First Communion should not be last
- Fr Paddy
A DONEGAL priest has
appealed to parents not to reduce their child's
First Holy Communion to "an orgy of materialism with
Fr Paddy O'Kane, who is a parish priest in
Ballymagroarty, Derry, said many children do not
return to Mass after receiving the sacrament thus
too often making their First Communion their last.
Fr O'Kane, who has just returned to his parish after
a five-month pastoral sabbatical in the US, said
parents chose the childhood sacrament for a variety
These included "a natural expression of their
Catholic identity or "a meaningful spiritual
Others did so “because everyone else is doing it" or
simply because they want "to throw a party".
"Perhaps (First Communion)...is a harmless tradition
keeping them in a club which for all its flaws,
they’d rather remain part of," said Fr O'Kane via
the parish website.
"Or they don’t want
their child singled out as different. Or they just
want to throw a party," he added.
"Then it’s reduced to an orgy of sentimentality and
materialism with miniature brides and bouncy castles
and bursting bank accounts," he added.
The Culdaff-born priest has written to the parents
of children making their First Holy Communion in his
parish next Saturday, June 3.
He reminds them that when they had their children
baptised, they made a promise to bring them up in
the Catholic faith.
"Simply put, you must bring him or her back to Mass
again every weekend after his or her First
Communion," he wrote.
He said a "reverential silence" would also be
expected during Mass.
Fr Paddy O'Kane.
In 2015, Fr O'Kane
revealed that of the 121 children who made their
First Communion in his parish that year, just 20
returned to Mass the following Sunday.
At that time, he said priests in the Derry Diocese
were looking at ways to end the schools 'production
line' to the sacrament in favour of an 'opt-in'
approach for families.