First communion celebrations took place a little later than usual at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais, but they were worth the wait.

After spending three months unable to enter the church, parishioners value the sacraments even more, it seems, if these latest celebrations were any indication.

“Their excitement about receiving the body of Christ boosted my own faith,” said Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV, Associate Pastor, “and brought great joy to our community.”


First communicants divided into groups of 15, for celebrations spread out across weekends in July. The second graders dressed in traditional white dresses and veils, as well as suits for the boys. Families staggered their seating into every other row, and everyone in attendance — parents and children — all wore masks in church.

Fr. Jason Nesbit blesses children in the plaza.

Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, Pastor, presided over the first group, giving them a special blessing outdoors in the church plaza. Both he and Fr. Dan wore face shields to distribute communion, as they do at every Mass, and both agreed that the excitement was palpable.

“It is a great joy to be able to open the church for prayer — and for the celebration of the sacraments,” Fr. Jason says.

In celebrating this sacred sacrament with these children and their families, Fr. Jason and Fr. Dan are continuing a ministry that has been present at this parish for more than 150 years. Viatorians founded the parish in 1865 and have accompanied families through all the celebrations of life, for generations. Not even a global pandemic, with all of its restrictions and fears, could diminish their commitment to this faith community.