My First Holy Communion
Posted by LOTGK on July 14, 2008
I had just endured and survived my first holy Confession on Saturday: (Walk in single line into church on Saturday, sit in pews, wait for red light to go out, watch kid with freshly cleansed soul walk out, walk in confessional box, sit down, wait for priest, tell your sins, lie about a few of them, wait for absolution, get lecture, get absolution, finally, get penance, leave confessional, kneel in pews, say penance, leave church.) leaving me with a clean slate on my soul but not on My Permanent Record. Dare I say I was ready for the next phase of my catholic faith, my first holy communion.
Damn, (Say two Our Fathers and two Hail Mary’s) I thought I was ready, but I found out there was actually a class for holy communion. And I had to study and there would be tests. Jesus Christ! (Say another 5 Our fathers and Five Hail Mary’s for taking the Lord’s name in vain) Seriously, how hard could it be. I have been dragged to church for several years and I did watch what the adults did when it was time for holy communion.
Stand up when it was your row’s turn, fold your hands in prayer, get in line, walk up to the priest at the altar, open your mouth, stick your tongue out at the priest, (That was the great part) exchange some secret words, take the host on your tongue, close your mouth, say Amen, turn and walk back in line to your pew, kneel, and say a prayer. I had this down, I didn’t need to take any stinking tests or read any books on first communion. I was ready dammit. (Close profanity word, just in case, say three Our Fathers and a sincere Act of Contrition)
Alas, the Nuns had other plans for us. For weeks, we practiced the above ritual. Getting in line, (Like we never had to get in line at school before, lines were our goddamn lives, (Yes, more Hail Mary’s) we knew how to get in a line) walking up to the altar, simulating taking the host, and returning to our pews. We practiced day in and day out, took test after written test until we were ready. We even learned new church songs for this festive occasion. Let There Be Peace On Earth is the only song I can remember. Even back then, in second grade, the Nuns told me to sing the hymns very quietly so as to not take the rest of the class out of tune. (Fucking bitch nuns!) (Ten Hail Mary’s, Ten Our Fathers)
That Sunday morning, I prepared for church, and being that it was my first communion, I wasn’t allowed to eat anything an hour before church. Damn, (Two Hail Mary’s, Two Our Fathers) I was screwed. I didn’t have time to get dressed and eat breakfast. I went hungry. Instead of eating, I had to put on my new shoes, new dark blue navy pants, white shirt, and clip on blur navy tie. Even for church, I had to wear a goddamn uniform. (Just keep saying the Rosary for penance)
When we arrived at church, the nuns herded all the first communion kids into the back hall of the church. We were ready to demonstrate that after two months of practice, we could walk down the aisle in a single file line. (Very impressive. But you are not a Jedi Knight yet!)
A few minutes before the show got on the road, the nuns opened a small canister that contained the thin white wafer hosts. The nuns said these were un-blessed and were to be used as practice hosts. WTF! (A solid Act of Contrition please) Apparently, as the story went from the nuns, several years back, a first holy communion kid almost choked to death when he received his host from the priest because it stuck to the roof of his mouth and he panicked causing him to spit the body of Christ out of his mouth. Luckily, the altar boy caught the host with his paten (Plate) before the blessed host hit the ground.
Anyway, the nuns said we were to practice with these ones before we went live. Of course mine got caught on the roof of my mouth. I didn’t spit it out though. I used my tongue to slowly move it and un-stick it from the roof of my mouth. (All you Catholics know exactly what I mean.)
A minute later, the main event was on. All of us slowly began our march up the church aisle hands folded in (Steeple prayer mode) and promptly took our place at the front of the church.
Thirty minutes later, it was our time. Ready to accept the body and blood of Christ for the first time. As I approached the altar and kneeled I made sure I didn’t stumble or fall off the kneeler as I stayed perfectly still. The priest made his way down the altar like an assembly line worker. I could hear him saying over and over again, “The body of Christ,” as if he were asking us a question not making a statement.
About two kids away, I thought about the body and blood of Christ and a moment of terror filled my mind. I forgot all about the “Blood” part. The bible story about Jesus changing water into wine popped into my head and I wondered if the practice water based host I had earlier would taste the same as the blood version. I was about to find out.
My turn was here. The priest approached me, whispered, “The body of Christ” and I correctly answered “Amen,” opened my mouth, stuck out my tongue and received the host. I got up, returned to my pew, kneeled and said said my communion prayer.
I was now a full fledged Catholic. A member of the gang. I was wondering if I got to vote now on church hymns and Gospel passages. (I wasn’t) Instead, I was treated to a first communion breakfast and afterward, I had a small family party, sort of like my birthday.
The next week, when communion time came, I strolled up with the rest of the adults, kneeled down and waited for the priest to come my way. Being the old pro I performed the ritual without a glitch. However, I was stuck at the kneeler. My right knee had slipped between the dividers and I was stuck. Damn! (Three Hail Mary’s and three Our Fathers)
Using the railing I pushed with all my might and in doing so lost my balance and although I didn’t hit the ground I looked like I was drunk doing the humpty dance trying to regain my balance. I got several snickers from the congregation and a death stare from my mother. Several nuns on the side also gave me the evil eye. Even out of school I was getting in trouble with the god damn nuns. (Five Hail Marys)
Next Sunday would be better. I swear!
LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL