On the 8th of November we were invited to attend a First Communion of our friends, Flavio & Hilda's daughter (pictured above). This begins with mass at a parish followed by a celebration with family and friends. We decided to attend the mass, as another learning experience, rather than just attend the party, which many did. We were fortunate enough to sit by my friend Diana from the gym, who was willing to explain if we had questions.
Diana, (my friend's mother) Diana and Diane!!
For those of you who have never attended such a function, let me give you an explanation. Here is a brief explanation "Wise Geek":
"First Communion is considered one of the holiest and most important occasions in a Roman Catholic person's life. It is the first time that a person receives the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which is the eating of consecrated bread and drinking of consecrated wine. Catholics believe these to be the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Most Catholic children receive their First Communion when they're 7 or 8 years old, because this is considered the age of reason. Other people can receive communion for the first time whenever they've met all of the Catholic Church's requirements."
You can go to the 'Wise Geek' link for more information. For us it was a learning experience and we were glad for Diana's help. One of the things that I think the Catholic Church does well is educate or train their children in their faith and from a very young age. However, they struggle with similar challenges that we do as Evangelicals. It needs work on an individual level so that it doesn't stay as head knowledge, or ritual, but becomes a personal, applied, and lived out faith. We hope to model that kind of relationship with Jesus and relationship between our faith and our daily lives.
Following the mass there was a short break before the party so we "Diane's"and Ernie went for coffee and discussed faith and literature. From there we headed to the party and the gang showed up to celebrate (that is another thing the gym gang does - support each other)
Left to right: Carmelita & Lalo, Ernie, Flavio & Hilda (child's parents), Karina, Claudia & Juan,
Alejandro & I (front row)
So, together we enjoyed a good meal and much laughter. Our friends from the gym are fast becoming some of the most important people in our lives. We enjoy our times with them, they continue to invite us so we continue to go. We respect their faith, although different from ours, and they know that we are Evangelicals. Through respect and dialogue we believe both sides can learn from each other.