A letter to my granddaughter as she makes her first Communion

Categories: Around the Diocese,Editorial

April 11, 2014, edition
By Bob Zyskowski

Dear Ellie,

Grandma and I of course responded yes to your mom’s Facebook invite to your first Communion — we wouldn’t miss it for the world.

We are so happy to be able to share that special day with you.

11bfirstcommunionI remember my own first Communion day — more than 50 years ago! — as being a beautiful, sunny May morning. My third-grade classmates and I assembled in the school lunchroom and then walked over two-by-two to our church.

The girls were in their white dresses and veils, and like all the boys I wore a navy blue suit with a white shirt and a white satin tie — a sign of purity.

What I think you’ll find interesting is that I don’t remember much about the day after that. I don’t remember what I was thinking as I received Jesus for the first time.

But what I can tell you is that my understanding and my appreciation for the Eucharist has grown over these 50-odd years, and I’m pretty sure that that’s all in God’s plan for you, too.

Take advantage

I do know that after I received my first Communion I took advantage of every chance I could to go the Mass and receive.

A couple years later, when I was an altar server and I could walk to church myself, I remember going to Mass every day during summer vacation so I could go to Communion. What was nice was that we lived just four short blocks from our church and I could be there in minutes.

The priests in our parish really appreciated that I was there, because if an altar server didn’t show up, they could call me up to substitute.

Although good Catholics sometimes “take a break” from going to Mass (for various reasons), that’s never been the case for me. Mass always seemed part of me, and I think Holy Communion is one of the key elements of that.

Try this approach

Some time ago I got into a habit that I’d recommend you do on your first Communion day and do every time you receive Communion: When you get back to your pew from receiving Communion, remind yourself that Jesus is now in you, in your heart.

Ask Our Lord to help you be the very best person you can be.

Ask him to help you avoid those things that you know in your heart you shouldn’t do.

Ask him to help you do the things you should, especially in following his two great commandments, to love God and to love your neighbor.

And finally, ask this Jesus that is now in your heart to help you to see him in everyone you meet, in everyone whose life touches yours.

Ellie, my prayer for you as you make your first Communion is that you grow in your understanding and appreciation for this great gift God has given us in being able to have his son inside us as we go through the joys and sorrows of life, and that you always know what a privilege it is to be able to receive Holy Communion.

Grandpa Z