This post was a long time in coming. When I started this blog I quickly discovered I was pregnant and that pregnancy was full of being sick and very tired. But, our baby was born in late August and after several months of being very busy our lives have begun to resettle back into a normal flow. So, I’m just now sharing our eldest’s First Holy Communion pictures from last May.
Anna-Sophia (Bug) joined Catechism classes and prepared for 9 months or so for her First Holy Communion. I received First Holy Communion as an Anglican, but I honestly have no real memory of it. My parents didn’t treat it as special and I don’t remember it because it wasn’t set aside as anything other than normal. Because of this my husband and I were determined to make Bug’s FHC as memorable as possible. We made a very big deal out of it. Part of this is because she’s the oldest, so it’s the first time for Super Husband and I. Now we’ve just got to keep up the pomp and circumstance for the others!
We planned ahead for months to purchase a dress, buy a sturdy rosary, an initialed handkerchief, a purse, her veil and tiara and some prayer books. She was the most stunning creature on her First Holy Communion Day, looking just like a bride. We didn’t have to do this, and the money spent isn’t the point – reception of Our Lord in the Eucharist is the point. But we wanted her to know and to feel how important this moment was for us – to impress upon her the importance of this day in her life. I think we accomplished our task with great success. It was a highly emotional day for us all. I can’t wait for Anastasia’s big day this year!
As part of Bug’s preparation I sat with her at Mass every Sunday. We sat at the front and I spent most of Mass explaining exactly what was going on as she watched, allowing her to ask questions as we went. While I realize she won’t retain all the details at least she’s been exposed to them and knows there is an answer to every question that she has. Puzzle pieces will begin to fit into place in the coming years as she grows. This type of “training” worked very well for me and it’s how I teach my girls as well. We also read through a few books on the Latin Mass, memorized prayers, and practiced how to perform a good Examination of Conscience. She also went through her Catechism class and had to pass a test given by Father.
Her First Confession was a few days before the big day. This was the part she was most nervous about. I didn’t have any experience with a real First Confession except as an adult, so I didn’t know what to say! We did confession in the church I grew up in, but really it was more like going to a councilor’s office. I sat in a chair across from my priest’s desk and “talked it out” and received a blessing. Roman Catholic is a bit different! We talked to her about our experiences and how we actually really love going to confession, but she remained apprehensive.
The big moment came and she happened to go to confession with her favorite person, M., who was also in her FHC class. M.’s mom and I sat and waited with nervous smiles. After the girls said their penances and prayers they literally skipped out of the chapel! Bug said it was the most wonderful experience ever and it is now officially her favorite sacrament. She especially loves when on Saturday’s we go to confession, just the two of us. It’s so sweet to watch her love of it.
That next Sunday was her First Communion. M.’s mom and I discussed some of the details we wanted to see, and some of the traditions we wanted to include. There really isn’t much pomp and circumstance with FHC’s here, which I though odd given that it’s a Traditional chapel. So we decided on handmade candles and a procession.
We took our inspiration from several places, including this picture:
And we came up with these.
We made one for every First Communicant and Father blessed them shortly before Mass in the Sacristy. We then lined everyone up for a procession, the first of it’s kind at our little chapel from what we understand. The children just joined the end of the main procession and sat in the front. This way everyone got to see the children come in. We saw lots of happy faces with this!
After Mass the children were invested in the Brown Scapular. A friend of mine on Facebook hand embroiders them and so I had one handmade for Bug’s big day. It’s gorgeous and I’m surprised at how many strangers stop and ask about it. Bug likes to wear it outside of her clothes, like a necklace, so it’s an eye-catcher.
We were very lucky to be able to combine our iphone pictures (poorer quality) with those of a professional photographer who did my husband a favor. The pictures are something I’d like to have printed in a memory book for Bug’s keeping!
The last three pictures were from a separate function that same day. Instead of planning a large party at our house or the Church we decided to drive out of town to a High Tea. It was held at an Anglican Church which was received into the Catholic Church! This parish particularly prides itself on its English heritage so it was a High Tea in honor of St. George (patron saint of England) and also in honor the Queen’s birthday. It was splendid! Silver tea service for every table and more food than one could possible hope to eat. In true English fashion they served port and sherry as well! It was a fantastic way to celebrate a First Communion and it worked great for us. The lady who made the cake even gave the St. George and the Princess figurines to our girls and they now sit on our tea cabinet.
We couldn’t have had the day go much better than it did. Bug keeps her purse close at hand with her prayer books and rosary and wears her scapular with pride. As parents we were so happy and proud to finally have a child reach this blessed stage and we look forward to celebrating with each of our other little ones.
While we plan for this year’s First Communion we are scouring our books and watching blogs for ideas on how other families celebrate. What do you do for a First Holy Communion?