Last week I was saying that May is the month of Mary. It is also
the month of First Holy Communion. Yesterday, at Cloughduv, 28
boys and girls from Cloughduv and Kilbonane National Schools received
their First Holy Communion. It was a great occasion for the children,
their parents, grandparents and extended families. We congratulate
them and wish them well. Next Saturday it will be the turn of
7 children from Canovee N.S. A week from Saturday the children
of Second Class from Kilmurry N.S. will receive the Lord for the
The occasion of First Holy Communion is a truly special one.
It is a landmark in the personal history of all of us. I made
my own on a Saturday morning in May 1960 in Kealkil Church. I
can remember it as well as if it were only yesterday.
I hope that the children of this parish who receive their Communion
in May 2005 will cherish the memory throughout their lives. They
will remember that they got their Communion the month after Pope
John Paul II passed away and some weeks after the election of
Pope Benedict XVI.
It is an appropriate year also in which to receive the Bread
of Life for the first time since it is The Year of the Eucharist.
The late Pope wished this year to be a year of special devotion
to the Eucharist, to the Mass. In a special letter that he wrote
to the whole Church for the occasion he says, "amid our questions
and difficulties, and even our bitter disappointments, the divine
Wayfarer continues to walk at our side, opening to us the Scriptures
and leading us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God.
When we meet him fully, we will pass from the light of the Word
to the light streaming from the 'Bread of Life', the supreme fulfilment
of his promise to' be with us always, to the end of the age'"
(cf. Mt.28: 20).
It would be a great pity if the children who receive First Holy
Communion did not get every support and encouragement at home
to develop their spiritual side. There is a huge risk these days
that all the emphasis will be on the material side of the occasion
i.e. fashion, style, money etc.. We must appreciate that children
in their innocence and openness have enormous potential for spiritual
development. At our peril do we ignore this. If we do ignore this,
we could be said to be guilty of grave negligence. Children have
a right to know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. How will
they get to know Him? Firstly, from the good example at home of
prayer and Christian living. Secondly, from regular attendance
at Mass and the Sacraments. We are blessed with superb teachers
in this Parish who do great work for catechetics. However, it
is the parents who are the primary educators in the ways of faith,
not the teachers. Teachers are finding it increasingly difficult
these days to teach Religion because of the lack of back-up from
It would be very, very sad if these beautiful children who receive
First Communion these days were not to be given every encouragement
and example to get to know Christ and form a relationship with
Him. It would be an aberration if they were not brought to Sunday