.

A decision on when Masses will resume will be made in coordination with state and local public authorities.

Parishioners will be able to view Sunday Masses on Channel 56 at 9am or via livestream at Facebook.com/ChristCathedralCA in English at 9:45 a.m., Spanish at 11:30 a.m. and Vietnamese at 1:15 p.m.  Fr. Kiet will livestream Mass via Facebook and Instagram at 8am Monday-Friday and 4pm on Saturday.  Link will be posted on our website.  Stay tuned for additional information.

Christ Cathedral has plans to livestream daily Mass in English at 6:30 a.m. and Vietnamese 5:30 p.m.

St. Edward the Confessor will livestream its 8:15 a.m. morning Mass from Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday at http://stedward.com/stedcast/.

Mass is available on broadcast television on channel 56 at 9am on Sundays.

Beginning today, Tuesday, March 17, Word on Fire will be offering daily Mass for the foreseeable future.

Join Bishop Barron or Word on Fire CEO Fr. Steve Grunow, right here https://www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass.

This prudent step Bishop Vann is taking today is in helping to stop the virus from spreading and one more step in keeping OC Catholics healthy.

Please call us if you have any questions.  God bless.


March 16, 2020

We hope you all are staying healthy and safe.  We are doing our best at St. Thomas More to keep a healthy environment for those who wish to come and worship in our beautiful church.   As of today, the church is open and Mass will continue.  The daily Rosary will continue after Mass.  On Friday, we plan on having Adoration and Stations of the Cross.  All non-liturgical activities have been canceled. We will continue with this until we receive additional updates from Bishop Vann.

We currently have enough cleaning supplies, however due to the demand and projected duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, we may not have adequate supplies.  We are asking for donations of hand sanitizer, wipes, disinfectant spray, bleach and soap.

The steps we have taken so far to keep STM safe:

1. Removing Holy Water

2. Keeping the doors open for airflow during Mass and to avoid contact with doors

3. Sanitizing all hard surfaces on a daily basis

4. Priests and Eucharistic Ministers are using hand sanitizer before and after distributing Holy Communion

5. Social Distancing – standing and sitting 6 feet apart

6. Collection baskets will be at the exits as to avoid contact.  E-giving is encouraged.

7. Altar Servers will not wear albs and have been given additional space in their area.

8.  Overflow rooms available with close circuit Mass feed to those who are concerned about being in large gatherings

9.  No music to allow for shorter Mass times.

10.  Priests have been asked to shorten their homilies.

11. No communion from the cup.

12.  No hand holding hands during the Our Father or shaking hands


March 13, 2020

Out of concern and care of the people, Fr. John Janze has canceled all non-liturgical activities through the end of March.  On April 1, he will re-evaluate the situation and provide updated information.

Masses will continue on our regular schedule as will Adoration, Stations of the Cross, Reconciliations and Baptisms.

Just a reminder – Bishop Vann has stated that the faithful are not to hold hands during the Our Father or shake hands at the sign of peace.  Communion from the cup has been discontinued until further notice.  Holy water has been removed from the fonts.

Given that the State of California and the County of Orange have declared a health emergency, the potential for person-to-person spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. and to ease the concerns of our faithful, Bishop of Orange Kevin Vann, in accordance with Code of Canon Law, dispenses those who are sick or, out of legitimate concern for their health and/or the health of others wish to avoid crowded areas, from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, until further notice.

Parishioners who are unable to attend Mass are encouraged to view the livestream broadcast each Sunday from Christ Cathedral at 9:45 a.m. at https://www.facebook.com/ChristCathedralCA or 9 a.m. from St. Edward the Confessor parish at http://stedward.com/stedcast/.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the parish office at 949-551-8601.


Coronavirus Resources
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