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There is a first time for everything. Some of our firsts are more memorable than others. Remember the first time you drove a car? How about the first time you went on a date or drank a beer or smoked a cigarette? Your first real job after completing school – that was a big one! There are so many firsts and last weekend we celebrated with a very beautiful liturgy, the First Communion of 27 of our dear children. They were so well prepared and decked out in white dresses or suits. They could not have been more beautiful or handsome. Speaking with them before we began the Mass, they told me how excited they were! One child declared he was so excited: “I couldn’t sleep last night!”

Can you remember your First Holy Communion? Mine was at St. Peter’s Parish in Dorchester more than 50 years ago. Probably similar to those celebrations here in Charlestown at that time: huge classes of children and packed churches every Sunday. For all the years that have passed, I can recall the special-ness of the day, and the overarching memory is one of love, from God, my family and in the parish community. I am certain that I was no better prepared than our children were on Sunday – they were really sharp and have studied and learned very well in preparation for the day.

Now that the foundation is there, our greatest hope for the children is that the building continues. Children so need the example of parents and a lively community practicing and living the faith. This is what we wish to foster here in Charlestown. This experience of living the faith begins with our being a welcoming community. Re-read our Parish Mission Statement from time to time; We are an intentionally inclusive community welcoming all of the many people who make up our diverse neighborhood”. In my mind the experience of being welcomed into a community is both simple and profound.

First of all it is intentional – deliberate. It happens when we (each of us) make a choice to look left & right – front & back and welcome another. A nod, an introduction, a handshake, a smile … whatever works to give the clear signal that you recognize your neighbor and greet them. We are an urban community. A lot of people come and go here. Some are visitors, some passing through and others staying for awhile. Sometimes we have people staying at the Constitution Inn or Marriott in the Navy Yard who visit. Some are staying for longer times for medical treatment at a local hospital. The point is, All Are Welcome.

Last weekend we celebrated the feast of Pentecost – the birthday of the Church. There are many aspects of this great feast for us to recall, and one of them is that the Holy Spirit fosters community and one that is never exclusive, rather always inclusive. May God’s loving Spirit so bless our Parish that we become more and more the intentional community we aspire to be. What a lasting gift that will be to our children.

Fr. Ronan