Saturday, May 14, 2011

May Every Communion Be As Special As Your First Communion

Lainie & the Blessed Mother

 How can you top a day like this?

It happens only once -- First Holy Communion.

The anticipation builds, the excitement grows and desire reaches a fever pitch. The countdown begins on Monday -- 5 days, 4 days, 3 days, 2 days, 1 day...

Annie, Cousin Sue, Grace, Grandma, Lainie & Meggie
And, then that most amazing Saturday arrives. The white dress, -- the one each of her older sister's wore -- the veil and gloves bought especially for her, the new white shoes.

"When Mama, is it almost time?" she asks.

"Soon sweet girl." I say, "time to do hair and then get dressed."

Does she want a fussy hairdo? Not this little girl.

"Mama can you make my hair straight?" she pleads.

The beautiful natural curl, ironed flat. But that's okay, because that is how she wants to look special for Jesus today.

And, so it's time to leave. She bounces eagerly in her finery, and poses for a myriad of pictures before we leave the house. Silently, I realize that this is the first time that she hasn't fussed about being hungry before leaving for Mass. A moment of maturity. A step forward in faith.

The joy on her face at seeing all the beautiful dresses on her friends, all the fancy suits on the boys, and all the very proud parents snapping photo after photo of their special first Communicant. Energy, joy, peace, love...all of them there, mingled in the excitement of the children.

They all line up to process into the Church. She smiles and says, "See you in a little bit."

Grandma & Lainie
I say, "God bless you," and leave for the Church to find the family -- Dad, Siblings, Grandma, Sue, -- saving my place.

Dcn. Jim Pearce & Lainie
Dcn. Jim and Melissa are there, too -- Jim serves the Mass with our Pastor who introduces him as a friend of the Vestermarks. She smiles from her pew and shoots us a proud glance! This day is getting more and more special.

Aunt Ann, Uncle Steve & Lainie
The Mass begins, Aunt Ann and Uncle Steve arrive from PA, Principal, Vice Principal and a teacher/parent of a First Communicant do the readings, the children's choir sings. Our friend, Grace, sings the psalm...more and more special.

The homily is for the little brides and grooms who want to be united to their Lord in the special gift of the Eucharist. The priest tells the children to remember to bring their parents to Mass every week. He gives them permission to be "Holy Pests!"

Lainie with Eddie & Christian
Consecration -- the children kneel, the incense rises, the mood silkens -- solemn. The host rises, the bells ring; the chalice rises, the bells ring. Jesus is on the altar. Eddie stays silent, but is smiling joyfully.

She looks over and gives a huge I can't contain it much longer smile. I smile back understanding her impatience. She just can't wait to meet Jesus in the Eucharist.

Her turn, she kneels and receives under both species. She rises and makes the sign of the cross -- so in love, so proud -- and beams the entire way back to her seat.

The party ensues -- a constant stream of family and friends. Uncle Neil and Aunt Mary come with Michelle...more and more special.

 Add sugar and stir... her excitement beyond wired...behaving a little too boldly. I smile and gently correct. Friends talk, children play...more and more special.

And isn't this the joy that should spill over from reception of the Eucharist? A manifest joy, a celebration of unity, of sacrifice, of love.

May every Communion be as special, Lainie.

She says prayers, smiles contentedly and goes to bed exhausted, but eagerly awaiting her second Communion.

Mom, Dad & Lainie on her First Holy Communion -- 5/14/11

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