Announcements and Church News

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Many thanks to ALL our volunteers! We have re-opened the renovated church for Masses beginning December 15-16!

We are still awaiting two important items: the altar rail was delayed in its shipment and we expect it will be here in time for the Dedication. Second, the main Tabernacle was sent off for refurbishment and encountered delays there, and it will not be present for the Dedication. Temporarily, we will use the Tabernacle from the rectory chapel. We will let you know when the new Tabernacle will be installed and dedicated.

Photos of Renovations through the Generations at Sts. Peter and Paul


Masses in the renovated church begin the weekend of December 15-16!

Advent Penance Service at the Basilica

Mon., Dec. 17 at 6:00 pm

Altar Dedication Mass with Bishop Stika

10am Sun., Dec. 23 (no 9am, 11:30, or 5pm Mass that day)

Next Missa Cantata

Due to the dedication of the new altar on December 23, there will be no Missa Cantata in December. Our next Missa Cantata in the ancient form is Sun., Jan. 27, 2019 at 5:00 pm.


Solemnity of Christmas* - Holy Day of Obligation

  • Mon.  Dec. 24   5:30 pm (prelude 5:00 pm; Gloria Dei Schola & Jubilate Deo Youth Schola)
  • Tues. Dec. 25 12:00 am (prelude 11:30 pm; with choir)
  • Tues. Dec. 25 12:00 pm (bilingual; with choir)

Holy Family Dec. 29 - 30 - Regular Mass schedule: 5:30 Vigil, 9am, 11:30am, 1:30pm Spanish

Christmas Pageant:  "The First Christmas"

  • Sat. Dec. 29 6:30 in Varallo Parish Hall   
  • Dinner reception to follow—All are welcome!

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God* - Holy Day of Obligation

  • Mon. Dec. 31    6:30 pm (bilingual; with choir)
  • Tues.   Jan. 1  12:00 pm (with schola)

* Incense and Missa de Angelis sung at all Masses for the Solemnities of Christmas and Mary, Mother of God

Help Needed for our Hispanic Immigrant Families - Information Meeting Dec. 16 between the Masses

A representative from the Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition will be at the Basilica on Sunday, Dec. 16 between the morning Masses to discuss ways we can help our fellow Hispanic parishioners who do not have the legal status that we enjoy, and live in fear of deportation. After the recent government raid in Grainger County, St. Patrick’s in Morristown partnered with this Coalition to provide refuge, child care, and other emergency assistance to many families who were displaced. We hope to be able to come together at the Basilica to respond effectively if something like this were to happen here. If you would like to be a part of a rapid response team help our immigrant community, please give us your name and contact information so that we can keep you involved in the discussion. A signup sheet is at the Hispanic ministry table by the kitchen, or you can contact the parish office. And please pray for our immigrant community.

As Bishop Stika has said, our response to this crisis “isn’t about politics or personal agendas. It’s about being the face, hands, feet, and heart of Jesus— at all times and to all people.”
Upcoming Liturgy and Devotion Notices:   
  • While Fr. Blatchford is in Rome, a deacon will offer a Communion Service at our Noon Mass time on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, December 17th through 19th.
  • There will be no 7am or Noon Mass on Monday, December 24th, and no 7am Mass on Wednesday, December 26th.
  • A deacon will offer a Communion service at our 7am Mass time on Wednesday, Jan. 2.
  • As we enter the new year, the Basilica invites you to commit to accompany Our Lord during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. You may sign up for one or more half-hour periods in the vestibule. Our next First Friday Adoration in our renovated church will be Friday, January 5 from 12:30pm—5:30pm Benediction. Adoration will resume  through the night from 9pm Friday—7am Sat., hosted by our Hispanic community. All our encouraged to attend.
  • In accord with Bishop Stika, on Fridays at 7am and noon, the Basilica will offer the Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the reparation of sins against the Church. Mass will conclude with the recitation of an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by the assembly. This will be the Mass offered every Friday, except when it is superseded by a feast day.


  • Closed for Christmas Mon./Tues./Wed. Dec. 24-26
  • Open Thurs. & Fri., Dec. 27 & 28
  • Closed for New Year’s Mon. & Tues., Dec. 31 & Jan. 1
  • Re-opens Wed. Jan. 2

The Catholic Motherhood ministry is studying Scott Hahn’s book: The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order, which can be ordered on The next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 8th, from 10-11:30am in Varallo Parish Hall. All mothers are welcome, and a nursery will be available.

Also, the Catholic Motherhood ministry is now offering a study for moms of all ages, entitled, “Momnipotent," facilitated by Sandy Pricer, on the last Tuesday of each month. We will not meet in December. The next study will be on January 29th from 7-9:30pm. Please bring a snack or drink to share. Contact Rachel Wesson with any questions or to be added to the Catholic Motherhood Group email list.

