First Communion at Our Lady of Perpetual Help

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate…” Luke 13:24

Most splendid it is indeed, to celebrate the First Communion Mass, yet, even more splendor the celebration is when it brings about a twofold Blessing. So it was for us today, June 30th, 2013, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in Orangevale, Ca. TheParishioners welcomed our beloved Bishop, His Excellency, Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo, who celebrated the First Communion Mass, which began with the procession of six First Communicants, and the thirteen prospective Lectors.

Our beloved Bishop began the celebration, first, with preparing the seven male Lectors, through a beautiful Blessing ceremony. During which, the sentiments he articulated were so infused with the love of Christ, corresponded to the inexpressible feelings each of them must have felt. Reflecting on the gravity of their new role, H.E. was explicit and direct, in conveying the direction they must follow henceforth. As the ceremony continued, H.E. began to give the Blessings to the four female Lectors, also bringing to their attention, the magnitude of their new role, and the blessings they can yield being committed to serve during Mass. In his address to the new Readers, following the ceremony, H.E. emphasized on the responsibilities they have chosen to assume, which is anew aspect of their life of Laity- one step higher. Where hereafter, the obligation they are to uphold, must take them forward, not backwards.

IMG 3900Our beloved Bishop, reflecting on anew beauty we had before us, the First Communicants, who assisted the Lectors and the Deacons during Mass. In his address to each and every one, our beloved Spiritual Father expressed his joy in seeing them taking the first step of the narrow road towards the Altar. Bringing to their attention, the similarity between the Holy Thursday, and today, regarding the Sacrament they were about to partake- The Precious Body and Blood of our Lord.  Expanding further, our Bishop compared the new Communicants to the flowers of the field, inspiring the parents to continue in nurturing their children’s spiritual needs, and bringing them to Mass regularly. For Sunday Mass remains to be the most significant source of nourishment, and essential for their growth in Faith, missing it would cause them to grow empty, and fall behind- move backwards. Our beloved Bishop engaged the Communicants in an overview of the Seven Sacraments of our Holy Mother Church, and motivating them to pursue the next steps towards a life of Faith, in serving the Church as Laity or even Ordained Clergy.

During his sermon, our beloved Bishop emphasized on the higher places we must labor towards, “they are not in this world”, he said, “but in Heaven”. Continuing his commentary on the true meaning of the Kingdom of Heaven, H.E. pointed out the true beauty in serving before the Altar, whether it is as Choir or as Readers. Also, expanding on the value of corporal works of mercy, by which we may attain great blessings. As our Spiritual father, H.E. called us to assess ourselves, so that we may know that we are on the right track, moving forward, in serenity, towards holiness. A great momentum we must sustain, so that we can say “here I am Lord!”

Today’s celebration was concluded with luncheon prepared by the parishioners at the Parish Hall. Our best wishes go to the new Readers, the Communicants, and their families. God bless you all.