« Back to previous page

First and Last Holy Communion

On Saturday last we concluded our last ceremony of First Holy Communion. In congratulating the children, we thank their teachers and schools for preparing another generation of children in receiving the Sacraments.

There are many reasons why parents of all shades of faith, and none, are opting into First Holy Communion for their children. Many see it as a natural expression of their Catholic identity. For most it is a meaningful spiritual celebration, for others a harmless tradition keeping them in a club which, for all its flaws, they would rather remain part of. There are a handful of parents who want their child to receive First Holy Communion just because everyone else is doing it, they don’t want their child singled out as different, so they use it as a reason for a party, and sadly the sacrament is reduced to a day of materialism rather than spirituality.

I always see First Holy Communion as an invitation from God to parents to begin again, to renew and develop our relationship with Him who loves each one of us dearly. This happens through the children who receive the Sacraments as they challenge us to question our commitment and, if necessary, return to the practice of regular church attendance. At one of our ceremonies, one grandparent I spoke with wondered whether this would be their grandchild’s first and possibly last Holy Communion. The invitation from the Lord is “Come to me, get to know me, and you will benefit from our relationship.” Now that the season of First Holy Communion is complete, it would be a wonderful recognition of this precious day in the lives of our children if we all accepted His invitation and relive the spiritual celebration with Him each week at Mass.

Last week I attended graduation ceremonies in both of our secondary schools. These ceremonies are very much part of the end of school rituals that all our young people go through prior to their exams. On Bank Holiday Monday night, I invite all our young people doing exams this year to come to SS John & Paul Church at 9pm for a special Mass and blessing before you start exams. We welcome students and their families and we will remember you during the days ahead each time we gather in prayer.

A Blessing for You as You Leave School

May you find serenity and tranquillity in a world you may not always understand.
May the pain you have known and the conflict you have experienced,
give you the strength to walk through life,
facing each new situation with courage and optimism.

Know that there are those whose love and understanding will always be there,
even when you feel most alone.
May a kind word, a reassuring touch, and a warm smile be yours every day of your life
and may you give these gifts as well as receive them.

Teach love to those who show hate
and let that love embrace you as you go into the world.
Remember those whose lives you have touched
and those who have touched yours are always a part of you,
even if the encounters were less than you would have wished.
It is the content of the encounter that is more important than its form.

May you not become too concerned with material matters,
but instead place immeasurable value on the goodness in your heart.
Find time in each day to see the beauty and love in the world around you.
Realise that each person has limitless abilities,
but each of us is different in our own way.
What you may feel you lack in one regard
may be more than compensated for in another.
What you feel you lack in the present
may become one of your strengths in the future.

May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility.
Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience.
May you find enough inner strength to determine your own worth by yourself,
and not be dependent on another’s judgement of your accomplishments.

May you always feel loved.

St. Senan's Parish | Tel : 061 364 133 | Fax : 061 364 516 | Email : office@shannonparish.ie
Copyright 2009 St. Senan's Parish. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by Parish Websites, Designed by acton|web