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A Letter to My Daughter on Her First Holy Communion

A Letter to My Daughter on Her First Holy Communion

Dear Daughter,

I remember my First Holy Communion like it was yesterday. I remember the warm May day, the excitement of putting on my dress and sitting with my family, and the fact that a bunch of kids passes out during the photos afterwards. I remember the Mass, and the party. But most of all, I remember writing a “1” on my calendar in my bedroom. When we went to Mass with my class two days later, I wrote a “2.” The next Sunday, a “3.” I kept this up most of the summer. I wanted to remember every single time I was able to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. It was special, and new, and EXCITING. I was excited to receive the Body and Blood of Christ every chance I got.

I want that for you.

More than the pretty dress, and the warm family embrace, and the pictures; more than any of that, I want you to feel the Body of Christ on your tongue and know that you are participating in the most important thing you will ever do. You could cure cancer, become President of the United States, or be a mom of 18 little souls. You could do all that and more. Nothing will ever, ever, be as important as what you get to do as you approach the altar and receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ inside your very body.

That is what I want for you.

We have been through some things, my little girl. You did not grow in my womb. You were born to me, in a sense, on Holy Thursday. On that Holy Thursday many years ago, at the celebration of the institution of the Eucharist, I saw you for the first time in Daddy’s arms. I felt the Holy Spirit in my mind and my soul and even though I did not understand it, I knew I would bring you to the altar one day for your First Holy Communion. I knew you were my baby, even though it made no sense. That first Holy Thursday with you, I knew that Christ, through His life, death, and resurrection had given us the protection to go forward as a family.

This meal that you get to partake in is the source and summit of our faith*, and of our family.

It will not be easy, Daughter. You will grow complacent. I stopped writing the number of times I’d received the Body of Christ on my calendar. There were so many times I’ve gone forward mindlessly, because that’s what you do. It was important, sure, but not SPECIAL. I would get distracted by other people, friends, what other people are wearing. There are even times I went forward for Communion when I was probably not in a state to do so, and I regret those times more than anything else in the world. (That’s why you made your first confession some months ago, so you can always be prepared to approach the altar of the Lord.)


It’s not always exciting.


Except that it is. A dear priest friend prays before every Mass that we experience it as if it were our first Mass, our last Mass, our only Mass. I want you to realize that. I want you to realize that this could be the ONLY chance you ever get to receive the Body of Christ in the Eucharist on earth. We are never assured of anything, and every single moment we get to experience the union with our Lord through his Body and Blood is an unmistakable gift from God, and one that we cannot take for granted, however easy that might be.


I want you to appreciate the significance of this moment, Daughter, and not only today. It’s easy today. It’s exciting. I want you to appreciate it in a year, when you’re looking over your shoulder to find your friends. I want you to appreciate it in ten years, when you’re kneeling and praying but really just watching other people walk by. I want you to appreciate it in 12 years, when you’re being made fun of for going to Mass while you’re away at college. I want you to appreciate it in twenty years, at your nuptial Mass, when the first meal you and your husband partake of together is the Eucharistic feast. I want you to appreciate it every single year after that when you have babies clinging to you, toddlers whining and kicking your skirt up, and children bugging you to find their place in the missal. I want you to appreciate it when you are sick and tired and going through morning sickness and arguing with your husband and it took everything you had to just get to Mass. I want you to appreciate it when you come forward with something broken inside you that only God can fix. I want you to appreciate it when you are preparing your daughter for her First Holy Communion.

 

That’s what I want for you today. And I will spend the rest of my life helping you understand it.

 

I love you,

 

Mommy

 

*CCC 1324

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Current Events Discipleship Faith Formation Ink Slingers Martina Pope

When A Child Responds to Pope Francis’ Call to Feed The Hungry

Recently, we were blessed and humbled to receive correspondence from a mother who is rightly and deeply touched by her young son Alex’s devotion to feed the hungry, in response to Pope Francis message and example of feeding the hungry. With her permission, we are running her letter to us to let you know about Alex, who made local news by donating the money he was gifted for his First Holy Communion to a local kitchen to feed those without food. We at Catholic Sistas were inspired and we think you will be, too.

 

I am a subscriber to your blog and would like to thank you for the articles and pinterest photos that you share every day. It’s really helping me along with my faith journey.

I wanted to bring this piece of local news to your attention. It’s about my son, Alex. He just made First Holy Communion in May and received money for the occasion from friends and family (they didn’t know what he was planning to do with their gifts). He decided to donate all of it to the local Ecumenical Kitchen. He is very inspired by Pope Francis and said to me “if we don’t help the hungry, who will?” He donated $465 and fed about 350 people. We spent the afternoon with the patrons and Alex (with his brother Gabriel and my husband) shared a meal with them. It was just beautiful.

Well, here’s the link to the news piece. I thought if you felt so inclined to post something where it would be seen by more people in the hopes that they, too would help the hungry and helpless in their local communities, well that would just make Alex’s day.

God Bless You,

Cristina

Cristina has also given us the link to her blog post that features more details on this story. Please visit to read more!

HOW CAN I HELP?

