St. Joan of Arc celebrates First Communion
LAPLACE – In June, outgoing pastor Father Patrick Collum gave nine young St. Joan of Arc parishioners their First Communion.
This sacrament is undertaken after at least two years of preparation in religious studies of the traditions of the Catholic Church. It is the first time young Catholics are allowed to partake of the Eucharist during Mass, as the grown-ups do. The sacrament is meant to bring children closer to God, in ‘communion’ with Him.
Many traditions surround First Communion, and vary widely throughout the world, but they usually include gatherings of family and friends to celebrate the event. Dressy clothing is usually worn. Clothing is often white to symbolize purity. Girls often wear fancy dresses, sometimes with a veil as well as white gloves. Girls dresses have been passed down to them from sisters or other female relatives.
Boys often wear suits, but in Scotland, boys traditionally wear a kilt for the ceremony. In many Latin America countries, boys wear a kind of military-style dress uniforms with fancy gold braid augelltes. In Switzerland, both boys and girls wear plain white robes with brown wooden crosses around their necks.
Unlike Baptism at birth, First Communion is meant to be one of many steps young Catholics take of their own choosing, and is the first of many such milestones in their spiritual growth.
Fr. Collum will next begin serving the Holy Spirit Church in Algiers starting July 1, when St. Joan of Arc will be welcoming their new pastor, Fr. David Ducote.
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