After delaying First Communion for more than three months, a group of young men and women at St. Teresa of Kolkata in Union County, Tenn., were finally able to celebrate.
The 17 communicants were just the second group to receive their First Communion in the newly constructed church. The building was dedicated on Feb. 2 of last year by Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville.
In the Diocese of Knoxville, public Mass was suspended because of the coronavirus on March 20. Masses resumed May 30 with restrictions. St. Teresa of Kolkata staff took a bevy of precautions to make sure this year’s First Communion Mass was safe and special for all involved.
The parish moved the date to a Saturday liturgy to avoid Sunday crowds. Also, the number of people each communicant could bring to the Mass was limited, and rows of chairs were spaced farther apart than usual. Masks were worn by all in attendance and social distancing practiced. For the distribution of the Precious Blood, each child was given their own small metal chalice, which they got to keep as a gift.
“I wanted it to be special and memorable and no pandemic was going to stop us from sharing the Body of Christ with these kiddos,” said Father Neil Pezzulo, pastor. “We made the best of a difficult situation and each person was able to celebrate.”