Once again the First Communion and Confirmation time is over for another year. But the expense may not be and may cause worry to families for a long time after the occasion is over.
The expense of the parties after the communion is causing more worry to families. There are more expenses every year with bouncing castles and catering becoming a norm.
The low-income families expected or feel the need to take out loans to keep up appearances.
The religious sacrament pushed to the margins of importance. I would like to write about the forgotten sacrament, namely Confession.
In years gone by crowds waited patiently for confession. This was important as Holy Communion was not received unless a person confessed their sins.
Now Confession is less about sins but more about helping the person with any life issues they may have in confidence.
The priest is now more interested to hear what is troubling people rather than condemning people to a punishment.
Many people suffer from loneliness and isolation. The priest is always willing to welcome people back no matter how long they have been away from the sacrament or the church.
Talking to someone who is understanding is important. People may not be able to talk to their family or have not one to talk to.
There is no need for the expense of clothes or parties, but great joy and relief when trouble is shared. Not so long ago people were expected to go to Confession when they were late for Mass or missed going to Mass.
There is a thought for people who feel annoyed when they are told they should go to Confession and attend Mass every Sunday.
This is especially sensitive when it is the day of their son or daughter’s First Holy Communion. We must always stress acts of kindness and charity must go hand in hand with receiving the sacraments, holiness comes from doing both together.
Finally, a thought, sport is very popular now. Would the player who only turns up on the day of the match and never went to training be allowed to play?
This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 5 July 2019.