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First Communion, 1957

I made my First Holy Communion in 1957. That is so long ago, that I don’t remember more than a few details.

The setting was our little parish church of Holy Angels in Globe, Arizona. Most of the children in my class were from the newly opened Holy Angels Catholic School. We were fortunate to get two sisters from Ireland who came to open the school which initially only had a couple of classrooms. My teacher was Sister Ita, and I still pray for her because she was a kind, but strict teacher who rescued me from the punishments I got in public school because I was (and still am) left-handed. My brother Stevie (as I called him then) was in first grade.

We were very well prepared for our First Communion by those two sisters who loved God and loved the children in their care. We were all drilled in the Baltimore Catechism, taught our prayers, and were taught to sing the Missa de Angelis. Stevie had the voice of an angel, and he, a little seven-year-old boy, was the cantor for our First Communion Mass. I can still hear his sweet voice leading off on the Kyrie Eleison. The entire Mass was in Latin except for the sermon, which was given by Fr. McFadden, a pastor whom I know my parents respected. His assistant was Fr. Patrick Callanan, another wonderful priest from my childhood.

After Mass we stood for pictures on the steps and then went to the church hall for posole.

First Communion Class Picture

The dress and veil I wore are still around and were worn by my daughter for her First Holy Communion.

The missal my parents gave me is a treasure. It has one of those nifty windows inside the front cover with a crucifix set on a brocade background. The pictures are in color and of course, depict the Mass in the Tridentine form. Because of the delicate cover on the missal, I could not prop it open for the pictures, so I took them while holding it open.

Frans First Communion Missal

First Communion Missal Crucifix

First Communion Missal Title Page



  1. This is a lovely first communion story. Love the classic photos too!

  2. My mother has similar memories of her first communion from that time and the Baltimore Catechism. She still has her mother of pearl missal.

  3. I came upon this article by chance. I am researching my family history and believe the assistant priest you mention, Fr Patrick Callanan, may have been my uncle. I know so little of his life in USA that any information would be of interest to me.


    Denis Callanan

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