I love this time of the year for many reasons, but high on that list is because this is the time of the year to celebrate First Holy Communions. This morning at 11:00 am we celebrated the first of two such celebrations in our parish (next Saturday will be the second group). It was a great event. We break our group into two celebrations in order to make it more intimate and more manageable.
I had a great time. The kids this year have impressed me as being really into it, not showing nervousness but rather a real appreciation of what was happening in their lives. I mentioned this to them this morning, and that I had the same sense when they came for first reconciliation before Christmas. Running the risk of offending someone, I have to say that even the parents and grown ups were well behaved today.
I spoke of the experience of reaching that moment in life when we are invited to "move up to the grown up table". When our extended family would gather, there were too many to sit around the dining room table. The kids were relegated to a smaller table in the same room or in the kitchen - the kid's table. But when that moment came to "move up", to join the grown ups and share in the food of their table, it was a momentous moment. First Communion is similar to that experience. Rather than just accompanying Mom or Dad to Communion, these youngsters now are invited to come to the table themselves, to receive the Lord Jesus as never before.
I invited the kids to join me at the Altar for the Eucharistic Prayer. To my immediate left were two young men who I noticed were trying to communicate with each other. The one furthest away from me was trying very hard to hint at the other that he should trade places. Finally the one closest caught on, and was gracious enough to change places. The little guy moved next to me and was very happy. I smiled.
There were youngsters from all three of our neighboring parishes receiving today - what a day of blessing for the Norwin Community. I, for one, was blessed by the gathering ... and look forward to part II next Saturday.