I really enjoy how our church progressively decorates for Christmas. The first week the Advent wreath gets put up, the the second week there are wreaths and roping, by the third week (pictured) the wreaths are decorated. On the fourth Sunday, there will be an enormous Christmas tree in the atrium with angel ornaments all over. The children are invited each year to bring an angel to hang on the tree. Then come Christmas, the alter will be flooded with poinsettias and the creche will be set up in front of the side alter. The progression builds the anticipation and coming joy of the season.
My older children, especially Buddy, have a very strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. I find it a little funny because it is something they came to on their own, but Our Lady is so very special to them and then revere her always but especially in this apparition to St Juan Diego. In fact, Cowgirl had an embroidered picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe on her First Commuion dress, it was one of the few requirements she had for the perfect dress.
Anyway, Buddy was so happy that he received his First Reconciliation of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. When we got to church and I reminded him of the feast, his eys just lit up. It was a very special gift for him. He was so proud to have his picture taken with this beautiful statue. I only wish I had remembered to take flowers to leave for Our Lady.
Since my children are so devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe, we usually have a special day in her honor complete with a Mexican feast and Mexican hot chocolate. I wasn't sure how to make that happen with Buddy's confession in the middle of the day and all the work we had to accomplish on the lake house for the new tenant to move in next week. My husband had the perfect idea, lunch at our favorite, little luncheonette, which happens to be owned by a Mexican cook so they have the best Mexican delicacies north of the border. Much better than I could make at home.
Buddy ordered his favorite, tamales, which he seems to think were probably Juan Diego's favorite, too. Yeah, good food and no cooking nor cleaning up--that, my friends, is no laughing matter! :)
I so appreciate the time and effort that our catechists and priests put into making all of the sacraments so special, but also so holy. We had a beautiful service, after which the children we directed one by one to a priest for confession. The organ and cantor filled with church with such beautiful music the entire time. While each child waited their turn, a catechist sat with him to talk to him about how wonderful it is to receive confession and how that should never be afraid to come close to Jesus in the confessional. Once one child went in, the catechist gently guided another child over and repeated the process. Each catechist repeated this ritual at least 15 times. Always gentle, always smiling.
Once the children were done, and we received a final blessing, they were escorted out to the atrium for cookies and juice, while the adults and older children of the families had the opportunity to receive confession as well. It was all a very moving and touching experience.
I cannot believe that my little Buddy is already old enough to receive First Communion. Where have the years gone? I shed more than a few tears over that the week leading up the 13th. Buddy was baptized on the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. He received penance on the feast of his beloved Lady. I decided to look ahead and see if there were any special feasts on his First Communion day. Sure enough, it is the feast of the patron of the church where Hubby received all his sacraments, I was confirmed, we were married, and Cowgirl was baptized. I think that God has very big plans for Buddy, and I can't wait to find out what they are--even though I would love to keep him little for a few decades more.
Linking up with Auntie Leila.