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By: John Dacey on May 27th, 2024

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Grandpa's Garden: Blessing, Gratitude, Communion

Eucharist  |  sacramental grace  |  Grandparenting

Spring is in full bloom in the Northeast, and nature’s cycle of life, rebirth of color, blossom, and branches is all around us. It is a renewal that enlivens the soul and beckons us to be conscious of our place in creation.

Our youngest grandson recently celebrated his First Communion. We were present to enjoy the Sacramental moment. The celebration began as the children devoutly processed into Church, their hands in a posture of prayer, pointing upward and forward.



The young ones appeared a bit self-conscious. They were dressed up and admired by everyone present. It’s a solemn excitement when you’re eight years old. It is a faith passage for families.

Regardless of our age, perhaps we all become self-aware in church. When we assemble as a faith community, we can’t help but sense our frailty, interconnectedness, and relationship with God. We naturally recall who we are before our Creator. The Spirit of God enlivens our consciousness and prompts our hearts to pray with gratefulness and humility.

“…Bless the LORD, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name!” (Psalm 103:1)

During the Eucharistic Prayer, the First Communicants stood in the sanctuary around the altar. They took their place at the table, accepting the invitation to the space where the Lord gathers and nourishes them.

“Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them…” (Luke 22:19)


Blesses the Little Children

After receiving Communion, our First Communicant returned to the pew, rejoining other family members. It happened that my grandson wound up next to me. As he knelt, I whispered, “God bless you.” He nodded assent. The Lord blessed all the children that day. He gathered them and their families, and they became living witnesses of the life of Christ within themselves and His presence within the community.

“yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20) 


Life and Presence, Blessing and Thanksgiving

In a way, everything changed. As these children mature into adult believers, each Eucharist received and celebrated will renew blessing and thanksgiving. Communion with the Lord and His people will endure and grow into a way of life.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name;” (Palm 100:4)


Let us pray in our families to be ever more conscious of our Communion with the Lord in all the spaces of our lives. 


About John Dacey

John Dacey is a retired Catholic high school teacher. He has taught Scripture, Ethics, and Social Justice. He enjoys being in the company of family, reading in the field of spirituality, and gardening. John and his wife have been married for more than 40 years and have two children and four grandchildren.