By Laura Welch

Special to The CS&T

LEVITTOWN – When young couple Michael and Laura Virgilio joined Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Parish in Levittown almost five years ago, they were looking for a sense of community. What they found was a new family that supports them in ways they never imagined possible.

Last November, Michael and Laura added triplets to their growing family. The triplets, Ashley Laura, Brianna Nichol and Christopher Michael, join 16-month-old big brother Ryan. On Sunday, March 1, the Virgilios shared the baptism of the triplets with their parish family during the 11:30 a.m. Mass.

It was not long after the triplets were born that the Virgilios realized that they would need extra help. By the time the children were brought home from the hospital, Father Timothy F. O’Sullivan, pastor of Immaculate Conception B.V.M., asked parishioner Ann Galioto if she would organize efforts to support the newly large family. She agreed.

Galioto quickly gathered volunteers to help the Virgilios on Mondays and Fridays with everything from feeding and changing the babies, to helping out with household chores. Parishioners also provide meals for the family twice a week.

“Everyone has been more than willing to help,” Galioto said.

Immaculate Conception Parish has also started a diaper drive to benefit the family that will be held every other month. Laura said they go through about 25 diapers a day.

“It may not be the most glamorous gift, but Mike and Laura will tell you it is the most practical,” Father O’Sullivan said.

At Christmas time, the parish decided to add the Virgilios to the giving tree. They received gift certificates to the grocery store.

“I cannot even find words to describe what the parish has done for us,” Michael said. “We are very grateful.”

The Virgilios’ morning starts at 5:30 a.m. and is non-stop until the children fall asleep at night. Laura says that when there is a particularly hectic moment, she prays to God for guidance.

“We can’t do this alone,” Laura said. “We need help. We need people that are five minutes away in case anything were to happen.”

She recalled one particular night when Michael was not feeling well and they needed help on short notice to get the babies to sleep.

“[Parish members] came over quick, right away. They were still in their pajamas even,” Laura said.

The parish was there once again to show their support and affection for the family at the baptism on Sunday.

During the entrance procession, the family walked with Father O’Sullivan down the middle aisle of the church to their pew in the first row. The baptism took place after the homily.

“We congratulate and welcome the three newest members of Immaculate Conception Parish,” Father O’Sullivan announced following the baptism. The congregation responded with resounding applause.

The triplets all have the same Godparents, The couple are also the Godparents to the Virgilio’s first child, Ryan.

“We really take our role as Godparents seriously,” Christina said. “We were honored when they asked us again.”

Many parishioners stopped to greet and congratulate the Virgilios after the Mass and baptism. Some commented on how big the triplets were getting, while others tickled the babies’ feet and said how beautiful they looked in their white dresses and suit.

“It is great being able to share this with the parish,” Laura said. “We are truly blessed.”

Laura Welch is a parishioner of Our Lady Sacred Heart in Hilltown, and a junior at Villanova University.