Thursday, May 16, 2019

Note:  The bulk of this note was originally published 2 weeks ago when St. Mary’s celebrated the First Holy Communion of some of our second graders.  Today we celebrate with the rest of the class.

The words to today’s offertory song are both simple; “there is a place for the sadness,” and profound; “when prejudice poses as freedom.”  Each phrase ends with the song’s title “Hold On To Love.”   Here are a few verses that did not make the song:

When cars cut me off on the turnpike…….hold on to love.
When frustration makes me want to give up…….hold on…..
When rushing the family to be on time.hold on…….

Blessed to be at St. Mary’s


My First Holy Communion

A few weeks ago, I attended a mass at the Parish where grew up and spent eight years of grammar school. To say that memories came flooding in would be an understatement.

My trip down memory lane and preparations for this weekend's First Holy Communion celebrations at St. Mary's are the impetus for this article.

I received my First Holy Communion on October 25, 1969. This is easy to remember as my mom was in the hospital having my brother.

Most of my other memories are based on a picture.

I am sitting at a table at Famous Cafeteria with a big smile and an equally big piece of strawberry shortcake. Famous Cafeteria was one of the last of the automats. For those under 50, an automat is like a giant vending machine. The walls are made of individual glass compartments with food on a plate. When you put your money in the machine the door opens allowing you to take the food.  (See the pic above).

I do remember my third grade teacher; Mrs. Giacchi. Mrs. Giacchi was taken from her husband, children and us much too soon. My classmates and I share fond memories of her.

There’s not a lot more I remember about my communion. I had to use Google to figure out when St. Mary's (of Bensonhurst) burned down. With this information I was able to conjure a distant memory of walking down an aisle between sections of metal chairs in the school auditorium. A friend tells me the priest was "the tall guy who spoke quickly". I have no idea who he might have been.

Despite my fuzzy memory, October 25th, 1969 was an Important day in my life. It was the day I first received Jesus in the Eucharist.

It was an important step along a life's journey where Jesus continues to be with me. He's with me In my successes and failures. He's with me In my shining and my shameful moments.

Today as I receive Jesus I rejoice because being in communion with Jesus means I am in communion with the three other people in the picture that day; my dad, my Grandma Christine and my Grandpa Charlie.

I can think of few things greater than that.

Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary's,


Congratulations to our first communicants! Now you can join our children's choir!

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