Every year around Mothers Day the Catholic Church welcomes its young members to the Body of Christ through First Holy Communion. This was called to my attention this year by my friend Donna back in Kalamazoo, whose Son Dominic, received Holy Communion for the first time on Sunday. He participated in the Presentation of the Gifts, carrying down the wine for consecration. I can see it now, the large decanter of wine, sloshing from side to side, everyone holding their breath, his Mom hoping he would stop and give her a sip…
All of this reminded me of my First Communion. This was all before Vatican II. The Priest said Mass in latin with his back to us, the nuns threatened us if we dared turn around and looked at anyone during Mass, you know, the usual.
I was seven years old and looking forward to it. My Godmother and all my relatives were there from Chicago for Mass. Afterward, both sides of the family would be at my house for the celebration. There was a beautiful cake baked by Steve Scott (who was allergic to flour), but made it as a favor to my Dad.
That Sunday morning was beautiful, I woke up with a horrible case of diarrhea and a fever. Was I too sick to go? Heck no. I remember distinctly how Mom went to the medicine cabinet and got the essence of peppermint out. It worked. I put on the white communion dress and veil that my cousin Mary let me use, my white patent leather shoes and socks and I was ready to go. It was July, Mass was long and it was so hot in the church, but I made it. We were special and got receive communion first. I can still remember the way the host felt when the priest placed it on my tongue. We had to let it dissolve on our tongue, we would go to hell if we chewed it. (Or so it seemed.) Things have changed so much in the church since then. Children are taught the love of God rather than the wrath of God.
Fortunately I still have pictures that capture that day. The whole extended family standing under the huge hickory nut tree in our front yard. All the special food and cake, it was my day.
So welcome Dominic, to the most special Sacrament of the church, may God be with you always.