As we end one school year and begin to make preparations for the start of the next, I want to update you on some notable changes occurring at Our Lady Star of the Sea School.

Thank you to the Sisters of Mercy

In 1908, the Sisters of Mercy began their ministry of education in Atlantic City at Our Lady Star of the Sea School.  Over the next 10 years, they also staffed the schools of St. Nicholas of Tolentine and Holy Spirit.  They have been part of the city’s Catholic backbone ever since.

On May 18, we offered the rites of Christian burial for Sister Mary Ann.  She was not only the school’s guidance counselor; she was also a great source of counsel to me.  May she rest in peace.  Now, only Sister Shamus and Sister Christine remain in the convent.  Sister Christine decided to retire from teaching this spring.  In August, she and Sister Shamus will leave for Mt. St. Mary’s in Watchung, New Jersey.  Sister Shamus will live in McAuley Hall and Sister Christine will work at Gabriel Hall, an assisted living environment for older Sisters.  Before they return to their motherhouse, we will honor the Sisters’ 111-year history of Catholic education in our city.  The event is tentatively scheduled for Monday, August 5 at 5:15 PM.

I am personally grateful to the Sisters for their support since I arrived to unite the city’s churches into a single parish.  They supported me by their prayers, their words of encouragement, and their presence at events, particularly those they understood were my part of my efforts to energize the new citywide parish.  Although their ministry was in the school, they completely supported the parish and me.

While we will miss the Sisters of Mercy in our school, I am encouraged that the presence of women religious will continue with the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, who regularly lead the students in prayer.

Thank you, Mrs. Tarrant

In 2014, Susan Tarrant became our school’s first lay principal.  When I arrived a year later, we shared our opinion that the school, already distinguished as the island’s last Catholic school, must be positively set apart from other local schools.  Mrs. Tarrant drew upon her expertise in curriculum and transitioned the school to a “Blended Learning” curriculum, a cutting-edge approach that allows all students to work at their individual instructional level to ensure maximum growth.  We are now a model school in the diocese.

With the transition complete, Mrs. Tarrant decided to retire this summer.  I pray that she and her husband Jerry, himself newly retired, will enjoy rest and more time together.

A search for a new principal has already begun.  The new principal inherits a great deal from her predecessors: a strong Catholic identity, thanks to the Sisters of Mercy, and a strong curriculum, thanks to Mrs. Tarrant.  The new principal’s charge will be to boldly promote the school throughout Absecon Island.  She will have the help of a new five-member school board including alumni and local leaders.  The board will meet monthly beginning this summer.

Renovations are underway

I hope you read the May 28 article in The Press of Atlantic City about this summer’s renovations to the school’s main entrance and lower grade classrooms.  These renovations will bring at least part of the school building up to speed with our modern curriculum.  They are made possible by funding from our parish’s Catholic Strong campaign and parishioner Tom Sykes, SOSH Architects, and John Mirenda Construction.

You and I have witnessed a lot of change in the last several years.  What has not changed is our commitment to a strong Church in Atlantic City, including its parochial school, and our devotion to the eternal God.  May his Providence continue to chart our course.

Fr. Jon Thomas, Pastor

Who We Are

The Parish of Saint Monica serves all of Atlantic City.  It includes the churches of Our Lady Star of the Sea, St. Nicholas of Tolentine, and St. Michael.  Sunday and daily Mass are celebrated in the churches of Star of the Sea and St. Nicholas.  Mass is celebrated occasionally in St. Michael's Church.  All three churches are available for weddings and funerals.  The parish has special ministries to Hispanic, Vietnamese, and black Catholics.

The parish supports Our Lady Star of the Sea School, the only Catholic school on Absecon Island.  A Catholic Charities office is located at St. Michael's.

St. Nicholas Virtual Concert with Nick Myers

If you missed it, watch Sunday's concert on YouTube.

Celebration of the Liturgy of the Word

You can use this guide for the Palm Sunday celebration of the Liturgy of the Word.  In this way, you can still pray liturgically as a household tomorrow even though Mass is not possible.

Good Friday: Noon - Litany of the Sacred Heart

Join in prayer in the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at 12 PM this Good Friday, April 10, 2020. Visit Good Friday Solemn Intercession.

