Tag - Sacraments

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First Communion Banner
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Pumpkin’s First Communion
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Gulp
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Amazing
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First Communion
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Preparing for the Feast
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Confession

First Communion Banner

Pumpking Girl reminds me that I have been remiss in showing you all her First Communion banner.  Bad mom!

She had her own ideas of what to include on her banner, but several of them were way beyond my drawing abilities or wouldn’t work well with felt.  We took her basic idea, sketched some figures and while looking for a model of a dove, we found a sticker in her take-home pages from Religious Education that was what she wanted.

I cut, she glued.

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We used the same foam letters that we used with Boo’s banner (I’ve blurred her real name out) and she was very pleased with the result.

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Oh!  I can’t forget – my mom brought me the class picture from my own First Communion.  Check it out:

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I took a picture through the frame instead of scanning it, thus the poor quality and the glare.  But you get the point.

Pumpkin’s First Communion

Pumpkin Girl made her First Communion on the day before Mother’s Day. She and I attended a retreat the weekend before where she did several crafts and we made unleavened bread together.  It was a special treat to spend the afternoon with her.

The big day rolled around and her class and their families gathered together for breakfast at the church and a brief rehearsal.  Then home for several hours and back for mass in the evening.

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Boo got to serve mass that day, at his request. Just between you and me, he really does love his sister!

Gulp

First Communion time is looming.  We have a dress and shoes and stockings.  I have a gift planned.  The banner is ready.  The only thing really left to take care of is the veil.

I don’t know how it happened, but when I made my first communion I ended up with a rented dress and veil.  There aren’t any pictures of me that day, either.  It’s disappointing, not having anything to pass along to my daughter for her First Communion.

Then I heard about somebody’s tradition of passing along their wedding veil to their daughter for First Communion.  My bridal veil is in two pieces, a circlet of flowers plus a separate veil.  The veil is much too long for an 8 year old, but the circlet of flowers is perfect.

So we went in search of an appropriate veil.  We found the perfect one, a miniature version of the veil I wore when I became her father’s bride.  Mine was edged with pearls, hers is edged with satin.

When it arrived, she tried it on with my head piece.  It – she – is beautiful.

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Amazing

Philip and I were asked by two of our friends to sponsor them as they enter the Catholic Church this Easter.  Of course, this is an honor and a privilege for us – and a very unique experience.  We each have godchildren and we’ve both been Confirmation sponsors, but this is the first time we’ve been godparents/sponsors together.

So the four of us spent pretty much all of last Sunday together participating in the Rite of Sending at our home parish here on base, then at the Rite of Election at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  All I can say is…amazing.

I’d never been to the Basilica, so I was immediately awestruck by the building itself.  The interior rivaled any basilica or cathedral we’ve seen in Europe.  I cannot even begin to do it justice in trying to describe it with words.  I didn’t bring a camera, so I can’t share any pictures, sadly.  Our homeschool group is taking a tour next month, so I’ll get some pictures then.

The Rite itself – again, wow.  There were 5 Bishops in attendance – the Archbishop of DC, 3 of his auxiliary bishops and the Bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services.  Incidentally, ours was the only church that identified itself as being from a military base, so the bishop was probably there just for us!  The sheer number of people being baptized or coming into full communion with the Church was so inspiring, and makes you think that maybe our country really isn’t going to hell in a hand basket after all.  Each of the catechumens who will be baptized at Easter were called by name and were presented by their godparent to the Archbishop.  He seemed to be having quite a good time, shaking hands and smiling the whole time.  They lined up on the in front of the altar, where they answered questions as a group.  After they returned to their seats, the candidates for Confirmation were by parish and went up with their sponsors.  We didn’t get to meet the Archbishop, but we filled the enormous chancel.  We were one of the first parishes called up, so we stood to the very back.  It was an amazing view, looking out over the sea of humanity, and also taking in the beautiful artwork surrounding us. We will probably never again be that close to the altar of the Basilica.

I have to say that it was actually a lot of fun.  Our military men in their uniforms looked quite handsome and distinguished, and we had seats about 5 rows from the front.  I got little crick in my neck from looking up at the Archbishop during his homily, we were that close.  It was fun sharing the experience with the others from our parish, too.

I do have another side story to tell about something that happened as we were leaving.  But it’s a story for another day…

First Communion

Boo made his First Holy Communion yesterday. I could try to say something insightful and poignant, but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. I do want to say that we were very blessed to have my parents and my cousin here with us. And of our little Catholic homeschooling group, 3 of the families had First Communicants and the other families came to the same Mass in support. It was so special to be surrounded by the important people in Boo’s life.

