A funny and sad memoir filled with a true cast of characters.
Chapter 17: First Confession Error
First Communion is a wonderful pageant of pomp and circumstance: the girls in their best pure-white dresses, complete with veils to show modesty; us boys in crisp white shirts, black pants, clip-on little bowties or regular ties.
I have never seen my class-mates in this light before. Everyone looks pretty sharp. We march alphabetically down the main aisle of the massive Little Flower Church — girls in one column, boys right beside. Everyone is looking at us, the stars of the show.
When the As to Fs receive Communion and start to leave, it is now time for us Gs to Ns to kneel in our designated, rehearsed spots at the chancel, hands in prayer as we await.
“Don’t chew the Eucharist,” I keep repeating to myself—that’s a sin—just let it dissolve on the tongue naturally.
“Never ever touch it,” we are told.
“Touching the body of Christ with a finger will fill your mouth with blood, pouring out all of your blood, filling the entire church with blood and drowning all of your family and friends.”
I must not do this I tell myself. Mom would be so mad and sad if I do.
(The photo on the front cover of this book is taken soon after my First Communion ceremony. It is taken downstairs in the basement of Little Flower Church, with Sister Margaret holding me, my terrified eyes asking why my mom is giving me away.)
A short while after First Communion, our Catechism starts to prepare us for Confession, our third Catholic Sacrament (after Baptism and First Communion.) This is something that sounds exciting.
I am looking forward to finally going in one of Little Flower’s beautiful wood Confessionals. All I know of them is their outside, covered with intricate carvings. My sister tells me of their stuffy warmth when you close the door and are kneeling, waiting alone in the dark. You can hear murmurings but everything is thick-wood muffled. It is very peaceful, she says.
Suddenly, in the dark, you hear a panel slide open and the ritual of Confession begins. Yvette says it is a wonderful experience; therefore, it must be.
You start with: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. My last confession was [x] weeks ago. These are my sins.”
You then simply list your sins, starting with your mortal sins of murder, rape, incest, adultery, theft, and false witness, then continue on to your venial sins of swearing, telling white lies, not being nice to your mom.
The best part is, no matter what you confess, everything is erased for another week. All of your sins — poof! gone, totally forgiven. I bet the Protestants are kicking themselves for not inventing this.