Acompañenos en oracion el Viernes Santo en la Pasion del Señor a las 12 PM el 10 de Abril del 2020. Visite Viernes Santo Intercesion.

Prayer during the Pandemic

Lord Jesus, you heal the sick.  We pray that the coronavirus that has affected so many in our world can be contained, controlled, and cured.  We lift up to your mercy all those affected, all those working hard to study and cure this illness, and all health care professionals and emergency management teams that are working day and night to keep us safe.  Help us, Lord, to trust in your merciful care.  Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.  Amen.

COVID-19 Spiritual, Health, and Financial Resources

Our pastoral associates, Sister Celeste and Laura, have compiled a great list of Web sites with reliable information for coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 Update 3/21/2020

Effective Saturday 3/21 at 4 PM, all parish churches and buildings are closed to the public.  To be clear, the churches will not be open for Eucharistic adoration, private prayer, or confession.


1) There are no public Masses.
2) The parish priests will pray Mass daily for the listed intentions and for all of the people of our citywide parish.
3) Holy Communion will be given only to the dying.

Other Sacraments & Funerals

4) Baptism and anointing of the sick, except in case of emergency, are prohibited.
5) Weddings are prohibited.
6) Funeral Masses are prohibited, but a priest can offer committal prayers at the cemetery.  However, there cannot be more than 10 people present, including the priest and funeral director(s).

Parish Office
7) The parish office is closed, but voicemail and email messages will be answered as soon as possible.

Parish Events
8) All gatherings of any kind are canceled until further notice.

A Beautiful Idea for Palm Sunday

Una hermosa idea para Domingo de Ramos



Donations for the week ending Friday, April 3

  • Sunday Offertory: $0
  • Electronic Giving Donations: $767.39 (fees already deducted)
  • Budget: $15,609.00
  • Mailed Donations: $3,289.00
  • St. Nicholas Restoration Donations: $0
  • Poor Box: $300.00

 Donations for the week ending Friday, March 27

  • Sunday Offertory: $0
  • Electronic Giving Donations: $176.38 (fees already deducted)
  • Budget: $15,609.00
  • Mailed Donations: $1,739.00
  • St. Nicholas Restoration Donations: $0

Donations for the week ending Friday, March 20

  • Sunday Offertory: $0
  • Electronic Giving Donations: $604.79 (fees already deducted)
  • Budget: $15,609.00
  • Mailed Donations: $9,815.00*
  • St. Nicholas Restoration Donations: $510.00

* One check was for $7,000.  Many thanks to this North Jersey visitor!

For the sake of simplicity, we are not splitting the "mailed donations" total by envelope.  The total includes donations for Sundays, holy days, and special causes beyond the parish.

New Addresses for Catholic Strong, House of Charity

The diocesan offices are also closed during this time, so you may be wondering about the best address for mailing your Catholic Strong and House of Charity payments.  The diocese asks that you mail them to their lockboxes:

House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal
Diocese of Camden, NJ
PO Box 824763
Phila., PA. 19182-4763

Catholic Strong
Diocese of Camden, NJ
PO Box 829804
Phila., PA. 19187-9804

Our parish has raised $38,155, which is 25% of our goal.  If you haven't pledged to the House of Charity for 2020 yet, please consider doing so on their secure Web site.

Thanks for continuing to support Catholic services in South Jersey (House of Charity) and our parish's goals, stated below, via Catholic Strong!  May God bless you and your household.

Our Goals

The Parish of Saint Monica has two great goals: (1) the survival and growth of Our Lady Star of the Sea School and (2) the interior restoration of St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church.  These goals are ambitious.

First Goal

Star of the Sea School's enrollment has steadily declined in the last several years.  Few families can afford the tuition, which is already subsidized by the parish and many wonderful donors.  To persevere, the school will have to be creative.  Visit the school Web site to learn about our creative approach to Catholic education in the city.

Second Goal

The first phase of the St. Nicholas interior restoration was completed in Fall 2019.  Both transepts - about 30% of the interior - were restored.  Walls were replastered and repainted, marble was polished, the artwork was professionally cleaned, and other architectural features were regilded.  This phase is already paid.  But to complete the church - the nave, side aisles, and the sanctuary - will cost $1 million.  You can read more about the financial details.