Have we lost the true meaning of First Communion? When I was a kid you were forced into uncomfortable bulky pants and a velvet blazer to make you look like a miniature lounge singer, we all went to church, maybe there was a relative or two there who would give us something a few pounds and that’s it.
Maybe in good times there would be a meal in a hotel dining room, but more than likely you would just have a roast at home, made special with a vienetta or maybe romantica to celebrate the holy day. And that was as good as it got in the 1980s.
Sometime between then and now, bouncy castles were added. Perhaps it was inevitable—bouncy castles help us draw closer to God. But with them came huge gatherings, alfresco catering, bins filled with ice cream and beer, karaoke machines and late-night calls from weary Gardai begging you to keep it quiet. And if you’re not wasting your money on all of this, you’ve rented a function room in a hotel for 50-60 of your friends and family.
At least that’s what we hear – I can honestly say I don’t know anyone who has rented a bouncy castle or function space for a communion party.
Maybe I just don’t get invited to the right parties, but the vast majority of people I know do it the same way they did back in the 1980’s. Maybe some new outfits, maybe dinner and maybe a few pounds thrown into cards, but that’s it. But this year, no matter how small or humble or normal your planned event, it will most likely be scaled back, as was the case with ours.
We were lucky with our middle child’s communion date as a family baptism was scheduled for the same day. I thought that was great news as we could just combine the two. Our service was in the morning, then later in the day we could come for the baptism and banquet that followed, while discreetly telling our communicant that it was all for him. Tragically, not everyone agreed with this plan and the baptism was postponed and now it looks like we will have to bring people into our homes for the first time in two years.
When I was growing up, there were many meetings in our house; There were religious events like the stations, wakes, jubilee masses, but there were also many family celebrations, dinner parties or after-parties for dinner dances. I can remember walking around with plates of sandwiches, pots of tea, bottles of wine, or trying to play Auto-Tetris outside by parking 15 cars in a driveway designed for two.
I don’t know if it’s because of our increasingly secular society, my relative lack of funds compared to my parents, or just my social awkwardness, but we’ve had a sad lack of Hooleys for some time. A side effect of this is that the house has fallen into ruins.
We were happy to ignore all the problems as long as we just looked at them, but with an upcoming Communion that has to change. We’re all busy getting the apartment in order—dusting toilet seats, manually evacuating clogged gutters, patching holes in plaster, tightening dripping faucets, expanding foam, pressure washing walls, painting more, and the Apartment looks a little fresher, although my wife and I both broke our backs and now have to roll out of bed Gregor Samsa, post Metamorphosis style.
There will be no bouncy castle, karaoke, or outside caterers, but it will be worth it. We’ve spent enough time cocooning, avoiding, and shielding, and it will be good to don a suit and then cover it in spice after a paper plate unexpectedly gave way. It may not bring us as close to God as a bouncy castle does, but it brings us closer to friends and family, and that’s a good start.
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/maybe-i-just-dont-get-invited-to-the-right-parties-but-i-dont-know-anyone-whos-hired-a-bouncy-castle-for-their-communion-41476314.html Maybe I just don’t get invited to the right parties, but I don’t know anyone who has rented a bouncy castle for communion