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Higher power: Ironton pastor leads prayer in Columbus

As pastor at St. Joseph and St. Lawrence O'Toole for the past 8 years, Father Thomas Nau is accustomed to speaking in front of a large congregation - but not exactly like the one he recently lead.

Nau had the unique opportunity earlier this month to travel to Columbus to give the invocation for the Ohio House of Representatives. While the house of worship may have been a little different than normal, the prayer came easily.

"We prayed that God's spirit would provide them guidance and strength and bless them and their families," he said. "We also prayed for repose for the pope."

"It was a very unique experience being able to do that in front of a body of men and women who make decisions that affect the lives of people all across the state of Ohio," he said. "It was a very distinguished opportunity."

The entire opportunity began almost by accident. St. Joe congregation member Tyler Walters was talking with State Rep. Todd Book one day when Book made a suggestion.

"He thought it would be nice if someone from his part of Lawrence County would say the prayer," said Walters, who has been attending the church for the past 13 years.

Walters was so excited, he left his meeting with Book and drove straight to the church. Nau agreed and the rest is history.

"It was really a good time," Walters said. "It felt good to see my pastor up there. I was really proud of the fact I was able to take him up there"

During the visit, Nau was able to meet Book as well as Speaker of the House John Husted.

Was it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Nope.

"Well, they asked me to come back," Nau said with a laugh.