A few great days ahead. On Saturday, 7 June at 11 a.m. 32 young people will receive First Communion. Already grandparents, aunts, uncles , etc. are arriving for a great family as well as parish celebration.
One feature of that day that I like is the simplicity and lack of show in the clothes the children wear.
There are no tanning sessions ahead of the Communion day, no stretch limos or anything other than
simply well turned out children. This puts the focus on the core meaning of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. This does not occur because I as parish priest said something about how to prepare and dress. It is the family that makes these decisions. One thing I have worked on and seem to be making progress - no photographs during the First Communion Mass. There is no limit to photographs in the church before and after the Mass. This has restored a sense of mystery without losing a photographic record of the children's great day.
The next day, Pentecost Sunday, 39 young people will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This too is always a day of great joy. Being a little older than First Communion children, each dresses as she or he chooses. This simplicity adds rather than takes from the ceremony.
On Saturday evening in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, I will concelebrate Mass with Cardinal Vingt-Trois for 400 adults receiving Confirmation. Two young adults being Confirmed are connected to St Joseph's Parish.
These will be a few great days. A T