It was a rainy Saturday, full of budding flowers, and the crisp dresses and pressed dress shirts of St. Joseph’s 2017 First Holy Communion Class.

These children had prepared all year, reflecting on the significance of the Eucharist, reading about saints devoted to the Eucharist, and practicing how to receive the Eucharist.

Finally, their big day had arrived.

Unable to use St. Joseph Church due to roof repairs, these 29 second-graders and one third-grader, their loved ones, Father Chris and Father Jose, St. Joseph School principal Sara Myers, and second-grade teachers Barbie Carrier and Amy Doyle sojourned across town to St. Philip Church.

St. Joseph Middle School students Hayden Schaub and Gregory Garfield were waiting for them.

“We didn’t have any siblings [of First Communicants] who were trained to altar-serve at St. Philip and they both graciously accepted the request,” Mrs. Doyle said.

The Knights of Columbus, in all their finery, led the children into the church, which was filled to capacity. Each child carried a flower to be presented to our Mother Mary.

Some students took part in the Mass, reading the first reading, offering the petitions, and bringing up the gifts. Others said prayers for deceased loved ones, those who couldn’t celebrate with them in the flesh, but smiled down from heaven.

Father Chris and Father Jose concelebrated Mass, which underlined for the children how special this day was.

“Father Chris gave a beautiful homily about St. Christopher,” Mrs. Doyle said. “A few of the kids remembered that as a very special part of the Mass.”

The children knelt as a group, while the Eucharistic Prayer was said. They joined hands for the “Our Father” and shook hands during the Sign of Peace.

Then, one by one, the children came up to receive Our Lord for the first time.

Mrs. Doyle shared that some students were worried about approaching the altar with arms crossed to receive a blessing instead of hands cupped to receive the Lord.

But no one forgot.

After Communion, Father Chris blessed religious items loved ones had placed near Mary’s altar as gifts to the children.

The children also gave a gift, singing “Follow Me” for the congregation. St. Philip high school freshman Adam Sprague accompanied the First Communicants on the piano.

“This song talks about our communion with Jesus, our uniting with Him in love,” Mrs. Doyle said.

Blessed and happy, everyone gathered in the St. Philip Parish Center for cake, congratulations, and, of course, pictures.

“It was a beautiful day,” Mrs. Doyle said. “All of the children walk in with such holy anticipation. They were excited about being dressed up and receiving Jesus.”

May it always be so for these children of God.

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Questions? Call Cathy Erskine at 269.963.1131