Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend is one of my favorites throughout the whole year. It’ll be a busy one for sure, but I welcome that for what it is that I get to do here in the parish. Throughout the school year, our second graders have been preparing for a special moment in the lives and it arrives this weekend. I am, of course, referring to their First Holy Communion.

This year has a statistical anomaly within it. We have over 100 children receiving in 2024, which is quite a bit more than our usual 75-85. We’re dealing with what is sometimes referred as Super Bowl Babies. In demographics, there’s usually a spike in birth rate the year a city wins the Super Bowl. With the Eagles win in 2017, here we are with our own spike in population.

Statistics aside, what makes this one of my favorite weekends throughout the year is what is happening at a liturgical and sacramental level. Every time the Mass is celebrated, the physical presence of Jesus Christ is made present in the Eucharist. Every time we receive the Eucharist, Our Blessed Lord comes into our bodies in a special and unique way. Think about how precious and intimate that is; the very author of life and the greatest being in the entire universe, makes it possible for us to have Him physically with us and in us, in the gift of the Eucharist.

As a priest, I’m already blessed and privileged to be able to celebrate the Mass and in doing so, share in the process by which the Eucharist is made possible. I hold bread and a chalice of wine in my hands and they are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ. What a wonderful and humbling experience that is! But then, then I get to share that gift with the faithful present for the Mass.

This is all magnified and highlighted in First Holy Communion celebrations. For the little ones approaching this Sacrament for the very first time, they do so with excitement and anxiousness. They are totally focused on this new experience for them, trying to remember what they were taught and not wanting to make a mistake. All that class and preparation comes to fruition as they receive Jesus in the Eucharist. And I get to share in that moment as I present the host to them and announce, “The Body of Christ!”

It’s beautiful and I hope my written words can help express the joy I feel in being able to be part of First Holy Communions. The whole day serves as an annual reminder of the awesome gift found in the Eucharist for me and how it should never be taken for granted. Please pray for our second graders that they may celebrate well their First Holy Communion this weekend and that we may all recognize the great gift found in the Eucharist in our lives.

Peace and Goodness,
Fr. Dan