Living the Faith: Thomas and Mary Ann Walsh

PEABODY -- If their parish needs religious education teachers, they are there. If their parish needs someone to serve on the parish finance council, they are there. If it needs married couples to lead the parish’s marriage preparation classes, they are there.

For more than three decades, Thomas and Mary Ann Walsh have been there, helping their parish, St. Adelaide in Peabody, in any way they can.

“I guess you could say we are pretty extensively involved in our parish,” commented Thomas.

In fact, over the years Thomas and Mary Ann, both 64, have served on the parish pastoral council and the finance council; they have been on the marriage preparation team; they are both extraordinary ministers of holy Communion; she has taught religious education; he is a daily communicant.

“The foundation of my faith is helping people,” Mary Ann said, remarking that her involvement in the parish has given her the opportunity to help others.

According to Mary Ann, they are not alone in their willingness to help.

“All the priests have to do is ask and people are very willing to help,” she said, noting that the parish has recently “expanded the ministries being offered” so that “anyone of any age or ability can help” the parish to grow.

She cited several examples of the ways parishioners at St. Adelaide give of themselves. For example, she noted the “wonderful music ministry” of the parish that includes an adult choir, a children’s choir and a piano and organ music ministry. She also cited a rather uncommon ministry her parish is involved in -- several parishioners volunteer each week to drive elderly parishioners to Sunday Mass.

“We are a very close group of people,” she said, adding that many parishioners who no longer live in Peabody still travel to St. Adelaide’s every week.

Thomas, a retired mechanical engineer, and Mary Ann, a retired teacher, first became parishioners at St. Adelaide’s 35 years ago. Neither is originally from Peabody -- he was born in Philadelphia and raised in southern New Jersey, she was born near Springfield and raised near Philadelphia. They moved to Peabody from southern New Jersey after four years of marriage.

St. Adelaide’s quickly became their home parish.

It was at St. Adelaide’s that each of the couple’s three children received their sacraments, from baptism through marriage. And most recently, it was at St. Adelaide’s that each of their three grandchildren have been baptized as well.

“Our parish is a very important part of our family,” Mary Ann said.

According to Thomas, the parish has recently implemented a team ministry, something he sees as a “very nice situation.”

“Ever since Father Raymond [Van De Moortell] has been here, people have perceived this to be a very spiritual place,” Thomas said. “And now Father [David] Lewis brings his great sense of humor into the parish.”

“We’re so very blessed to have both of these men here,” Mary Ann added.

St. Adelaide Parish, Peabody

Year established -- 1962

Team Ministry -- Father Raymond Van De Moortell, Father David Lewis

Religious Education Director -- Angela Federico

Music Director -- Maria Aloise

Organist -- Joan Courtemanche