Pastor's Corner

2021 05-02   We Celebrate First Communion … Jesus Is Alive and Here With Us

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This coming Saturday, many of the children in our faith community will make their First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid.  Their parents and other loved ones will present them to share with us in the fullness of the Lord’s Supper for the first time and watch proudly as these children, with great devotion, take this important step on their journey of faith.

Pope Francis recently celebrated a First Holy Communion Mass for a group of children in Europe.  As reported in the publication “America”, at the Mass, Our Holy Father stated, “First Communion is above all a celebration.  We celebrate Jesus, who wants to remain always by our side.  He will always be with us.”  He noted, “Jesus is alive and here with us.  That is why we can encounter him today in the Eucharist. We do not see him with our physical eyes, but we do see him with eyes of faith.”

Pope Francis reminded the children that this celebration was made possible thanks to their parents and grandparents, their families and communities, their catechists and clergy who “have accompanied you on the road that today leads you to meet Jesus and to receive him in your hearts.”

As Catholics, as we celebrate First Holy Communion, we recall the Lord’s Supper and our love for the Eucharist.  Our Church teaching reminds us that we are blessed to have high regard for the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith.  We are invited to bond with each other by nourishing together on the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and then by going forth in loving service of our brothers and sisters, especially our brothers and sisters in need.

The following “Prayer for First Holy Communion” prayer provided by Catholic Online reflects the reception of First Holy Communion from the viewpoint of a child:

Dear Jesus, thank You for my Holy Communion.
Through the Mass, You come to us
as You came on the first Christmas.
In the Mass, You repeat the wonderful Sacrifice of Calvary.
During the Mass, You give Yourself to me in Holy Communion.
Make me thoughtful and prayerful at Mass.
Come to me and remain with me all the days of my life.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that the word “Eucharist” means “giving thanks.”  And today we can once again thank the Lord for the great gift of the Eucharist, for our wonderful children, and for our vibrant faith community of Saint Brigid.

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