For any child going to a Roman Catholic school making your first holy communion is a big deal. I made mine in what is now year 2, whereas these days it tends to be Year 3, I think because of the Year 2 SATs. H has spent a big chuck of this year preparing for the big day. In fact, at times I’ve felt it has been overdone and H has complained that he hasn’t done enough of the subjects he’s interested in this year.
Through the year they’ve been working in class on some special silver books. H brought in some special pens from home to help make it as good as possible. His handwriting seemed to be better in this book than in his normal exercise books. It’s been seen as very special. The books were brought to the church and taken up as part of the offertery and I think we’ll get them to take home soon.
Earlier in the year he made his first confession at the church associated with his school. A lot of time and effort went into preparing for that and everything went off well. As you’d expect the same amount of care (if not more) went into the first communion preparation. Nothing was left to chance. The children practised with unconsecrated hosts to eat and even tried a little communion wine in advance. H came out of school one day saying that he’d had ‘children’s wine’ – I’m not clear what this was, but I’m guessing either grape juice or a non-alcoholic wine.
Everything went off without a hitch for the big day itself. There were a few stressful minutes when H wasn’t cooperating about getting dressed – I’d left it to the last minute to avoid spills and creases, but I’d expected him to be excited and want to help. It turns out he wasn’t that keen on wearing the tie and the sash or a shirt done up to the top.
H had a great day and read very clearly during the mass. Very proud of my boy.
So any tips for parents getting their boys ready for first communions in the future?
- We dressed H in some brand new school uniform. I’d recommend getting this well in advance, even the previous September. Finding the right size of school uniform mid year can be tricky. I bought a set of 4 trousers earlier in the year and put one pair aside for this occasion, so they were brand new on. I wasn’t so organised with the shirt though and had problems as I tried a couple of stores with no luck in his size. A good place to look for school uniform items mid year is a specialist school shop – I’d only used these for buying school branded items before, but they usually stock a comprehensive range of sizes of plain shirts and trousers through the year.
- If you want a sash pin, I’d order online in advance. We didn’t bother, but a friend tried to get one a week before and even the cathedral shop didn’t stock them.
- The sash can be fastened with a safety pin easily enough and you can hide the workings behind the sash. It’s a good idea to fasten the sash to the boy’s clothes too. Being made of silky material, they have a tendancy to slip off, so pinning the sash to the shoulder is a help. Pinning to the trousers too will make sure of the sash not moving, but remember to unpin later as it might cause problems when they want to go to the loo.
- Our school provided the sash and tie. The sash was on a free loan and the tie was £5 I think. It has the year embroidered onto it, which is a bit of a pain if you want to wear it again or hand it down the family.