Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Conor's First Communion

This weekend was a big deal for our little boy. After months of preparation and hard work, his big day finally arrived. (A few days prior, Annika turned to me and said, "I can't believe Brother is going to be able to go to Communion with us soon!" I agree, kiddo!! You two are speeding through childhood and I can barely keep up with your pace.)

It was a no-brainer that we'd have Fr. Fred involved in the whole thing. Fred provided the same curriculum that he had Annika follow, so we knew Conor was ready and knew what he needed to know. The fact that Conor received his First Communion in the same chapel he was baptized in is beyond special to me. And the fact that the same priest ... OUR priest ... did the sacraments fills my soul with joy. Before mass, Fred and Conor stepped to the side of the getting everyone settled chaos so Conor could receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. (That night, I asked Conor what he thought of that experience and if he felt good talking to Fred about his spiritual mis-steps. He replied, "Oh yes! I like talking with Fred." We went on to talk about how special it is to have someone like Fred in our lives ... someone who is a true friend and spiritual guide.)

The mass was wonderfully personal. The only attendees were the four Olsons, the four Nelsons, Nana,  my best friend Kate, and the three "aunties" (Joann Roberts, Mary Ann Seiwerath, and Sheila Linggi). Oh, and Fred.... but that was a given, right?? One thing I cherish about mass with Fred is he never stops teaching. He'll often throw in a question, tidbit of info, or random insight here and there throughout the mass. He turns mass into a welcoming, comfortable, personable, thought-provoking experience that is sprinkled with humor... 

My brother (Troy) read the first reading and gave a hilarious nod to his wedding joke (ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death) before reading the correct Bible passage. Annika followed him by reading the responsorial psalm, (She practiced her little heart out to make sure she had all of the words down pat and maintained a good speaking pace. Kudos, Annika!) 

Troy reading St Paul's Letters to the Corinthians (11:23-26)

Annika leading the responsorial psalm (Ps 147:12-15, 19-20)

 Fred returned to the helm after that. During the preparation of the gifts, he invited the kids up to the altar so they were part of the experience and closer to the action. As a side note, I have never seen Conor stand so still as he did when he was next to Fred at the altar. Pretty sure the boy didn't shift a single inch the entire time! Before long, it was Conor's big moment.... his first communion. He was nervous but didn't let that get in the way. (Fred giving him quiet little reminders also helped!) It was quite apparent from the look on his face that Conor was less than impressed with the taste of the sacramental wine. Pretty sure his face would screw up less if he bit into a lemon! Ha ha!! This turned into a bit of a special day for our nephew (Ian), too; Fr. Fred had him take on the role of Eucharistic minister and offer the chalice to the mass participants. Ian was composed and took on the role with marvelous maturity and focus. It was fun to see him in such a "big kid" role.

Eric and Conor listening to Fred 

Troy and Ian giggling at one of Fred's jokes

Ian, Kat, Annika, Fred, Conor at the altar

Fr. Fred and Conor

Conor receiving his first Holy Communion

Conor receiving the wine

Annika congratulating Conor with a big hug

After mass, all of us poured into a conference room for a small reception of sandwich platters, a veggie tray, and cake. Everyone was chatty, smiling, and in a grand mood. We are incredibly blessed by our family, friends, and faith community.  

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