Our Book Club meets from 7:40-8:25am Wednesdays in Varallo Parish Hall and is always open to newcomers. On January 9, we plan to begin a new book, Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching, by Antholy Esolen.

The Lord is calling us to conversion! Evenings of Formation (formerly “Evenings of Recollection”) offer us the opportunity for the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Adoration and the inspirational writings of the Saints, all wrapped in a time of peace and quiet away from distractions and noise.  We also have a short discussion after the meeting to allow time for sharing and fellowship.  In 2019 make a resolution to attend some of these.  The next opportunity for men is Wed., Jan. 9th from 7pm - 9pm in the newly renovated church. Women will meet on Wed., Feb. 13th. For more information, call Dan and Nancy Fisher:  423-803-0257.

SPANISH Language Class for English Speakers resumes in the new year! Classes will be Wednesdays from 6-7pm, beginning January 16, in the St. Dominic RE Building. For more information, contact our new teacher:  Armando Sedeño, at 423-208-1011 or

Lay Oblates of St. Benedict - St. Benedict is known as the Father of Western (European) Monasticism. But his spirituality of prayer and work is valid for even the layman who lives in the world. Our new chapter of Lay Oblates of St. Benedict focuses on applying the Rule of St. Benedict to our lives, learning to pray the Scriptures through lectio divina and offering the Liturgy of the Hours in praise of God. We are now meeting on the third Sunday of each month from 5-6:30pm in the church. There will not be a meeting in December. The next meeting will be on Jan. 20. To find out more, please call the parish office or contact Daniel Sharkey at 877-3239.

Natural Family Planning Classes! - We now have a Couple-to-Couple League NFP teaching couple at the Basilica! Watch our Marriage page under Sacraments for NFP class opportunities.


  • A Rosary will be prayed in English after the 9:00 Mass. We will gather at the statue of the Blessed Mother.
  • Each Sunday at 12:45pm, we pray a Bilingual Rosary with our parishioners from our English and Spanish Masses. This is an opportunity for our bilingual community to join in solidarity through the prayers that we share in common. All are invited. Bilingual handouts will be provided.
  • Christ Post, husband of Mayra and father of Niko and Ariana, was in a serious accident on October 19. Chris is improving, thanks be to God, but the recovery will be long. The family greatly appreciates the continued prayers of our parish community.
  • Barbara DeGaetano, wife of Deacon Gaspar, passed away on Thursday afternoon, October 11. Fr. Blatchford was at the bedside and prayed the last rites, including the Litany of the Dying. She died during the Litany of the Saints. May she rest in peace.

We now have the myParish cell phone app to help you stay connected with the Basilica throughout the week, and give you quick access to daily readings, prayers, homilies, parish staff, bulletins, calendar, and much more. Visit on your phone or go to your phone's app store to download it. You can also send a text message to the number 88202 with the word app to receive a link to download the app.

We have added Groups to help various ministries communicate. To join a Group, you will need to install myParish app and then create a User Account (My Account option in the main menu). Then you can select the Groups and request to join any of the groups that apply to your ministry or interests.  

We have begun American Heritage Girls and TrailLife USA troops at the Basilica this fall, a scouting program for children ages 5-17 that coincides with our values as Catholic Christians. For more information, contact Sherry Ohotnicky at More information may also be found at and
"We Give Electronically" Cards for the Offertory
Many people these days manage their money online and have expressed a desire to tithe online, and so we have a link on our website for people who choose to give this way. People have also expressed interest in participating in the weekly collection, and so we have produced a card in the pew with an image of the Three Wise Men bringing their gifts to the Christ child. On the back it states, “We Give Electronically.” This card is placed in the pew so we may put it into the collection basket to remind us that our online offerings are a gift to God and an essential part of our commitment to His Church,
At weekday Masses, we distribute Holy Communion under the form of the host. If you suffer from Celiac disease or another severe gluten allergy, please make the request to the deacon or sacristan before Mass, so that the chalice of Precious Blood may be prepared.


Please take the time to fill out this quick survey put together in consultation with the Parish Pastoral Council so that we can better plan for the future here at Sts. Peter and Paul.

The tabulated results of our recent "Town-hall Meeting" have been posted and can be viewed by clicking this link: Town Hall Meeting Results

We are in need of donations for altar flowers. Please consider being a supporter of the Basilica's apostolate of beauty.  Maybe you want to honor a family member, a birthday, or an anniversary! Contact the parish office for details.

