Eugene had made his first communion on Holy Thursday at the College of Nobles in Turin. It was always an important moment for him to recall the joy of this important event.

Antoine Ricard, who had been a diocesan seminarian in Marseille, showed this:

One Holy Thursday – as I personally recall – we were in the Cathedral of Marseille. The bishop (Eugene de Mazenod) was officiating with the gentle dignity and recollection that made him renowned among all the bishops, his contemporaries. Unexpectedly we saw him cry and, while trying, he could not conceal it. The seminarians who surrounded the bishop’s throne, struck by the emotion of the Bishop, were moved as they looked at him. He noticed this, and turning to one of them, the author of these lines, whose short-sightedness made his staring more obvious:
Young man,” he said with that simplicity that made him win hearts, “do not be startled like that – today is the anniversary of my first communion.”

Mgr Antoine RICARD, “Monseigneur de Mazenod, évêque de Marseille, fondateur de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée,” p. 12.

As we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, perhaps we could make this the opportunity to recall our own first communion with joy and thanksgiving.

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Regrettably I do not know the date of my First Communion – all I know is that it was a Sunday and that I was able to be like the other little girls all dressed in white with new pretty shoes. I sort of liken that event to my baptism – something that I have no real memory of but which most surely shaped me as to who I am today.

    Last week I recommended a piece that had an immensely startling effect on how I think about the Eucharist in my life. Fr. Fabio Ciardi’s article on the Eucharist from the Dictionary of Oblate Values touched me deeply that I am gratefully unable to forget his words; why I was recommending it to my friend who was exploring and thinking about the Eucharist. Fabio had opened his paper writing: “Eugene de Mazenod was favored with an experience and a view of the Eucharist which constituted the foundation of his teaching to the Oblates as well as to Christians to whom he ministered as missionary and then as bishop.”

    Although I was ‘not favored with the same experience as Eugene, Ciardi’s article along with some from Ron Rolheiser have helped to shape and cement within me an ever deepening foundation of who I am.

    My heart sings right now for I am filled with joy and thanksgiving as I reflect on how so many have shared with me their understanding, joy and thanksgiving of the Eucharist. My own first memories and experiences may not appear very grand or glories, or the same as others but in truth as I look at them without the confines of time and place they are undoubtedly the greatest gift ever received.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *