Monday, April 15, 2013

Memories for George of Your First Holy Communion

From the Eucharist comes the strength to live the Christian 
life and the zeal to share that life with others.
~Blessed Pope John Paul II
Dear George,

Today was an extraordinary day.  A day that I have thought about countless times and looked forward to since the day you were born.  The very moment I held you into my arms, gazed into your eyes and felt your breath on my cheek, I embraced not just your soft, fragile body, but your pure and glorious soul as well.  In that moment, I was keenly aware that you had just come from God, and that you were beginning your journey back to Him.  A journey on which, for a precious amount of time, I would get to be your guide.  What an unfathomable privelege for your father and me!!

The journey towards the Father, thus far, has been rich and fruitful, filled with wonderful experiences of God in truth, goodness and beauty.  But, today was particularly monumental, because to receive your first Holy Communion is to receive not only a gift of Love, but a gift of Life!  It is true, as St. Ireneaeus has said, "The glory of God is man fully alive."  Today, in the reception of our Lord, your soul is more fully alive than ever!!  

As you continue to grow into becoming the young man that God intends for you to be, I can only pray that your heart will be stretched with the desire to know Him, to love Him and to serve him with the graces that you receive each time you are able to partake in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  The mysteries of the Eucharist are often times very difficult to fathom, but for what we cannot understand as children, or as adults, we can entrust to the Lord in faith, and recieve with humility.

I am not sure what you will remember about this blessed day on our journey together, but if I could help you to treasure just one thing about this milestone in your spiritual life it is this: Jesus longs to be close to you, to share in a profound and life-giving love with you.  He reaches out to you, calling to your heart in many ways, but the greatest way is through Holy Communion.  I pray that you will have the courage and the wisdom to meet him with the joyful expectation to be loved by Him and to love Him more deeply each day in return every time you  are blessed to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist.

All My Love,


P.S.  Here are a few highlights to help you remember your special day!! 
Benedict and Andrew helped you get dressed and shared their words of wisdom with you, including, "Be sure to give thanks after you receive communion" and "Remember, sip, don't gulp."  What would you do without big brothers??
When you and Dillon are grown up, I hope that you will remember this day, and this photo, and spur each other on to the higher callings of the Christian life! You two may look like future politicians, but beneath those snazzy striped ties are big hearts, ready to be warriors for truth!
Remember our friend, Joel?? He took this photo of our family, and when we look at it, we can remember to pray for him as he enters the seminary this fall.  Glory to God!!
All I can say is that this pic is real, honest, funny and true.  Jesus is all of those things.  Remember that.  No one understands the "realness" of life better than our Lord.  You can trust Him with everything.
Do you see Henry in the background?? In two years he will be preparing for his first communion, and will look to you and your older brothers to be an example to him of virtue and holiness.  Your mission begins now!!
Grandma and Grandpa Splichal, Granny and Grandpa Husband and Great Granny Wehkamp came for your celebratory lunch after mass.
  We had a big feast, and you got to sit at the head of the table! The celebration continued with cake, ice cream, stories and memories of grandparents' first communions, then the opening of gifts.
You did not want me to order a special cake from Dillons for you.  You wanted me to make one, and although I was nervous about taking on the task, I knew that it would make you very happy if I said yes.  You chose this design, and helped me with some of the decorating, always ready to "advise." We made a great team! {*Cake instructions below*}
Opening the gifts was a great joy for you.  
I really admired the way that you took your time, slowly reading every card, studying each gift and showing loving appreciation to everyone who brought you a treasure.
You didn't know that Sara and Johannes and your cousins had sent you a gift all the way from Switzerland!  It was the first thing you packed in your backpack for the trip to Denver.  We are going to have many great talks about the stories that you read!
Your Godfather, Mr. Heap, sent you a copy of Jesus of Nazareth with a bookmark from St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.  He also included a very special letter, one which you will read again and again with your own father, inspiring hours of "man talk."
Your father and I couldn't wait to give you your gift.  We had so much fun picking it out, and knew that you would love it very much.
The story of St. George is one of your favorites.  His example of courage and sacrifice is a model for all boys and all men, an example that you take very seriously.  I believe that your name is a gift from the Lord, and that with the prayers of your Grandpa George and the example of St. George, you too will be able to conquer all of the big dragons in life.
Faithful servant of God and invincible martyr, St. George; favored by God with the gift of faith, and inflamed with an ardent love of Christ, thou didst fight valiantly against the dragon of pride, falsehood, and deceit.  Neither pain nor torture, sword nor death could part thee from the love of Christ.  I fervently implore thee for the sake of this love to help me by thy intercession to overcome the temptations that surround me, and to bear bravely the trials that oppress me, so that I may patiently carry the cross which is placed upon me; and let neither distress nor difficulties separate me from the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Valiant champion of the Faith, assist me in the combat against evil, that I may win the crown promised to them that persevere unto the end.  ~ Amen

* For the cake, I simply used two box cake mixes, subbing melted butter for the oil, milk for the water and adding one extra egg.  Those simple changes make the cake more moist and also add density which makes the cake easier to handle and frost.  Divide the mix between one large loaf pan (for the center of the chalice) one 9" round cake pan (divided to make the top and bottom of chalice) and one small round cake pan (for the Eucharist). 

I frosted the cake using this recipe, but used half butter, half shortening.  For tinting the frosting, the gel tints are easier to blend and control than the liquid food coloring, just choose your favorite colors and use a very little bit at a time when mixing. The chalice frosting was piped on, and white fondant (purchase at Wal-Mart or any major craft store) was used to cover the eucharist.  A little hot glue secured the leaves and wheat to the silver cake board  (also purchased at Wal-Mart).  It really was a surprisingly easy cake to make - you can do it!!


  1. That was absolutely beautiful. Got me all teary-eyed, thinking of my own children's first communions and baptisms. Quite a special family you have there.

  2. What a special day you all had. I'm stopping by from WIWS. We don't have any kids so I look at your 5 boys and find your whole post so difficult to imagine, but you are wonderfully blessed!

  3. I *love* this post - what beautiful photos of such a memorable and life-giving day.

  4. How wonderful! Congratulations and you all look wonderful

  5. Everything looks so beautiful! What a special celebration.

  6. Special moment, Special things and an unforgettable experience. quite lucky fellow though!

  7. Congratulations, George!
    You did an awesome job on that cake, Susan!

  8. Popping in a year later since you shared on FB--
    This is beautiful! I love the letter you've written to your son about the day. I'm inspired for my daughter's big day coming up in a few weeks! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Beautiful blog!!! is it possible to ask the detailed recipe on how to do the chalice and eucharist cake?


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