This past weekend, 42 of our St. Michael’s School students received the Holy Eucharist for the first time. The children, ranging in age from second graders to seventh graders, were so very eager and excited to experience this wonderful Sacrament. The Institution of the Eucharist was established by Christ during the Passover feast, which preceded His Death and Resurrection. Whenever Mass is celebrated, we remember the words that Jesus shared with the Apostles: “This is my Body, which will be given up for you.” Our First Communicants now more fully belong to our Catholic, Christian community, sharing in our 2,000+ year-old tradition. While embracing the past and the rich history that encircles our faith, they are, most importantly, the future of our Church, and it is upon them that we depend to carry our traditions forward

This past weekend was also the Coronation of King Charles III. Ever since I enrolled in a Tudor England course my Sophomore year in college, I have been fascinated by British history. Aside from much drama and controversy surrounding England’s royal families, I believe I am drawn to British history because it, too, is steeped in tradition and faith. So, I set my alarm for 2:00 AM and watched as the pageantry unfolded. The music was breathtaking; the gowns, robes, and military uniforms magnificent; the processions to and from Westminster Abbey conducted with such precision. But I was most impressed with the numerous elements of faith embedded in the ceremony. Pope Francis gifted King Charles with two shards of wood that the Vatican says are from the “True Cross” on which Christ was crucified; these fragments were placed in a ceremonial cross used at the Coronation. King Charles placed his hands on a bible and took an oath, swearing to govern the people with justice and mercy, and to uphold the Anglican Church of England and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland; he also prayed for grace to be ‘a blessing to all…of every faith and belief.’ Perhaps the most sacred portion of the Coronation was when King Charles was anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury with holy oil, which was produced from olive groves on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

In my two previous “Notes” I wrote about the roles that “Nature” and “Nurture” play in the development of children. I often vacillate on which plays a more prominent role, and I suspect they are equally important. Our ancestors’ stories live on in each one of us, and the traditions they embraced are worthy of remembering, repeating, and perhaps re-imagining. I believe we should spend more time learning about our past, because it lives on in each of us. As we look forward to Mother’s Day next Sunday, and Father’s Day in June, I encourage you to have your children spend time talking with their grandparents and asking them about what their life was like when they were growing up. Where did they live? What did they like to do when they were younger? Little by little, start creating a “Family Tree” and add pictures. Help your children learn about the stories and the people who came before them. Let them know they are part of a much bigger picture, one that encompasses the past, the present, and the future; that they are an important piece of that puzzle, and that they belong.

Kathleen Mock