Posts Tagged ‘First Holy Communion’

Mateo’s First Holy Communion

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

This past weekend, following a year of preparation and study at religious education classes taught by a dedicated cohort of volunteer catechists after the regular Sunday Mass at our parish, Mateo received his First Holy Communion. My husband Tim and I, Mateo’s godparents Deanna and David, and the rest of our extended family are so proud of Mateo! We’re proud of Olivia, too, for assisting the priest during the ceremony as one of the Mass’s three altar servers. In my day, girls weren’t permitted to serve at the altar (hence the phrase “altar boy”), so as a Catholic female I’m especially thrilled to witness Olivia’s participation.

(I’m just hoping I live long enough to see the day when women can be ordained as Catholic priests, but that’s another subject.)

Last month, I wrote a blog post about our search for Mateo’s Communion suit, which we purchased in Antigua, Guatemala. Of course I’m biased, but I think my son cuts a dashing and handsome figure in his new threads.

We’re very grateful to our parish priests, to the head of our church’s religious education program, and to all the volunteers who helped shepherd Mateo in his journey to receive this beautiful and ancient sacrament.

Congratulations, Mateo!



Mateo’s new suit

Friday, March 1st, 2013

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve probably figured out that I’m Catholic, and my husband and I are raising our kids Catholic. What does that mean, exactly? A lot of things, which I won’t go into here because I believe every religion is valid and to be respected, as is the choice of no religion at all, by the way, and I’m not telling this story as a platform to discuss my faith.

No, my reason for bringing up Catholicism is to share the experience of buying for my son Mateo his very own First Holy Communion suit, from the charming purveyor of First Holy Communion suits in the photo above, who practices his fashion genius somewhere in the depths of the municipal mercado in Antigua, Guatemala.

In February 2012, Mateo and I had bought a suit from the same distinguished gent, intending to save it for the Sacrament this April. What we hadn’t counted on was Mateo’s growth spurt, which  steered the original suit pants and jacket dangerously toward clown costume territory.

But try finding the same tailor in the maze of the mercado! My remembered directions sounded like this: “Walk down the right side aisle, through the section with the pirated DVDs, past the candles and flowers and soccer balls, turn left at the section with the raw meat hanging, through the wrapping paper and baskets and candy, past the shoes and wallets and leather belts, beyond the place with the sacks of rice and beans and the guy who sells machetes. Somewhere around that.”

Fortunately, the lady in the First Communion dress section knew exactly where the tailor who sold First Communion suits was headquartered, and she kindly escorted us to the proper stall. Success!

Not shown here are the suit’s handsome complementary items: the white ruffled shirt, the black bow tie. For that, we’ll have to wait for Mateo’s First Holy Communion “big reveal.”

Stay tuned. ~


Talking About Adoption

Friday, May 14th, 2010

As an adoptive parent, I’ve heard a statistic that for every one time my child mentions the subject of adoption, he or she is thinking about it ten times more. I view “adoption talk” as an iceberg: a huge mass under water that is unseen; the actual discussion is merely the tip. 

My children seem to think about adoption in waves. Days will go by with no questions or comments, and then suddenly, adoption will be all they want to discuss. That’s been the case this week. On Monday, Olivia announced: “I need extra copies of my First Holy Communion photos so I can give them to people in Guatemala.” I assured her that would not be a problem. On Wednesday, Mateo said, “When I lived with my old mother, I had a hamster.” He usually calls his birth mother by name, so I was surprised to hear him say “old mother.” Finally, last night as she was brushing her teeth, Olivia said, “I’m really supposed to speak Spanish. Everyone who lives in Guatemala speaks Spanish and that’s where I’m from.”  (more…)


Olivia’s First Holy Communion

Monday, May 10th, 2010

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.  (more…)


The Fabric of Guatemala

Friday, April 30th, 2010

During my visit to Guatemala last February with Olivia, I bought five yards of white cotton fabric at a shop in Antigua. The fabric was hand-made in Cobán, a municipality located in the central part of the country that is best-known for the spectacular waterfalls at Semuc Champey. In addition to its natural beauty, Cobán is a center for weavers who make a certain, delicate cotton fabric unlike any other made in Guatemala. I learned this through my friend, Gretchen, another adoptive mom who was in Guatemala and who led me to the shop. 

As I write this, the white cotton fabric is being made into a dress for Olivia to wear next weekend at her First Holy Communion. This afternoon, we’ll go to her final fitting. When Olivia was baptized, I wore a multi-colored, hand-woven shawl from the region where she was born. For her First Communion, Olivia also wanted to wear something to reflect her Guatemalan heritage. When my friend Gretchen mentioned the Cobán fabric, we knew it would be perfect.  (more…)