The First Holy Communion event commenced on June 24, 2021 with the Initiation/Acceptance of the 33 children from the parish. Following the syllabus prescribed in the book “Living in Faith Catechism”, classes were held at the Holy Spirit School on Saturday evenings. A total of 16 classes were held in preparation for this important Sacrament, which were well attended by all the children.
At the end of these weekly classes, a one-day Retreat for the First Holy Communicants and their parents was held on November 14, 2021 at the Holy Spirit Old Age Home Hall. Fr. Prashant D’Souza, SJ, Director of Prerana, gave an in-depth talk on Reconciliation. The communicants then made their First Confession in the presence of Fr. Prakash, Fr. Kanikiaraj and Fr. Archibald.
After a break with a catered lunch for all attendees, Ms. Maria Michelle, a powerful charismatic prayer group leader, explained the importance of the Holy Eucharist, making it lively and understandable. Then Bro. Sumant, SJ, gave an explanation about the different colour vestments used by priests at Holy Mass on different occasions. The communicants were asked to research these miracles – The Priest of Melchizedek, The Walk to Emmaus, and the Miracle of Chirattakonam, Miracle of Lanciano, The Corporal of Bolsena, and The Hosts of Siena and perform skits. These skits were acted out in the presence of parents and all present at the Retreat.
A Sunday Mass for all attendees at the Holy Spirit Old Age Chapel was celebrated by Father Prakash Dsouza, SJ, our Assistant Parish Priest. Fr. Prakash gave a very captivating homily for the children. A healing prayer session followed, conducted by Maria and Jacqueline, with hymns invoking the power of the Holy Spirit. The prayer was so powerful that both children and their parents became very emotional; and with tears in their eyes, they hugged each other.
The culmination of the program was on Sunday, November 21, the Feast of Christ the King, with a solemn High Mass at our parish Church, celebrated by Fr. Dion Vaz, SJ, Provincial of the Karnataka Jesuits with seven concelebrants: Fr. Balaraju, Fr. Tomy, Fr. Charles, Fr. Prasanth, Fr. Prakash, Fr. Kanikraj, and Fr. John Pradeep. Fr. Dion, in his homily, explained to the communicants the importance of the Holy Communion and asked them to receive holy communion regularly and to pray in the silence of their hearts to Jesus. The Choir conducted by Maria Michelle with the parish children held the Congregation in awe, with their singing. The ceremony concluded with cutting of the cake by the communicants and Fr. Dion Vas, in the parish hall.
Thanks to Fr. Balaraju, our parish priest for his support and guidance in making this Sacrament a memorable one for our First Holy Communicants. Thanks to Ms. Manisha for being the MC, and for assisting in all the activities conducted for the children. Thanks to Sr. Mary Celine for taking the classes regularly and being a guide to the children.
May the blessings of Almighty God be upon all of us always.
Submitted by Amy Saldanha - Parish Coordinator for Catechism at IHMC Parish
04 December 2021