It seems like Caitlin just had her ceremony, and already Kelsey has begun preparations for her special celebration in the spring. Of course, prior to the First Communion, is the Rite of Reconciliation, which already seems to be more of an undertaking than with Caitlin. I am not sure why, but it is much more of a process here than it was in Iceland.
Perhaps it is the change in the scenarios: when Caitlin made her First Communion, we attended the church on base in Keflavik. Nearly all of the preparations were made during the CCD classes. The teacher sent home a packet of prayers (oh, the nights of Caitlin nervously working on them...), but no hand-outs for the parents, no workbooks tailored to Reconciliation itself, and no retreat. Tuesday evening, at the first parent meeting, I received not only a 3 page hand-out regarding the entire process, but a book for the children, and a periodical for our use. I have to say that I feel more confident having the extra information and material to work with, but I don't remember going through any of the same when I was a child. Perhaps it is timing, and not the church or program?
There were also many other differences, the primary one being the distance to the church. Here we can swing by at a moment's notice, whereas even CCD at St. Michael's required a 1.5 hour round-trip. More importantly, we had to build in extra time for Cait, given that the motion sickness was far more prevalent then (and she was NOT reading in the car all of the time back then). Even on the cold, dark Icelandic winter mornings, the poor thing was ill for at least half of the trips out there and back home. I am pretty sure only a nap staved away sickness, and that could not be counted on most times.
Considering that we have weekly CCD lessons, church, parent meetings, workbooks, and two separate retreats (one for Reconciliation, one for First Communion), I must admit I am quite glad we could walk to church if necessary. I am also quite happy to announce that I may have (at long last) found a regular babysitter that will not break my wallet. Given that it appears I will be doing all of the Reconciliation work with Kelsey by myself, I think that is going to be a lifesaver.
As it turns out, Peter will miss everything that has anything to do with the process. He missed Tuesday night's informational meeting (no big deal), but will likely be away for any other meetings, the retreat, and Reconciliation itself (kind of a bigger deal). The bright spot? He will definitely be there for First Communion, which is right now slated for either May 1 or May 8. Supposedly one gets to choose which date, but that remains to be seen.
The reason for two days of ceremonies? The sheer number of children making their First Communion. Not only are there two separate days, but there are three separate ceremonies on each day! I remember having a big First Communion, but this just seems overwhelming. Cait's entire CCD class had maybe 12 children. The ceremony itself was intimate yet, having followed a brunch that morning for all of the First Communicants and their families. Given there are several CCD classes per grade here, well, a bit of a shock to the system. I have a feeling if there is a brunch, it will be a cozy family event we have at home.
I haven't mentioned as of yet, but of course, we will welcome any family and friends who want to visit. Especially given that we are not going to be in the California area much after that, a good time to stop by if you haven't already. Where to next, you ask? Still working on that one, *sigh*.