Think back to your childhood. Do you remember the day of your First Communion? Anything about it? Maybe you’re a recent convert and you don’t have to think back so far. Do you remember what your wore or what you thought?
For me, I remember the circumstances of my First Communion quite well. On the day my classmates received Jesus for the first time in Holy Communion, I came down with the chicken pox and had to delay this special moment in the life of a Catholic. I ended up making my First Communion, a week later, a day after my birthday, on Mother’s Day, by myself, with a guest priest because our pastor was on vacation. Photos of the day are on display in my dining room and photos of my second communion too, deeming it such an important occasion that I had to celebrate with the pastor. I returned a week later, which apparently was Pentecost indicated by the red chasuble he donned. In my First Communion clothes we celebrated the occasion a second time.
Parishes throughout the world already have or are preparing to celebrate the day of First Communion with their students. As we see the students dressed in their Sunday best, in some ways they renew within us how we ought to receive Holy Communion. For them, this is their first time, and they do so reverently, with full belief that Jesus is present in the Eucharist for this is what they have been taught, and indeed it is true.
I don’t recall my thoughts or emotions of the event. Or what I did in those precious moments afterward. But there are some in the Church, holy men and women, who journaled about their First Communion. Three come to mind. Adele Brise, the Wisconsin visionary, promised God on the day of her First Communion that she would become a religious and work in the foreign missions. The Story of a Soul relates St. Therese of Lisieux’s experience. Recently, I discovered St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, a French Carmelite saint, and it is her whom I’d like to propose for our consideration.
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