Allen Shibu, Keighley
The church of St Anne’s, Keighley, was filled with people as the young children, who had been preparing for weeks for their First Holy Communion, received the Holy Bread and Wine for the very first time. At exactly eleven o clock, the Holy Mass, led by Canon Michael McCredie, initiated with great rejoice. Sunshine revealed itself for a crucial few hours, as if in order to celebrate the holy occasion.
The children, assisted by their teachers, Dorotha Plata and Wendy Mulligan, had been meeting for several weeks beforehand, learning about the church, and about the sacraments and other aspects of the Christian life, and they also had celebrated their first confession a few weeks before. When the long awaited day had arrived, the church shone as the bright sunlight reflected off the immaculately white garments that the children had adorned to celebrate such an important part of their life. The church was also filled to the brim with people. So much that a few parishioners had to unfortunately stand at the back of the church. The choir also had to be located on the altar of the church, due to the immense number of people inside the church. There were children originating from different parts of Europe, who was receiving their first Holy Communion today, including Poland, Slovakia and Czech. The sermon of Father Michael was memorable, where he explained to the children the true message that Jesus was showing through his life, and the philosophy that he always lived by. He also explained about forgiveness, and how the way Jesus forgave ‘the sinful woman’ should be adapted in our lives. Fr Michael’s message is clear, and he strives to unite the peoples of the different parts of the globe, such as those from India, Pakistan, European countries and other areas. Not many churches are open throughout the day, but St Annes church is a proud exception, keeping her doors open every day for the faithful to spend a little time in prayer.
After the large Mass, the children congregated around the shrine of our lady to sing a final hymn of ‘Ave Maria’ after meeting at the altar to receive their certificates as a memory of the glorious day. Finally, Fr Michael stood with the children as Parents and Teachers took pictures as well.
The day was truly a great one, one that will stay as nostalgia for the rest of their lives.