March 17, 2023

Mass Excursions

St. Thomas More members ‘know, love and serve God and neighbors’

St. Thomas More Parish in Mooresville
By Natalie Hoefer

Chat with Father Jude Meril Sahayam about St. Thomas More Parish in Mooresville, and it becomes obvious—from Bible studies to bereavement ministry, from health fairs to interfaith community outreach—the parishioners of the 55-year-old Morgan County faith community put into action every word of the parish’s mission: “To know, love and serve God and our neighbors.”

‘Strong in faith’ and ‘visible in the community’

One of the first things that impressed Father Sahayam when he became administrator of the parish in July 2021 was the singing.

“Every parish I go to, I listen to how people pray and sing. They pray and sing so strong here—very loud, very unified!” he said enthusiastically. “The people here are very strong in faith.”

For example, he said, the parish has four Bible study groups that meet every week. And once a month, the parish youths take on ministries at Mass, from greeting and ushering to lectoring and singing.

“There is a growing number of young families” at St. Thomas More, said Father Sahayam. “And there is strong leadership here, from staff members to committee leaders—every committee is really strong.”

Even the new ones, he said. A parish bereavement ministry began last year, providing eight sessions to help those grieving the loss of a loved one. A new round of sessions just began at the start of the Lenten season.

The Bible studies and bereavement sessions help parishioners “know, love and serve God.” But opening these and many other ministries—including a social group for widows and a senior exercise club—to those outside the parish and from other faiths becomes a means for the faith community to “know, love and serve God and our neighbor.”

Knowing, loving and serving God and neighbor is especially evident in St. Thomas More Parish’s outreach efforts.

“We’re trying to be more visible in the community,” said Father Sahayam.

For instance, the parish is involved with Churches in Mission, an interfaith ministry in Mooresville that serves those in need in Morgan County.

The parish recently started an additional way to serve the local community.

“Last year, we held a public health fair,” Father Sahayam explained. “We offered blood draws, shots, checked bone density, cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar. There was an addictions center [represented], a booth on breast cancer. It’s a community thing we want to do annually.”

The parish’s annual fall festival, while a fun opportunity, is also a means to reach the local community.

“Catholics are a minority in Mooresville,” said Father Sahayam. “So, we have Mass during the festival and invite everyone to come. We offer a church tour. Deacon Joe [Beauchamp] puts everything in the sanctuary—thurible, bells, hymnal, books, holy water, incense, holy oils, crucifix, chasuble—and explains all of it.”

He welcomes all to visit St. Thomas More, whether coming for the festival, joining a bereavement session or just walking the parish’s outdoor Stations of the Cross during Lent,

“The first thing I hear from visitors is, ‘You have a great community,’ ” Father Sahayam said. “There’s a homey feel here, a closeness. I hope many people come to experience it.”

For Mass times and ministry information, go to or call 317-831-4142.

Things to do from the common to the uncommon

A visit during the annual St. Thomas More festival offers a chance to see the parish—both from the ground and the sky. Hot air balloon rides are just one of the offerings at this year’s festival, set for Sept. 15 (5-10 p.m.) and Sept. 16 (3-10 p.m.). The event will also offer a magic show, raffles, bingo, food and a beer garden.

But worshipping at Mass at St. Thomas More can be part of fun-filled daytrip to Morgan County any time of year.

There are common popular activities nearby, like hiking at Morgan-Monroe State Forest in southern Morgan County (, 765-792-3145); taking in a round of golf at Eagle Pines Golf Club in Mooresville (, 317-831-4774); or enjoying a canoe ride on the West Fork of the White River (, 812-340-0700).

Or you might try for something a little uncommon. Check out a sprint car race on the dirt track at Paragon Speedway (; try your hand at “airsoft”—similar to paint ball—at Shot Zone in Martinsville (, 317-608-3893); learn about bees at Hunter’s Honey Farm in Martinsville, where you can take a tour, bottle honey, make a beeswax candle or take a hayride (, 765-537-9430); or pick your own lavender and enjoy a picnic at Willowfield Lavender Farm in Mooresville (,

Father Sahayam also recommends dining at Gray Brothers Cafeteria in Mooresville, known for their pies—20 varieties, according to its current menu (, 317-790-2191). He also likes The House, a Christian-based breakfast/lunch restaurant decorated with “good sayings from the Bible,” he said (, 317-584-3790).

Wherever you eat or however you spend your day in the area, be sure to worship Christ at Mass with the members of St. Thomas More Parish.

(Mass Excursions is a feature highlighting an archdiocesan parish and local attractions, encouraging a trip to the area that includes Mass with the members of that parish.)

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