N.B. Professional photos will be available by the end of this week.
On Sunday morning, Mary's special sacrament day, my little girl disappeared at one point and I realized I hadn't seen her for quite some time. I sought her out and found her door locked and the room darkened: she let me in, but I quickly retreated when I discovered that she had set up a beautiful altar, illuminated by a flash light, and she was praying a full, five-decade rosary on the morning of receiving Holy Communion for the first time.
All the catechism, all the family rosaries prayed each night, all the Masses attended, all the nurturing, sheltering, and conversing felt worthwhile to me as a mother in that moment.
We then met the grandparents and godparents at the hotel for a buffet breakfast (rather than my cooking a feast of a breakfast as initially planned--such a wise change!) before coming back to the house to get ready for the big day. Chris drove the baby around the neighborhood to get him asleep for nap so that I could dress the children in peace. Meanwhile, Erica made Mary's hair into a crown of braids.
The traditional Latin Mass proceeded beautifully, with the girl communicants in the front row on one side, with their families in the rows behind, and the boy communicants and their families similarly on the other side.
I experienced my own grace from God during the Mass. These days, I am in the cry room with Thomas (9 months) who is so gloriously loud in his exuberance that I don't even last in the cry room, but move to the narthex, and then always end up pacing outside because his shouts and shrieks disturb the church. In the prior week, I had checked with several friends who might be able to take Thomas outside just during Communion so I could be in the church while Mary received, but no friends were available. I had decided I couldn't get uptight about it and would just have to let it play out, and that I might not be in the church during Communion.
So, there I was, pacing about with my loud baby when I thought, 'Why don't I ever pray to God for help with this? God, please make Thomas fall asleep, or something else equally miraculous.'
And you know what? Minutes later, Thomas fell asleep in my sling--where he hasn't slept since he was a wee baby of about four months old--and stayed fast asleep while I went into the church, sat with my family for the first time in years, all the way through going up for Communion, only waking with a jolt at the very last words of the St. Michael prayer (for those who don't know: the very last prayer said after Mass).
I share that vignette to give glory to God for his gift to this mama.
Back to Mary, she did beautifully during Mass and reception of Communion--and I can hardly wait to share the professional photos when they are made available at the end of this week.
|Mary's holy card|
After Mass, the four families with First Holy Communicants hosted a reception for at least 75 people in the parish cafeteria.
A great, fun time was had by all and, truly, the only marred moment of the whole weekend seemed to be that I didn't think to bring an extra change of clothing for Mary, who then couldn't run around playing with her pals in her gown.
On our way home, we stopped to visit Sr. Agnes (Chris' aunt), who was unable to join us at the Mass or reception.
At home, Mary finished opening her very thoughtfully given gifts. Of the various medals, rosary, jewelry, and a statue she received, the saints represented were the Virgin Mary, St. Anthony, St. Padre Pio, Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Margaret of Cortona (the latter because "God is always good, but life isn't always pretty").
Chris and I gave Mary an antique silver broach of a hand-painted Virgin Mary. She liked it very much, as she usually wears a broach when she performs at recitals.
Mary also received some beautiful devotionals and prayer books, including a spiritual diary, which she is already filling out with fervor.
Our daughter declared (several times) that the day receiving her First Holy Communion was "the best day of my entire life!" Certainly, it was filled with many graces.