Today I attended Rosy's first communion. She attends a Catholic church that is totally Spanish speaking. I assumed it would be that way, so I was prepared to stand when others stood, etc. When I arrived, the parishioners from the previous service were exiting the building. Many of the children were dressed in fine white clothes. I waited until the sanctuary was nearly empty and then I went in and found a seat near the front, along the center aisle. I hadn't made plans to meet Rosy's family, though they knew I was going to attend.
About two minutes after I sat down, I realized I hadn't brought my camera. Stupid! How could I forget to bring it for such an important occasion? It was too late to go home to get it, so I tried my best to memorize everything I saw. First of all, the Hispanic people are beautiful people. They have raven black hair. The children look like models. Secondly, the adults are friendly - offering smile after smile. It was very interesting watching everyone come in - not understanding one single word being spoken near me. Talk about a great place to watch people. I thought about my cousin, Pat.
The mass started at 1 pm with a lay person giving what seemed to be a short speech. This was followed by an amazing choir - a female director with a gorgeous voice, who also played the guitar (it may have been a twelve string - but I'm not sure if that's what it is called), and two other adult guitarists - one a brother, complete with the brown robe and rope belt. [I apologize to the Roman Catholics who may be reading this, because I do not know the correct terminology.] There were about 10 young singers, perhaps elementary and junior high age. One played the tambourine, another the castanets. I loved their songs and spirit. I thought of my choir mates and knew how much they would have enjoyed this music.
Next was the parade of children who would be receiving their first communion, led by altar boys and girls. I can't describe how lovely the girls looked and how handsome the boys looked. The girls were all in white, wearing white veils, and carrying white candles. Most of the boys were in white suits, and had a ribbon around their left upper arm from which hung a photo of Jesus (I think it was Jesus). I tried to see Rosy, but I missed her because she looked so different. For one thing, she wasn't wearing her glasses.
After a couple of songs, the priest spoke while holding a waste paper basket. Twice he took an empty, plastic water bottle and a Pepsi can out of the basket and put it back in. Once he removed a cardboard carton and then returned it. I don't know if this was part of the homily, or if was a announcement about recycling, but I did notice everyone was listening intently. Eventually the communion portion of the service began. Each young candidate (probably not the correct term) came up to partake. When Rosy's name was announced, I couldn't help but cry. She stood, walked to the front with perfect poise, partook, and returned to her seat. What happened to my eight year old little girl? She looked so grown up.
After the children had their first communion, the congregation participated in communion. I would estimate there were three hundred, or more, people in attendance. I watched for Rosy's parents or grandparents to pass by the pew in which I was sitting, but I never saw them. At the conclusion of communion, the priest called each child to the front. He placed around their necks a ribbon that had a photo of Mary on it and then gave them a certificate. The children went to the altar and stood in formation for a group photo. The audience applauded. It was then that Rosy noticed me and smiled. She was just lovely!
The children followed the priest to the back of the church where each one had their photo taken with the him, next to a statue of Mary. I asked the young boy seated next to me if we were free to exit and he told me yes. He and his family were so nice.
I walked to the back where I saw Rosy's father - with his video camera. I think he had filmed the entire mass. Rosy came out of the little room following her photo with the priest and I got to see her close up. Her dress had been ordered from Mexico and it was just beautiful. Her hair had been parted into little rows (similar to corn rows, but not braided), and small, tiny white round barrettes held it in place. It was pulled back and held by a full veil. She had on pearl dangle earrings and matching bracelet, and white strap shoes. She was stunning - a vision. Drat! How could I have forgotten my camera??? Her mother asked if we could step outside so she could take a picture of Rosy and me. She told Rosy to tell me she would get me a print. Next I was invited to their home for a reception, but I had to decline so I could go home to pack my bags.
It is a blessing for me to know Rosy and to be a part of her life - an unexpected blessing.