Welcoming our First Communicants, Confirmands and their Families

girl in first holy communion dress

After the hard time that has been endured by everyone during the Pandemic, it is a true pleasure to be able to welcome the children and young people who will be receiving the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation this summer.   As a community we mentally and spiritually embrace them, their parents and extended families, their teachers and catechists and all who have been a part of their faith journey since the moment they were first received into the family of the Church at their Baptism.

There is always a great sense of celebration accompanying the reception of these sacraments by our children and young people.  Of course, the excitement is particularly felt by the First Communicants and Confirmands themselves as they prepare for and look forward to their big day.  Their parents, extended families, teachers and catechists experience suitable pride in the children and young people reaching this milestone in their lives. The wider Church family rejoices for them all – children, family and teachers alike -as they take the opportunity to reflect on their own, or their children’s, big days.

It is particularly exciting, though, that we are able to celebrate these sacraments this year – valuing them all the more because we were unable to do so last year.  Knowing that the children will actually be receiving the living presence of Jesus Himself in the Blessed Sacrament makes us all stop and think more carefully of what is happening when we ourselves receive Holy Communion.   Jesus’ gift to us is truly awesome – He personally gives us His living, beating heart at the moment of His greatest suffering and love for us.  If we needed any evidence for this, we have all the Eucharistic Miracles that have taken place globally. For example, the 1996 Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires in Blessed Carlo Acutis’ Directory of Eucharistic Miracles:   http://www.miracolieucaristici.org/en/Liste/scheda_c.html?nat=argentina&wh=buenosaires&ct=Buenos%20Aires,%201992-1994-1996

The teenage Blessed Carlo would be a wonderful patron for all teenagers – something to think about if you are being Confirmed soon. There are many others, notably Lanciano (Italy) and Poland – something for the children to research?

Seeing the children receiving Jesus calls us all to pray that they may always remain close to Him.   We know that He will always be there for them, no matter what happens in their lives.   We pray with trust that the graces of the sacrament will permeate their lives, protecting them and bringing them safely home to God even if they stray from Him in the years ahead.

Similarly for the Confirmands, we pray that their decision to be Confirmed brings the graces of the sacrament and the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit to guide, strengthen and console them their whole life through.   May their chosen saint be their lifelong prayer partner and model, inspiring and supporting them to choose to do right when doing wrong seems so much more easy or inviting.

Parents, grandparents and other family, former teachers and catechists will – understandably – worry and be disappointed when it seems that the children and young people grow up to move away from their faith and live lives reflecting that.  However, you have done the ground work and it will never be wasted.   Even when God seems totally absent in the lives of your children, the graces of the sacraments have been received.   You have done your part in making sure of that so never give up on them and, with the assistance of your prayers and those of the Church family, God will do the rest!

We joyfully wish you all a most blessed First Holy Communion or Confirmation