Olivia’s First Holy Communion

On Saturday morning, Olivia received her First Holy Communion along with 53 other girls and boys in our community. She wore a white cotton dress made of fabric handcrafted in Cobán, Guatemala, and a veil her godmother, my sister, Patrice, bought for her in San Francisco. 

For the past two years, Olivia has attended after-school religious education classes to prepare for the big day. Several of her classmates also attend religious ed, so Olivia never complained about going (which happens with other after-school activities). Besides, her teachers—volunteers from our church congregation—make the lessons meaningful and fun. In addition to teaching biblical history, Olivia’s teachers reinforce the message of “love one another.” In my opinion, that particular message can never be taught too many times. 

The same evening, we attended the Bat Mitzvah of the daughter of good friends. Maybe because the two events were so closely juxtaposed, I was struck by their similarities. An atmosphere of closeness and good-will pervaded the congregation in each setting. Throughout each service, I felt a profound sense of connectedness, to my family and the people around me, to the world and to the universe. 

As an adoptive mother, I am aware of how Olivia and Mateo—and many children who have joined their families through adoption—have lost their sense of connectedness: to their birth mothers and fathers, their foster parents, their country, and their heritage. That’s why my husband and I do everything possible to keep those ties alive. Religion is one way we cultivate a feeling of connectedness for our children. Through their experience of religion, Olivia and Mateo belong to a family larger than only ours. They are connected to the community, the world, and to the universe.

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9 Responses to “Olivia’s First Holy Communion”

  1. Tia Cookie says:

    Absolutely lovely. You must be very proud of Olivia.

  2. Jessica says:

    We are indeed. Thank you for the comment, Tia Cookie.

  3. christine says:

    I love the picture of adoption. The Bible also uses it as a representation of our relationship with God for both today and our future completion of the restoration with Him. A first communion, like a baptism is a great reminder of that.

    Congratulations and blessings to Olivia.

  4. Jessica says:

    Christine: Thanks for the good wishes to Olivia and for the reminder of the multiple layers of meaning of adoption. Her communion was a very special day.

  5. Synthia Malina says:

    Powerful blog Jess. Congratulations to Olivia and all of you. Syn

  6. Jessica says:

    Thank you, Syn. Was reminded of your beautiful wedding ceremony during the evening events.

  7. Mary Beth Cullen says:

    Olivio: We have not met yet …… someday we will. I look forward to that day when I meet you, your brother and your dad. Congratulations on this very special day. Your mother and I were very very close friends when we both were your age.

    I know that your parents, your grandparents and loved ones must be very proud of you.

    Mary Beth Cullen

  8. Jessica says:

    Dear MBC: I look forward to the day when you can meet my family. We do go way, way back, don’t we? You were as young as Olivia.
    We’re all proud of our daughter. Thanks for the lovely thoughts.

  9. Lola says:

    Touchdown! That’s a really cool way of pttuign it!

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