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I hung up our Easter garden flag for the day. Boo had a new suit, complete with a cross tie-tack from my grandma. Pumpkin Girl looks more and more like me every day. Bip is looking like a proud member of the toddler maffia. He refused to wear any other shoes but his red Mickey Mouse crocs.

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Boo was delightfully surprised to find that his banner was actually hanging right up front. You can see part of it on the left.

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Amen!

Preparing for the Feast

Boo is finishing his final preparations before receiving his First Holy Communion. We worked together in making his banner. That was a bit tough for me – finding a balance between letting him do it himself and making sure it was going to look “good.” Part of me kept thinking, “This is his banner, his day, let him do it.” On the other hand, this banner will be displayed at church and I don’t want him looking at it and thinking it doesn’t look as good as the others.

What’s a mother to do? In the end, I asked him what he wanted the banner to look like. I sketched while he talked. I picked out the felt colors, which he approved. I drew and cut out the paper patterns, which he also approved. I asked him if he wanted to cut out the felt, he said no. He just wanted to glue the peices on, which is what he did.

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His big request was a pair of praying hands holding a real rosary. I didn’t want to put a family rosary on the banner that would have to be removed later, so I said we could make a mini one. I offered to let him string the beads, but he wanted me to do it. I did trace his own hands for the pattern, though. I think the effect turned out cool.

I had to assert parental authority over his name. The guidance issued from the Religious Ed director was that the banners need to include the child’s name. Philip and I thought it best to use his real name, a nice solid, very long, Christian name. Boo wanted his banner to say “Boo.” We carefully explained that for this important event, we should use his real name. He said that if it didn’t say “Boo”, no one would know it was his. We compromised by using his real name, with “Boo” underneath.

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It turned out exactly the way he wanted it.

Tonight was rehearsal for the big day. The First Communicants will dress the altar as part of the Mass. Our RE director, in all her wisdom, chose Boo to carry one of the lit hurricane lamp candles. It’ll be ok, right? Actually, this is a very touching part of the Mass. I took pictures during rehearsal, since they have requested no pictures during Mass.

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(That’s Boo on the left.)
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How can he be so little and so big all at the same time?

And why does the song “Sunrise, Sunset” keep playing in my head?

Confession

I was reading my favorite blogs this morning and remembered that I completely forgot to blog about Boo’s First Confession! So here it:

We have a very small parish, with only about 12 children in the second grade religious education class. The children’s first confessions were spread out over 2 weeks, with 3 or 4 children scheduled every half hour each day. At the parents’ meeting, we happened to sit in the back and so we had to take the last day available, but got the first time slot.

Boo was well prepared, having learned most of the standard prayers long ago. The Act of Contrition was new to him and he was most worried about freezing up during it. We had assured him as best we could that Father understood all about little boys and would prompt him if needed. Boo is very easy going, so we were also able to tease a little bit about going to confession. We’d say, “I sure hope Father blocks out a whole hour for you!” and he’d say, “Oh yeah, ’cause I’ve got a list!” There is no way we’d be able to tease Pumpkin Girl like that, but Boo took it all in stride.

So the appointed day and time arrived and we, as a family, presented ourselves at the chapel. We were met by Miss Lynn,the religious ed director, who chatted with us while Boo tried to make himself disappear. We were standing off to the side of the room used for confessions and a little further down the hall was where Father was getting his vestments on. When Father came out, Boo spied him, grabbed me and proceeded to turn me around so that I was between him and Father. However, he was unable to escape his fate and Miss Lynn led him away. Boo got smaller and smaller with each step until he literally disappeared into the room. After several minutes he came bounding out, all smiles, and wanting to go back and do it again next week!

Then it was the rest of the family’s turn. Knowing that I would have an opportunity to go to confession myself had weighed on me for a while. I felt that this was something I really needed to do, if not for myself, then to set a good example for the boy. I have seen some discussion among non-Catholics about the validity of confessing to a priest. I understand the other point of view, but I have to say that going to confession really is such blessing. Preparing yourself with prayer, asking the Lord to show you what he wants you to seek forgiveness for, is very powerful. I found Him revealing things to me that I needed to forgive myself for. And while you can indeed go right to the Lord himself for forgiveness, there is something cathartic about speaking those words out loud and owning up to those dark spots on your soul. And what beauty there is in actually hearing words of forgiveness and receiving a blessing.

And speaking of blessings, after we all had our chance at going to confession, we stood together as a family and received a blessing. Then we went out and retrieved Subway sandwiches (Boo’s choice) for dinner. A very special day indeed.

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