Now that you’ve been inspired – and how could you not!, you might be wondering how you can help! Here are just a few ways you can help out the homeless who are often seen {at least in my neck of the woods, in Austin} on street corners at stop lights.

  1. Pray. When you see someone standing at the corner asking for food, a job, etc., toss up a prayer for them. Prayer may not feel like much on our end because we are a people who like tangible results, but prayer is always a powerful tool that we should employ anytime someone is in need. 
  2. Bottled water. Keep a case of bottled water in your car for those occasions when you see the homeless out on the streets. When stopped at a stop light, you can roll down your window and hand them some water to quench their thirst. We used to see the same man at the stop light, so one day I handed a bottle to my daughter and rolled down her window to hand it to the gentleman. She got a kick out of helping and his face lit up to receive water from a sweet little face.
  3. Non-perishable meal kits. Using staples around the house, you can put together a tuna and crackers kit you buy at the store {usually comes with a spoon and is easy to assemble}, some applesauce, a bottle of water and a napkin, and put everything into a lunch bag. You can even write on the bag little notes of encouragement that might help ease their burden for even a moment.

Do you have any suggestions you’d like to share? Please post in the comboxes!

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Communion Ink Slingers Martina Sacraments

When Religious Education Programs Thrive, We All Win

Today {May 5}, I am writing at the close of the day, a day in which we celebrated our third child’s First Holy Communion. A day when Father Uche delivered a homily that packed a punch – Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Three down, three to go, I am thinking to myself.

What made today so daggone special?

This child has always been the everybody friend – the total opposite of me and my husband as children. We would have gladly crawled under a rock than be forced to talk or – gasp! – socialize with others. Shy, introverted, quiet – these are not words we would use to describe numero tres. So, as her First Holy Communion day approached, she embraced it with her whole being. Though she is the first to be homeschooled from Kinder onward, I happily enrolled her into our parish religious education program, a requirement for sacramental years. She jumped in with both feet this year in her class and immediately made friends – no surprise. Her teachers really took to her and it was evident that she was enjoying her class.

Somewhere along the way through this academic year,

I had to pause, reflect, and give thanks over the abundant blessings at our church.

Not for one moment do I take our religious education programs for granted, or that they are thriving. I realize that there is always work to be done, ways to improve, and things will require constant tweaking to build on the already spiritually nourishing program. One thing I am thankful for, is the experience we have had; and, I’m not afraid to share it with others, whether parishioners or not. I want you to know that things are happening at my church. My time on the pastoral council is coming to a close, three years to be exact; two of those I’ve spent serving as the chairperson, which has been a source of immeasurable spiritual growth as well as joy in working with our parish priests, getting to know the staff and their programs, and watching our pastor come back from sabbatical, ready to take us from Maintenance to Mission.

My church, St. William of Vercelli

But what does that have to do with her First Holy Communion, you might be thinking? Well, we were meant for community: to be in communion with each other. We are also meant to be in communion with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When we are baptized, we are welcomed into the Father’s family. When we are welcomed to the Eucharistic banquet, it is through the loving sacrifice of the Son. And when we are fully initiated as the church militant, it is through Confirmation that the Holy Spirit is stirred in our souls, like chocolate syrup mixed in a cold glass of milk. Do you like that visual? I always love it when Noe talks about the Holy Spirit at our Adult Faith Formation classes and uses the chocolate milk example.

You might still be scratching your head, wondering where I am going on this long drive before I eventually make my point. Yes, parents are the primary educators of the Faith. We do the bulk of the rowing of our own spiritual boat, but it is always appreciated when those we commune with week after week at our parish help lighten the load of steering the boat. As a parent, I – along with my husband – are always at the helm, making the primary decisions in the education of our children, but I am immensely grateful for the solid leadership of our priests, unwavering in the Faith, unafraid to speak the truth in love…always in love, but always the truth. I am also grateful for the staff at our parish who are an amazing example for others. Their dedication to helping our parish realize the vision of Maintenance to Mission is nothing short of spectacular. And our religious education teachers. The ones who help ease the load of faith formation for our children. Volunteers who jump through all kinds of hoops, hoopla, and hugs from our kids – and you know they do it to see those little faces light up when something clicks.

 photo CatholicNerd43.pngI enroll my children in our religious education programs because I know it is a wonderful supplemental experience to the foundation we provide at home. I envy my kiddos’ enthusiasm of going to RE when each Wednesday and Sunday night rolls around. I sometimes laugh to myself when threats to remove privileges sometimes has to include their not being able to attend SWYM or Triumph {our high school and middle school youth ministry programs}. Our programs are seriously just that good. And I’m glad my children have access to programs like these – because when I stop being cool {ok, who am I kidding…I haven’t been cool for a while now}, they turn to their peers who are also immersed in these programs. And then they school me when I make an incorrect reference to Vatican II.

And I just wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Communion Faith Formation Sacraments

Wordless Wednesday

When we pitched the idea of sharing First Holy Communion pictures, you can imagine we didn’t have to twist too many arms to get a good collection going! Here are just a smattering of photos of Ink Slinger and friends’ kiddos on the day they joined the faithful at the Lord’s table to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

Enjoy, friends.