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Religious Tradition of First Holy Communion

First Holy Communions are a big deal for Catholics. We dress in our Sunday best, attend Mass together as a family so we can witness our little one receiving the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time, and celebrate with good food and photos.

Traditionally, this momentous occasion occurs in the spring. My family just celebrated my granddaughter, Isabella’s, First Holy Communion in April and my grandson, Nathan’s, this month.


Following are First Holy Communion photos through six generations of my family from my great grandmother through to Nathan. I thought you might enjoy seeing these photos. Noted in parenthesis are the girls’ married names.

My maternal great grandmother, Clara Birnbaum (Hilleman). Don’t you love the crown?

My maternal grandmother, Florence Hilleman (McCarthy), with her sister, Louise, 1921.

My paternal grandmother, Rose Marie Marine (Doyle), and her mother, Maria Cuppicotto Pecho Marine. Great-grandmother, Maria’s, maiden name was Cuppicotto. That name was changed to Pecho by immigration in America. Note Great-grandma’s jewelry. It was the only piece she owned, a simple brass pendant which was passed down to me.

My father, John Doyle.

My mother, Patricia McCarthy (Doyle), 1937.

My sister, Patti; me/Mary; brother, John; and baby sister, Margaret, 1962.

My daughter, Lisa, 1984. I made Lisa’s dress and veil. I used the netting from my wedding veil for her veil.

Four generations – Me/Mary; my mother, Patricia; my grandmother, Florence, and daughter, Lisa, on Lisa’s First Communion Day, 1984

My daughter, Erin, wearing the same dress and veil that Lisa did, 1987.

Four generations

Back row: My grandmother, Florence; me/Mary; my ex-husband, Sam; my mother, Patricia; my father John,

Front row: My son, Joseph; daughter, Erin; daughter, Lisa,1987.

My son, Joseph, and our pastor, 1990.

My son Joseph, 1990. Joey wanted to wear a white suit. He thought he was so grown-up.

My grandson, Daniel, with his pastor and parish priest, 2021.

My grandson, Daniel, 2021. What a handsome guy.

My grandson, Tyler. 2021. Doesn’t he look relaxed with his hands in his pockets?

Family that could “attend” Tyler’s First Communion in a COVID year. We watched mass on our phones in the church parking lot.


Back row: My brother-in-law, Parke; boyfriend, Paul; me/Mary; daughter, Erin; son-in-law, Steve; ex-husband, Sam; daughter, Lisa; daughter-in-law, Ashley; son, Joseph.

Front row: Grandchildren, Isabella and Tyler. 2021.

My granddaughter, Isabella, 2023. What a sweet, little angel.

My granddaughter, Isabella, 2023.

And finally, my grandson, Nathan, 2023.

My grandson, Nathan, 2023. Throughout the day, Nathan said he felt blessed.



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