Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day, for my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven (John 6: 54-58)

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, illustrateded 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.

OMI Rule of Life, Constitution 33

“The Eucharist, source and summit of the Church’s life, is at the heart of our life and action… In gratitude for this great Eucharistic gift, we will seek the Lord often in his sacramental presence.”

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, Lay Oblate Associate says:

    I love how Mgr Antoine Ricard speaks of the gentle dignity and recollection that made him [Eugene de Mazenod] renowned among all of the bishops… And while I do not have much in the way of recollection of my own First Communion, I do remember receiving my first Communion when I was received back into the Church and even more when I received Communion after having made my 1st Commitment as an Oblate Associate – I was filled with sweet gentleness and wonder and no small amount of joy and gratitude. Jesus, always with us, have mercy on us.

    No matter how many times we listen to John’s Gospel the words are shocking, while at the same time promising, and even so, I recognize the promise and hope that comes with them. Tonight while I may no longer get close to the floor to wash another’s feet, I too, will wrap myself in humility as I help to guide others who will be able to serve in this celebration. It is a humble service only because it is now the only way I can serve my brothers and sisters in the parish.

    Yesterday I had the joy of taking the Eucharist to a dear friend who is dying, who I am privileged to walk and be with on this last stage of his journey home.

    It is true: “…we offer ourselves with Jesus the Saviour; we are renewed in the mystery of our cooperation with him, drawing the bonds of our apostolic community ever closer and opening the horizons of our zeal to all the world.” (C33)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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