No first Communion — no problem for Valley Falls boy

Father Lazar Carasala stands with Thomas Joseph Welsh following Mass on April 19. The date was supposed to be the day of Thomas’ first Communion. Instead, Thomas volunteered to help with the parish’s livestream and wore his first Communion suit.

by The Leaven

VALLEY FALLS — Divine Mercy Sunday was supposed to be the date of Thomas Joseph Welsh’s first Communion, but the coronavirus pandemic ruined all of that.

Still, Thomas, a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Valley Falls, found a way to be a part of Mass anyway, even if his first Communion will have to wait.

Father Lazar Carasala, pastor of St. Joseph in Nortonville, Corpus Christi in Mooney Creek and Immaculate Conception livestreams Masses from all three parishes on a rotating basis. Thomas’ mother Dianna cantors for some of those Masses.

On April 19 — Divine Mercy Sunday — Thomas volunteered to help as a technician for the Mass and got to ring the bells during the Eucharist.

Father Carasala was impressed by Thomas’ dedication and efforts at the Mass.

“He wanted to come since it would have been his first Communion had this pandemic not happened,” Father Carasala said. “And he wanted to wear his suit to look nice for what would have been his special day.”

But that wasn’t all.

“He wanted to be there for his other first Communion classmates who couldn’t be at church that day,” added Father Carasala. “After Mass, he lit a candle and said a prayer for his first Communion classmates.”

Thomas is no stranger to volunteering for his parish. When his father Tom serves as an usher, Thomas assists him in greeting parishioners, handing out missals and taking up the collection. When his mother cantors, Thomas announces the song number.

After Mass, Father Carasala chatted with Thomas about his future first Communion and how pleased he was to have him volunteer to help with Mass.

In the future, Father Carasala expects Thomas to play a big role in the church.

“I am sure he will follow his mom and dad and learn a lot more and be very active in church as he grows,” he said.

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