At this time of year thousands of Catholic children make their First Holy Communion all over the world. While religion has taken a back seat in many Irish families, the Communion stills seems to be a big day as it is the first real big landmark occasion from which our lives are measured. As a sacrament it probably has little value to many children and parents any more - but it still a great celebration of growing up. In my day (1966), it was a mark of reaching the "age of reason". I don't think any of us in Second Class in Carnew National School (Co Wicklow) really knew what that meant. I recall our teacher practicing with cream crackers on our tongues (no putting out your hands for communion in those days) in class while she prepared us for the big day.
I don't remember anything about the day - the photo above was taken after the ceremony on the steps of St Brigid's Catholic Church in Carnew. You can't tell from this photo, but I was wearing short trousers - it was my first ever suit which got outings to Mass every Sunday until it fitted me no more. I was only seven years old. It was part of growing up at that time that you did this - I don't remember anyone in our school not making their First Holy Communion as a choice. Religion dominated our lives without us realizing it.
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