Saturday, January 16, 2010

Aunt Judy's First Communion

Here are the three pictures I have of this particular life milestone. As I recall, the new policies of Vatican II resulted in not one but TWO first communions. Each child had her or his FIRST first communion along side her or his parents and family during a regular Sunday Mass. The formal procession with the little white dresses followed the next Sunday.
The little crown was made of a kind of hard plastic bristly pipe-cleanery stuff, and was stuck onto my head with a couple of little triangular pointy bits that pointed down. I liked that, and the veil. The dress, I was kinda lukewarm on. You can see the more crinolined poofy ones the other girls are wearing. On the other hand, I later learned how incredibly scratchy crinolines were, so I suspect I was more comfortable than some of the poofy-dress girls were. I remember the socks kept falling down. And it was definitely chilly, even though it was a bright spring day!

PRESENTS! I remember being given two gifts, or maybe three: one, a little white prayer book with a deluxe white hardshell plastic cover featuring a picture of the Virgin Mary, and my own rosary made of lovely sparkly glass beads on little silvery chain links in a white vinyl case...that sounds like something that would have come from Grandpa and Grandma...and I think I also remember getting little pink rosary made of plastic beads pressed onto cotton string. The pink beads thing sounds like the kind of thing maybe the parish gave to each kid, and maybe the boys got blue ones? Not sure. Anyhow, I liked the sparkly beads MUCH better.

There were two controversies involved in this event:
1. a minor administrative foofarall over whether the little girls and boys were permitted to carry their prayerbooks and rosaries in the procession (which, as you can see, we ultimately did not)
2. a major blowup over whether I was to be permitted to make my first communion at ALL. There was a mandatory number of attendances at mass required in the weeks prior to first communion, and in a family with, at that point, four kids including an infant, apparently circumstances of one kind or another (not sure whether someone was sick, or things just got overwhelmed), I was found to be Under Quota and thus Not Qualified For The Party.
This was the subject of one of several big dustups that I recall Dad describing he had with Father Warren, the pastor of St Francis Xavier church -- not sure if the first, but definitely not the last. (Other scuffles included a scolding concerning insufficient financial tithing -- another non-of-your-business subject (a) generally and (b) for a family with four kids.) Apparently the Bradt Family won this round. Not sure what role, if any, Mom had in the outcome. I remember that Dad did not have terribly complimentary things to say about Father Warren. "No love lost" would be an understatement.

A good time was had by all.

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