My first communion was in spring, 1975.
I remember getting dressed in black and white with my black tie, and the girls in white dresses with veils. I remember lining up on the school playground and walking in procession to the Church. We must have been some sight.
I remember making sure my hands were folded just right. I remember kneeling at the altar rail. I remember the altar boy extending the gold paten beneath my chin and receiving communion communion. I remember the feel of the host that first time. I remember praying in the pew afterwards. These are still vivid after all those years ago.
My son's first communion (in 2007) was different than mine (that's him looking at you in the picture above). There was lots of activities that he was involved with. There was no paten, the kids sat with their parents rather than as a class, and we had it a Sunday mass instead of Saturday morning.
In spite of the differences in time, the important thing remained the same – and my boy got it. We had spent years talking about this day and he got the point. The day was about the first time he received the body and blood of Jesus Christ, his Lord and God. This day was extremely important to him and he was so reverent at mass. After receiving the Eucharist and returning to the pew, he fell to his knees, not even bothering with the kneeler, overwhelmed by this first Communion with Christ.