Apr 12 2012

Holy Communion 1958

Published by at 10:56 pm under News

My older sister recently gave me this photograph of my First Holy Communion day. I’d never seen it before. There was another one of me taken in front of the little grotto to Our Lady in the grounds of St Catherine’s Convent in Cabra West. But that one somehow disappeared on me altogether. What a great surprise it was to see this photo of myself all those years ago. My little suit was kind of tweedy brown with a speckle of white through it and my vee kneck jumper was an off white colour. Isn’t that strange how I can remember those things so clearly?

I’ll never forget the lead up to the big day of making my First Holy Communion and the preparations that went with it. I had Sister Mary Oliver as my teacher and a more angelic person I have never met. Of course I was her pet and especially when she had me selling the Lucky Lumps in the school yard for her, she always gave me one free for doing that job. I remember there were two classes of boys combined together for the instruction class. My class had to stand around the wall of the room because there was nowhere for us to sit.

I remember we had to memorise loads of questions and answers out of our green Cathecism. ‘Who made the world’?…’Who is God’?…’Where is God’? and the smart answer you never gave to that last question, ‘I hope he’s not in me pocket eating me sweets’. It was all a part of the indoctrination into our faith, it was who we were and where we came from. We were never allowed to ask ‘Why’? or anything like that because you’d get a smack on the head or a belt of a leather strap. Can you imagine the scene…’Eh excuse me father but why is God invisible, does he not want us to see Him’? ‘And another thing father, if God can do all things why doesn’t he stop making us poor’? Well I can tell you if you started asking questions like that in our day your head would be still spinning with the box the priest would have given you.

And do your remember the piece of ice cream wafer that the Nun placed on your tongue in preparation for receiving the Host? I went home and told the Da’ all about it and he asked me did we not get any ice cream to go with it. And then he start laughing but I didn’t because the nun never said that we’d get ice cream as well. Do you now that even today if I buy an ice cream wafer I always break a piece off it and place it on my tongue and say ‘Amen’ and laugh the way me Da’ used to do.  Now isn’t that a strange thing to do or what?

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