At one time, having Dominic make his First Holy Communion was something that I could only dream about. On May the third, it became a reality.
Every few months, since Dominic was three, the hubby would ask me, "so, when are we going to sign Dominic up for religious education classes?" I kept putting it off, because at the back of my mind, I knew that a class geared towards children with special needs would be a better "fit' for Dominic. I was able to put the hubby off until about the middle of 2012. After talking with the director of religious education at our church, we registered Dominic for a class, so he could begin the process of making his First Holy Communion. As the day of the first class loomed closer, my anxiety was off the charts. I knew in my heart of hearts that Dominic really need to get started with classes, but I also knew that a class with more than five kids would be overwhelming for him. About a week before that class was to start, I received an e-mail about a special needs religious education class starting up in a neighboring parish. The Saturday before the class at our church was supposed to start, I got an e-mail from the amazing woman that would be Dominic's teacher. She told me the class would only have five kids and it would be two years of preparation and then they would make their First Holy Communion. His first class was at the very end of September where all the children and parents got to know each other. A lot of preparation went into getting all the children ready for their First Holy Communion. Just putting together a nice outfit for Dominic to wear was a challenge in itself :) My husband and another dad each did a reading and the mom to two little girls in the class did the prayer petitions. I loved that each family could contribute special prayers. Dominic and his classmates brought the gifts up to the altar. He was responsible for handing a special cloth to Father L. Since we hadn't practiced that with Dominic, he tossed it to Father L. and said, "here you go!" Father L. caught the cloth, said, "oh, thank you" and continued on without missing a beat! Dominic was the first of his classmates to receive Communion and we went up with him. We were so proud of him, he knew exactly what to do:
After he was done, each child went up individually with their family members surrounding them. It was an incredibly moving experience. I'm sure Lauren and I weren't the only ones holding back tears. Here is the hubby congratulating Dominic on a job well done!
Later, we had some delicious cupcakes that his teacher had made - they were really yummy!
So much credit goes to his teacher and her assistants. Mrs. W. is so loving, patient and kind. She truly has a "gift" for teaching!
I recently joined a group called, "Our Lady of Grace Special Families Ministry." Many parents (including me) feel that it can be very overwhelming to take a child or adult with special challenges to a place of worship. A major thing on the agenda is having a once-a-month Mass for children and adults with special needs. I feel that it can be done - I have faith!