Article: Welcome to the Grace of the Eucharist

Newry Cathedral News

During this time of year, many children in the Diocese are celebrating their First Holy Communion. Recently, we had the privilege of being part of a very beautiful ceremony for our granddaughter. The ceremony was the culmination of months of preparation by the school staff, and it was evident that the whole parish community was excited for the children receiving their First Holy Communion. No detail was missed in ensuring the pupils were aware of the significance of the day.

As part of the Homily, the celebrant praised the parents and school for the reverence shown by the communicants, and he shared a story called “Little Flo” that reminds us of the importance of the stages of growth and development. In fact, he said it was a story that his mother used to tell him and it hails from a magazine article written in America 1890 in ‘The Banner Weekly’ by Eben E Rexford.

Little Flo
A sweet little baby brother had come to live with Flo,
And she wanted it brought to the table that it might eat and grow;
‘It must wait for a while’ said Grandmama, in answer to her plea,
‘For a little thing that hasn’t teeth and can’t eat like you and me’.

‘Why hasn’t it teeth, dear gran’ma?’ asked Flo in great surprisel
‘Oh my! But isn’t it funny? No teeth! But nose and eyes;
I guess the baby’s toofies must have been forgot.
Can’t we buy him some like grandpa’s? I’d like to know why not.’

That afternoon, to the corner, with papers, pen and ink,
Went Flo, saying ‘Don’t you talk – if you do you’ll disturb my think.
I’m writing a letter gran’ma, to send to heaven tonight.
And ’cause its very important, I want to get it right.’

At last the letter was finished – a wonderful letter to see –
Directed up to heaven, and then Flo read it to me;
‘Dear God, the baby you brought us was awfully nice and sweet,
But because you forgot his toofies, the poor little thing can’t eat.’

‘So that’s why I’m writing this letter, on purpose to let you know
Please come and finish the baby – that’s all, from little Flo.’

The poem is a perfect one for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion as children need to develop and grow before receiving this Sacrament which is usually at least 7/8 years after their Baptism. It could well have been inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:11, ‘When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways’.

Along with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Confirmation, First Holy Communion fully recognises the spiritual growth and development in faith formation. The Sacrament of First Holy Communion is an important milestone in a child’s spiritual journey, it is a joyous occasion for the whole church community, and a special day that children will remember for the rest of their lives. Amidst the distraction of the dresses and dickie bows, it is important to appreciate the nurturing and guidance provided by adults. It is essential in helping children understand the importance of this Sacrament. As we celebrate this special day, let us remember the lesson we take from “Little Flo” and continue to increase and deepen the spiritual growth of our children.

Congratulations to all the children receiving their First Holy Communion, every blessing on receiving the grace of the Eucharist. A huge thankyou to the school staff, parents, and clergy for their dedication and hard work in preparing for this important day. If you are a teacher, parent, grandparent, please share the message behind Little Flo’s Letter.