Wednesday, April 22, 2009



“Grandma, how can it be my anniversary? I thought that was just when people celebrated how many years since they got married?”

Nope! The dictionary says it’s “the yearly recurrence of the date of a past event.” That means any event, like the day you got baptized. It’s been a whole year already, one year since your Christian birthday on April 27, 2008!”

“Then I’m one year old in Christian years but 9 years old in real time? Look at this picture of me with Daddy and Father Matt at Sacred Heart Church last year. I wasn’t even tall enough to put my head over the baptismal font—Daddy had to hold me up!”

“You really have grown a lot this year, Jeffrey. Look at the marks we’ve made on the kitchen door—they are going up and up. I put a date beside each mark so we can keep track of your height.”

“When I’m on your bathroom scale, Grandma, it goes way up to 55 pounds! Daddy says he can’t keep up with buying me new shoes ‘cause I outgrow them before they wear out.”

“We grow both on the outside and on the inside. Our outside grows with nourishing food, exercise, rest—and time. Our minds and spirits grow with information and understanding. The Bible tells us that Jesus grew from a baby to a toddler, then a little boy, a teenager, and then He became a man. It says that Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” That’s what you are doing, Jeffrey. You are growing on the inside in your spirit whenever you pray and when you learn more about Jesus and go to Mass and worship God.”

“I like to go to Mass. When I go to the altar with you, I cross my arms over my chest and Father puts his hand on my head and blesses me. But Grandma, when can I have the bread and wine too? There are some other kids in our church who get to receive it. And my friend at school who goes to a different church said that at their church anyone who believes in Jesus can eat the little squares of white bread and drink the tiny glasses full of grape juice. Why don’t we do that in our church? Why do I have to wait?”

“Those kids in our church have gone to classes on Saturdays at our Church and they learned a lot of things about God, sort of like school. They studied from the First Communion Catechism book. The teachers told their parents and our priests when they thought the children understood enough, could answer the questions, and were ready to have First Communion. That is a wonderful and important event, just like your baptism.

“First Communion means the first time you take the bread and the wine, right?”

“Right. You only do your First Communion Sacrament once; just like your Baptism is a Sacrament and you are baptized only once. After that, each time you go to Mass you can take communion.”

“Well, you already gave me that Catechism book with all the lessons before I was baptized. There are questions in every chapter to answer. I guess it doesn’t work for us right now for me to get to those classes on Saturdays, so do you think we could ask Father Krempa if I could study with you and with Daddy and get ready for First Communion?”

“I will ask Father or one of the teachers if that is possible and how we would go about it, ok? You are a good reader already. Some lessons you can study for yourself. If you work hard, by the second anniversary of your baptism next year, you might be ready to have your First Communion at Easter.”

“That would be great! Grandma, you said that in our Church we believe that the bread and wine are REALLY the body and blood of Jesus. Does the bread and the wine taste different than ordinary bread and wine? Like magic, do they really turn into the body and blood of Jesus? How does that all work?”

“We’ll study the chapter in your Catechism book about The Holy Eucharist and that will answer a lot of your questions. The “Eucharist” is the name we use for “Communion,” the time when we receive the bread and the wine. Some churches call it “The Lord’s Supper.” The word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” We thank God for loving us so much that He sent His Son Jesus into the world to die for us and open the way for us to go to Heaven. The Eucharist is the most important part of our worship which we call the Mass.”

“Let’s read that chapter now. I see a lot of new words I have to learn—chalice, ciborium, tabernacle, monstrance…. On my next baptism anniversary I’ll be ten years old, and I might be as tall as you, Grandma.”

“Weeeell, I’m not so sure about that, but I think there will be a lot of marks on the kitchen door during this coming year to show how tall you will be growing on the outside. And God will measure your spirit to see how much taller you are on the inside!”


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