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Neela Kale Answers:
Congratulations on your daughter’s upcoming first communion! Of course you want to make sure that it is special, but don’t lose sight of what is really important. First communion is not about the dress or the pictures or the party – these are merely extras. First communion is about your daughter receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. It should be the first of many receptions of the Eucharist, so that she can continue to grow in her understanding of the great mystery of the Eucharist and be strengthened by Christ’s real presence in her life. She comes to the table of the Lord as part of the Christian community – her faith formation classmates, other first communicants and your entire parish. The pastor has the needs of all of these people in mind, and he works with the parish catechists and parent representatives to schedule first communion masses at the times that are best for the entire community, spiritually and practically. Your daughter’s dress takes second place (at least) to those concerns. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter what she wears. What matters is that she is truly spiritually prepared to take this step in her Christian initiation and receive the Lord in the Eucharist. As a parent, your most important job is to keep all the distractions aside so that she – and your family – can focus on what is really important on her first communion day.