Incense for Upcoming Weekends and Holy Days

We normally use incense at our principal Sunday Masses at 11:30am (English) and 1:30pm (Spanish). On holy days we expand our use of incense. Over the next few weeks we have several feasts and solemnities to celebrate!

June 29-July 1: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul:  incense at Friday noon, Sunday 9:00, 11:30, & 1pm

July 7-8 and beyond:  Ordinary Time:  incense at 11:30 and 1:30 only

See our article, The Use of Incense in the Mass, for more information.

Liturgical Ministry Appeal
If you are not yet involved in one of our liturgical ministries - Altar Guild, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors, Sacred Music, Sacristans, and Ushers/Greeters/Announcers - please consider the call to serve.  Download our Liturgical Ministry Form or pick one up in the vestibule and turn it in to the parish office.

Highlights of the Liturgical Year

Potluck reception to follow in Varallo Parish Hall
Nursery will be available

Admission is FREE. Donations to support sacred music concerts at the Basilica will be accepted.

Click here for flyer

Corpus Christi Procession - June 3 at 1pm

Sunday, June 3 is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. We will celebrate First Holy Communion at our 11:30 Mass and our 1:30 Spanish Mass. We will have Adoration after the 11:30 Mass, followed by our 5th annual Corpus Christi procession from the Basilica through the surrounding streets at 1pm. All are invited to join in this traditional expression of our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Here is a video highlighting scenes from last year's procession.

Find out more about our Corpus Christi procession and why we do this.

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR ORGAN - We have reached our goal!

Thank you to all who have helped us raise $35,000 to install two ranks we need to complete the organ: the trompettes and clarinet, a total of 122 custom made pipes! Our organ will already be down for maintenance after the sanctuary renovation, and adding the pipes at this time will save us money and additional downtime in the future. Your response to this special call for help has been tremendous and is greatly appreciated!  

REGISTER HERE FOR OUR 2018-19 PROGRAMS that began on Sunday, September 9 -
Religious Education Classes for Age 3 - Grade 12 10:15-11:15am Sundays in the St. Dominic Building
Middle School and High School Youth Group 6:30-8:30pm Sundays at All Saints Academy
RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) 10:15-11:15am Sundays at All Saints Academy

Join in welcoming RCIA candidates and catechumens.  

  • Donations of sweet or savory breakfast items are needed. Please contact Danielle Jones to contribute, Your help in providing hospitality during Sunday morning classes is appreciated.
  • Our parish prays for those in RCIA by sending the RCIA Rosary to a different home each week. Sign-up sheet is located at the entrance to Varallo Parish Hall on the table across from the elevator.
  • We are in need of more people to serve as sponsors.
  • Donations of prayer cards and religious articles would be welcomed. Please drop them off at the parish office.
First Annual Basilica Christmas Pageant

Sat., Dec. 29, 2018 at 6:30 pm in Varallo Parish Hall

Cast List for "The First Christmas"

Thank you to all are talented young parishioners who auditioned!

Rehearsal schedule (revised 10/1)


In order to ensure a safe environment for our children, and in accord with state and diocesan policy, our nursery policy is that we have two adults in the nursery at all times. One of them is our paid staff member, but we are in need of volunteers to be the second person. The second person must be VIRTUS-trained and commit to being present. A sign-up sheet is in the nursery. In order for the nursery to open the following Sunday, someone will need to be signed up to volunteer for the 9am & 11:30 Masses by the end of Masses each Sunday. Each family who uses the nursery is asked to volunteer for at least one Mass per calendar quarter. There is also a donation box in the nursery to defray the $45 cost of keeping it staffed each Sunday. If we do not have your commitment, we will no longer be able to offer nursery services.

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VIRTUS Training February 5

Parents and other adults who would like to participate in our youth programs are required to be certified under the VIRTUS program. Deacon Gaspar will be offering a VIRTUS class at the Basilica on Tuesday, February 5, from 5:30 – 8:30pm. You can register for this or any of the upcoming VIRTUS sessions at (click here and select the Knoxville Diocese).

Our Secretary, Becky Dempsey, has decided to step down from her position in order to dedicate her attention to her family’s business venture. She will be greatly missed in the office as her warm and friendly presence was a blessing to all of us. She has expressed an eagerness to take up other volunteer opportunities in the parish and for that we are all grateful! Please join me in wishing Becky many blessings in this change.  - Fr. David Carter

New Parish Secretary

We are pleased to announce that Cathy Oliver has been appointed as our new Parish Secretary, beginning Monday, December 10. Please welcome Cathy on our Basilica parish staff. Many parishioners may already know Cathy, as she attends daily Mass at the Basilica and is very involved in Catholic life in our community.