There used to be two kinds of First Communions. These two types are still known today, but less common. The " première communion " (first communion) was a private and ordinary ceremony. Some young boys were allowed to recieve First Communion before 11-12 years old. The more common type was " la communion solennelle " (the solemn communion) which is a beautifull and important ceremony for French children. This ceremony is also often called first communion because most of the the children are recieving comminion for the first time in their lives. My First Communion was the first type and it took place in France, although I had been living in Austria for some time.
There used to be two kinds of First Communions. These two types are still known today, but less common. The " première communion " (first communion) was a private and ordinary ceremony. Some young boys were allowed to recieve First Communion before 11-12 years old. The more common type was " la communion solennelle " (the solemn communion) which is a beautifull and important ceremony for French children. This ceremony is also often called first communion because most of the the children are recieving comminion for the first time in their lives.
The boys allowed to do their First Communion early were generaly altar boys who had a quite good knowledge of the Mass. This was my case. When I went to Austria, which like France is largely Catholic, the priests were a bit surprised that I had almost memorized the Mass by heart. I just was 10 years old. I had already been an altar boy for 2 years was able to sing a few Gregoran chants. The raison was that my Spanish nanny was helping me practie. Each night I had to say a prayer with her, so I could able to say the " notre Père " and the " Ave Maria " in Spanish. It is easy for a child when he is obliged to repeat the same thing over and over.
I don't remember the exact date of my privat first communion. I also don't remember if I wore a short pants suit, probably I did. In contrast I perfectly recall that my family were present. My nanny was also there nd wa very proud of me. I recall all the names the priests of this period. one named l'abbé Vanier, enough young in this time,
taught the chant. He suggested that I should do my private first communion. I regulary met with him even though his ministry was in another city. He came to say the Mass for my mother's funeral.
I did my solomn communion in France, and it was the first time that I did my private communion on a Sunday in 1954. I was an altar boy and able to understand the Mass in Latin. I liked to sing the Gregorian chants.
I wore a long pants suit. I think I didn't wear anymore this suit again. I continued to wear my short pants suits and play outfits afterwards. I have to add though that I wore long winter pant when I played in the snow in Austria. Before 10 years, I had never gone to the mountain resorts with snow in France.
I especially remember the time I lived in Austria during 1953-55. I have many fond memories from that country. It's quite easy to remember when one looks again photos and film. As I undestood the Mass in Latin and could sing theGregorian chant, in Vienna I was appointed "Ministrant". A Ministrant was the altar boy wich tell or singed the mass with the priest.
I was very influencedwith the religious instruction given at my schools. When I was 12 or 13 I wanted to be a priest, but my Parents didn't want me to. I have all time long keept contact with this circle. My brother has several letters and postcards written
by me when I was in Austria. I was obliged to write regulary at my Parents. In some of those letter I speak about wanting to be a priest. Some of these letters are written in German when I was 12 years old. It was easier for me to write in Germane without making gramatical errors which I was affraid of doing.
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