First communicants and new Catholics celebrated again at diocesan Mass

In prayer after receiving Communion at last Sunday's Mass for First Communicants and New Catholics from throughout the Diocese of Peoria at St. Mary's Cathedral are, from left, Adalynne Lawerence, Olyvia Clark, and Lilian Goz. The three friends are all members of St. Paul Parish in Macomb. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

First commmunicants young and older were urged to cherish the memory of that special day and continue to grow in wonder and reverence for the sacrament during a diocesan Mass for First Communicants and New Catholics on June 2 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria.

“Realize what a wonderful thing it is,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, said of how God feeds us with his Real Presence in the Eucharist.

Joining in the opening hymn is 2019 First Communicant Dominic Militello and his mother, Megan, of St. Mary Parish in Canton. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

The assembly was dotted with young girls who again donned their white dresses and young boys in jackets and ties. While those 2019 first communicants were obvious, less so were the adults from around the diocese who were received into the church at the Easter Vigil and also received Christ’s Body and Blood for the first time.

“God bless all the first communicants in this cathedral,” said Bishop Jenky. “God bless all of us who maybe made our first Communion years ago.”

Noting that last Sunday’s Mass celebrated the Ascension of the Lord, Bishop Jenky said that Jesus “has not left us” and that because of the sacraments “even here on earth we are in communion with our Risen Lord.”

Perhaps especially addressing parents of the young first communicants, Bishop Jenky emphasized the importance of Sunday Mass.

“We need Christ in the Eucharist so we can live our Christian life,” the bishop said in his homily. Just as one becomes ill if they stop eating regular food, “if we stop sharing the Body and Blood Christ our souls wither up and we don’t have the power and grace of our Lord to guide us into heaven.”

He said the Mass should impact everything we do outside of church “so that we are givers and servants — people who share generously, that we reach out to people when they’re in trouble, that we comfort people in need of our love, that we’re ready to be merciful even to those who offend us because God is so loving and merciful and good to each one of us.”

All first communicants present received commemorative medals and holy cards were distributed to new Catholics.

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