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First Communion

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A friend since grade school came beboppin' in the store yesterday with a smile and a gift. (Said her father found this in his desk and had been bugging her to get it to me ever since.) It was an old First Communion book. "Open it." The first page had penciled on the top 1.50. I laughed because I thought the point was to see how inexpensive the First Mass Books were from years ago or the fact that the handwriting looked just like one of the ladies who "came with the bookstore" when my mother bought it from the Diocese. She said, "No. Open it." A few pages further was a holy card of the Holy Family with my signature on the back in my own handwriting and a small piece of paper that read, Eucharistic Prayer No. 2 Acclamation No. 1 Gospel & Epistle pages 364-365. Gospel-363. IT WAS MY FIRST COMMUNION PRAYER BOOK FROM 1968. We immediately started reminiscing about playing Mass at her dining room table when we were young. (The cutting of the bread into round hosts and the readings and the songs.) I couldn't believe after all these years that this man who is suffering so immensely battling cancer not only found my First Mass Book but also found it important to get it back to me. Me, the punk little kid who always showed up in dirty, bare feet, knocking at his door at all hours and asking if his daughter could come out and play. He made my entire Holy Week because just like Jesus who thought of me during his days of suffering, this man thought of me. This month is my youngest child's First Communion, the last to finally be old enough to receive. I can't wait to share with her my new found First Communion Book along with a few stories from the past. A few words in the Liturgy may have changed but the same Jesus will be present to her on that day who has been present to me every day since 1968. The opportunity to receive Him every single day since that first day is why many people come to the Catholic faith as they will this Easter. This weekend is an exciting time for all of us and as I go to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus just as the Apostles at the Last Supper today and just as the new Catholics at the Easter Vigil and just as I did for the first time many years ago, I will remember this man and my First Holy Communion.
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