The joy was contagious over the weekend as second graders received their First Communion at a pair of Viatorian parishes in Bourbonnais.

Fr. Dan Belanger with first communicants

Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, presided over the special liturgy Saturday at St. George Parish. As he has done in the past, he called all of the first communicants to sit on the steps of the altar as he reflected in his homily on their big day.

“Every time I have a family Mass or preside over a children’s sacrament, I think of Fr. Querbes and how he was a teacher of faith to children,” Fr. Belanger said. “That is one of the Viatorians’ strengths, in how we serve the altar as religious and associates — and educate the young.”

After Mass, Fr. Belanger posed with each first communicant in front of a statue of Mary in the church sanctuary. As a Viatorian, he is devoted to Mary — especially in May — as was the founder of the Viatorians, the Venerable Louis Querbes.

Children at Maternity BVM wait before Mass.

That Viatorian devotion to Mary was evident the next day, when Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, Pastor, and Fr. Moses Mesh, CSV, Parochial Vicar, celebrated the First Communion liturgy at Maternity BVM Parish. Afterwards, communicants and their families posed for photos in front of the parish’s historic Marian grotto.

“This is one of the most important days of your life, one of the most important days of your spiritual life,” Fr. Nesbit said during his homily.

Families wait to take photos at the grotto.

There are many ways to have a relationship with Jesus, he told them, but the day when they receive their First Communion will be the most memorable.

“This is truly the way to receive him and to be nourished by him and by his body and blood,” Fr. Nesbit added. “We really are bringing Jesus into our life in the most real way possible.”