WHITE AND GREEN MAY
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
May is one of the most beautiful months in the year. First of all, we enjoy a special prayer in it and singing to Our Lady, being gathered at May Divine Services. A man, who loves, wants to talk about it, sing and adore the name of one whom he loves, especially when these are God and Jesus’ Mother. And what is alive in us, is so honestly grateful, joyful and full of glory.
In this month there is also an unusual celebration which is emotionally experienced by our parishes – the day of the First Holy Communion of children. These are beautiful and unforgettable moments for them and also for their families. As believing adults we remember the day of our First Holy Communion. In the years of war and those post-war years, when in the country there was poverty and conditions did not allow for rich family parties, this celebration was very modest, but it has always been a great holiday. Later, there was a better time and family meetings were often organised on this occasion and there were also small presents for children. But there also came new pastoral problems.
From the point of view of the Church, the essentially most important matter is that a child joining the First Holy Communion, would accept Jesus into his heart quite consciously and with love. A child gets prepared long for this moment. The child is supposed to understand and remember from this solemn celebration a deep experience of the lively presence of Jesus in the Holiest Sacrament. Some parish priests even reserve their personal time for a catechesis before the First Holy Communion because they really care about a good preparation of a group of their youngest parishioners for their first direct meeting with God. For, so much depends on this moment. A man goes with his experience through his later life, remembering his child’s trustful prayer and experience of his pure widely open heart. This moment is an example of a trustful love to God, entrustment to Him and a complete devoting oneself to Him.
This preparation of a child for the First Holy Communion should be accompanied by parents, godparents, grandparents and the whole family of a child. So, a priest must remind parents of the fact that the whole family should open themselves especially to Jesus at this moment. A child is a careful observer, evaluates and exactly registers talks and behaviours of adults. Everything has an influence on his feelings. Certainly, a family and relatives of a child and his godparents should come to the Holy Confession and together with a child join the Holy Communion. Also godparents are responsible for the continuation of upbringing of a child in faith. The First Holy Communion is an essential event also for the whole parish, which is a community concentrating on its church and priests. So, the parish should shine with joy and pride of pure hearts of children who are taking Jesus into their hearts for the first time. We all are responsible for the First Holy Communion of children at our homes and in parishes. So, we cannot over-emphasize such matters as the clothes of a child on this occasion (also clothes of family members), or the party organised on this occasion or presents. Jesus is the most important and we all should concentrate on Him and a contact between a child and Him.
After the celebration of the First Holy Communion children come for the Holy Mass during the so-called ‘white’ week in their church, wearing solemn communion clothes, in order to sing Jesus their joy and gratitude that they can be so close to Him now. In these Divine Services we should also deepen love to Eucharistic Jesus, whose expression is, among the others, the cult of the Holiest Heart of Jesus. The first anniversary of the Holy Communion, also solemnly celebrated in our churches is here a kind of an act of contrition about how we fulfil our duties. Eucharist, the presence of Jesus in the Holiest Sacrament is a great treasure for a man. Awareness that God gave us his son so that we would gain an eternal life, should accompany us all the time.
I dedicate wishes to all children joining the First Holy Communion from John Paul II, expressed on 13 June 1987 to children of the First Communion in Łódź: ‘Dear children, girls and boys, who are taking Jesus into your hearts for the first time today. I wish you so that you may invite Him all the time, throughout your life...’