Preparing the children for First Holy Communion – November 19, 1917

Mama was the Beacon

Preparing the children for First Holy Communion

The years were passing by, the children were maturing, and it was almost time for them to make their First Holy Communion. The atmosphere of authentic piety and ardent faith that Dona Lucilia created at home was the best preparation that there could be. Her overflowing kindness helped the youngsters understand that Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who had shed all of His Precious Blood for the salvation of souls, loved them infinitely more than even their own mother did.

From the moment she started speaking to them of their First Communion, she conveyed a worthy notion of the grandeur of this august act. She also arranged for the pastor of Saint Cecilia Church to give Plinio, Rosée and Ilka catechism classes.

As the days went by, she noted that the children were benefiting from these lessons. Well pleased, she added explanations of her own and quizzed them on specific points. She also told Bible stories in so refined and compelling a manner that the children were filled with awe for the great Biblical figures.

She depicted Palestine in somewhat legendary terms, describing, for example, the desert sands of the Holy Land that had been stamped by sublime events. The way she pronounced certain place names conjured images in the children’s minds. Her “Sea of Galilee” made them think of rippling waters bearing the reflection of the Saviour.

She often spoke of the sweetness of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Lady. She showed His actions to be serene, measured and meaningful, with a wisdom far surpassing everything worldly. His attitudes reflected supreme majesty and absolute authority. She revealed the Blessed Virgin as abounding in love and tenderness.

“Do not be thinking of the party”

The great day awaited by Rosée, Plinio, and Ilka finally arrived.

In those times children who had taken part in the Lord’s Supper for the first time were feted in grand style by relatives and friends. Dona Lucilia, having a different idea, called Rosée and Plinio and said:

“My children, your First Holy Communion is the most important happening in your lives after Baptism. On this day your mind should be entirely focused on the Eucharist, right from the moment you wake up, rather than on the party.”

Accordingly she moved the party to the next day to help them spend the great day focused entirely on the sublime Sacrament without any disturbance of their interior recollection. For the same reason, she also let them wear their First Holy Communion attire until nighttime. In keeping with the custom of the time, Plinio wore an Eton—named after the English school that inspired it—and the girls wore white, bridal-style gowns, for Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Divine Spouse of virgin souls.

It is no wonder, then, that upon recalling the blessed occasion of receiving the Divine Redeemer for the first time Dr. Plinio remarked:

“Mama was the beacon that guided my preparation for First Holy Communion.”

Taken from Chapter VI of Dona Lucilia, by Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias

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