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 Days before her First Communion we attended Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Sanctuary which sits atop a cliff on the mountain ranges overlooking the town. The Sanctuary is visible from almost any part of Jalpa and serves as a reminder of our devotion to the Blessed Mother. Isabella was eager to receive communion during this Mass but knew that her day would come a few days later.

 The day finally arrived and Isabella and the rest of the family got ready to celebrate Mass. It was a very special day for us, and especially for me, as the Mass was moved from June 15 to June 16, Father’s Day! The noon Mass was full as the bells rang and Isabella prepared herself. She embraced the moment with a calm confidence. It was her day, her moment; the day she would receive Jesus in her First Holy Communion. As we waited for Mass to begin Isabella whispered the following words to me:

 “I’m fine papi. I know.” 

 What a powerful statement. She knew what to do, what was happening, and more importantly that she would be receiving Jesus. I will never forget those words. Her confidence and self-assurance calmed me. Children have a way of simplifying things that may seem complicated to their bare essence. They hold an innocence, a wisdom inside them that in very few words can change our perspective on the world. 

 Isabella made sure to bring the banner she worked hard to create as part of the First Eucharist Retreat at The Holy Name of Jesus parish. I hung it on the back of her chair to remind us of where we had come from and all the preparation to get to this point. I feel that a piece of Sacred Heart Academy (SHA) and The Holy Name of Jesus community were in attendance through that banner. That day was a moment in her spiritual journey that we shared along with our family in Mexico and her SHA family. It’s this collection of moments, of firsts, as our children grow, that we cherish and celebrate as a part of life. 

 We are thankful for the many blessings we have received with and through Isabella and are intimately filled with the joy of having participated in this Sacrament with her and all the SHA and HNOJ First Communicants. We feel so fortunate to have her attend such a great school where she has received the academic and religious education and support of all her teachers, tutors, and friends. Thank you to all that have played a part in her life and that made this journey from Redlands to Mexico and back possible.