First Communion for Filipino children in Tel Aviv
TEL-AVIV – On June 2, 2012, during the mass for the Feast of the Holy Trinity, 31 children received the Body of Christ for the first time after a year of preparation.
This is the third year that a group of educators from the Saint James Vicariate for Hebrew Speaking Catholics in Israel collaborates with the Filipino Chaplaincy. One of the centers of activity of the Chaplaincy, the Divine Mercy Chapel, is on Levanda Street in the area of the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv. About 50 children came to the center once every two weeks throughout the year in order to receive religious education. The teachers this year were: Father David, Vicar for the Hebrew speaking Catholics, Vladimir, from the Jaffa kehilla, Jose-Enrique from Opus Dei and John Bosco, a seminarian from the White Fathers. Towards the end of his studies, Benny from the Vicariate community came along too in order to help with the music. The classes were coordinated with Ms. Bea and Sister Rebecca from the Tel Aviv center.
On Saturday afternoon, the eve of the Feast of the Holy Trinity, thirty children from the Filipino community and one child from the Indian community who studied with them the whole year, gathered in the chapel. The children were dressed in white clothes and came with their parents, relatives and friends. After some last preparations, the prayer began.
The mass was celebrated by Father David, Father Rick, a Salesian priest, who is responsible for the Levanda Street center, and Father Rafic from the Jerusalem kehilla, who came along to celebrate with the Filipino community. In his homily, Father David explained to the children that in their receiving communion – eating the Bread of Life – Jesus would dwell within them in a special way. They must now radiate his light, his joy, his love wherever they find themselves.
In a joyful atmosphere, the prayer continued and Benny directed the songs. The peak moment came when the 31 children lined up in order to receive the Body of Christ. The proud parents pressed around the children and many were taking photographs to eternalize the moment. We wish the children Mazal Tov on this occasion and hope that they will continue on their way, following the Lord Jesus.
It is important to point out that almost all the children – ranging in ages from 5 to 12 – were born in Israel and speak Hebrew as their first language. Many of them have permanent residency and participate fully in our life here – attending school and participating in the activities of the Scouts. We will continue to work with the Filipino priests and the team of nuns and laywomen who run the center in Tel Aviv and classes will begin again at the beginning of September.
Source : Saint James Vicariate