Welcome to St Thomas Mass!
Every Sunday at 6 pm
In June, July and August at 7 pm
At Mikael Agricola Church
Tehtaankatu 23, Helsinki
St. Thomas Mass welcomes non-Finnish speaking visitors and participants. Translation from Finnish into English via electronic headsets is provided only when agreed beforehand.
Welcome to the St. Thomas Mass, Finland's most popular ecumenical service! We invite doubters and seekers to celebrate, worship God, serve their neighbour, and grow together. Those who feel sinful and weak in faith are especially welcome.
St. Thomas Mass – a celebration
The St. Thomas Mass is celebrated every Sunday at 6 pm at Mikael Agricola Church in Helsinki.
The St. Thomas Mass is a Lutheran worship service, which has been influenced by ancient liturgical traditions of the Church, as well as by the spirit of ecumenism. It has been named after the Apostle Thomas, who seemed to have more questions than answers in his faith.
The St. Thomas Mass is a celebration. Its starting point is the biblical story about the dinner celebration in the house of a Pharisee, with Jesus, the host, a prostitute and village folk all present.
The Mass draws hundreds of people, mainly young adults and people of working age, from all parts of the city and its surroundings. Its popularity is based on a few success factors such as:
- Large preparation team
- Love for those who feel sinful
- Diverse, contemporary music
- Strong presence of prayer throughout the Mass
- Spirit of experimentation and renewal
- Integration of modern spirituality and ancient tradition.
- Simultaneous translation into English is available through headsets.
Diverse people coming together
It takes a team of 50–70 people to prepare one Mass. Approximately 15–30 of them are musicians and choir singers. People are needed in various roles – such as prayer altar servers, text readers, and those who assist the Celebrant in leading the congregation to the confession of sins. Altogether, 18 pastors and lay people are needed in sharing the Wine and the Bread; these people also assist in intercession and counselling roles. The Mass team is different each week. Preachers also come from various backgrounds and spiritual orientations.
The first St. Thomas Mass was held in the Mikael Agricola Church in spring 1988. Since then, the St. Thomas Mass has spread all over Finland. In addition to Helsinki, St. Thomas Masses are held regularly in Turku and Tampere and, from time to time, in most parishes. Additionally, the Mass is celebrated in dozens of locations in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Germany.
Contact and further information
The St. Thomas Mass is celebrated every Sunday at 6 pm at Mikael Agricola Church, Tehtaankatu 23, Helsinki. You can reach the church with trams 3B and 3T as well as buses 14 and 16. After the Mass, participants are invited to join in for a cup of tea and fellowship. During holiday months (June – August) a slightly shorter Summer Mass is celebrated on Sundays at 7 pm.
Order of the Mass
In the Mass, both the Church Hymnal and the Mass Songbook are used. The order of the service combined with music notes can be found in Finnish at the back of the songbook.
Those who lead the Mass enter the church while the processional song or hymn is sung.
Confession and Absolution
The Celebrant will lead us in the Confession of sins, accompanied by two lay members of the community. The Kyrie is sung between the confessions. The word of absolution is proclaimed by the Celebrant. After the absolution a song or hymn of praise is sung.
During this prayer time you can walk around the church and stop for silent meditation at the prayer altars. You may write your prayer request and hand it to the side altar server standing by; all prayer items will be prayed for during the week in St. Thomas Mass prayer groups. You may also pray together with one of the prayer assistants at the main altar, and receive anointment with oil. At least one of the prayer assistants will also be able to pray with you in English.
Many simply sit in their pew and meditate, or join in the singing.
The Epistle and the Gospel for the day are read. Before reading the texts a hymn or a song is sung. A Hallelujah chorus follows the announcement and the reading of the Gospel.
The preacher is usually an ordained minister, but lay people are also invited occasionally.
The Apostles´ Creed
The offering is collected while a hymn or a song is sung. The St. Thomas Community gives half of the collection to help the poor or sick, or to support various missions. The other half is needed to cover the costs for musicians and materials.
Preface, Sanctus, Epiclesis (invocation of the Holy Spirit), Anamnesis (remembering the Saints), the Words of Institution, the Lord´s Prayer, the Peace, Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and the distribution of the bread and the wine make up this part of the Mass. During the distribution peaceful hymns or songs are sung.
”Go in Peace and serve the Lord with joy.”
During the last hymn or song, those in charge of the Mass leave the church in a happy procession.
Tuomasyhteisö ry. / The St. Thomas Community
Tehtaankatu 23 B
FI–00150 Helsinki, FINLAND
Tel. +358 50 331 1634