Today Clare made her first Holy Communion.
We have been working up to this for the last few months. I have been part of the parish team who taught all the children wishing to have their first Confession and Communion. Clare has joined me in all the lessons, which was some special "time with Dad" time.
The parish has a great programme whereby the children attend the classes with at least one of their parents. We know that it is really important for the parents to learn what we are teaching as much as we want the children to learn as well. After all, we only are able to share the faith with them for the 6 lessons, their responsibility is to pass on the faith full time.
The trick is to pass on the fundamentals of the Faith in a manner which the children can understand but also opens up the Faith to the adults.
For example, Clare asked me, "Why is Jesus fully God and fully man?" Good question. We then went through salvation history where God made a deal (covenant) with Man from Adam (a couple), Noah (a family), Abraham (a tribe), Moses (a people) and David (a Kingdom) and each time the human side of the deal was broken. But God still had to make a binding deal with Man so we could get back with him after the Failure of the first Man, Adam.
So Jesus became fully Man, while still being fully God. Therefore he was able to uphold both ends of the agreement and we were able to get past the impasse of fallen Man.
That made sense and Clare was OK.
It was fun teaching the children. My method of teaching is very much question and answer format, getting the children to think about what we are discussing. And I am the type of teacher that catches napping students by asking them for an answer using their name.
One question I asked the children was '"How do you know you have a soul?"
No one knew how to answer. So we went through our material senses - sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.
"Can you use these senses with anything at all?" I asked.
"Sure!" was the reply.
"Ok. Where are you?" I asked.
They all pointed.
"No, that's your nose. No that's your cheek. No that's your belly button."
The children looked perplexed. Where were they?
"If you chopped off your leg, where are you then? In fact, your whole body you call YOUR body. So YOU must be somewhere that you can't get at with your material senses, but obviously you are here because we are talking to each other. So you must be more than just the material bit. You are body AND soul."
So after all this Clare had her special day. She wore a very fancy white dress (as you can see) and sat in a special seat right at the front of the pews during the Mass. Rose had a special red dress so she could enjoy the day too. Clare has been so excited she would inform us each day for the last two weeks how many days were left until her First Communion.