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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 2, June 2016

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Patricia Prime
Te Atatu South, Auckland, New Zealand


Phases in a Journey (Towards Self)

It’s 1947. I am 7 years old. Today I am making my First Communion. My mother has made my white dress with material for which she’s saved her clothing coupons. She pins a veil fashioned from a piece of net curtain to my curls. I walk to school where our class is met by the teacher. Boy and girl, hand-in-hand, we walk in procession along the streets to the church. As I am one of the tallest girls, I’m at the rear of the line.

When we arrive at the church, we walk down the aisle to the altar rails and take our positions on the kneelers. Again, I’m the last in the row. I watch as the priest moves along the row of children, his words echoing in my ears: “This is the Body of Christ,” to which each communicant answers “Amen” and receives the wafer on his or her tongue. I’m surprised by the feel of the Host as it melts and clings to the roof of my mouth.

After Mass we are led out into the priest’s garden where tables are spread with white tablecloths and our breakfast has been prepared by the nuns. We have boiled eggs, bread and butter and two biscuits. Beside each plate is a chocolate bar: where they managed to obtain this number of Cadbury’s milk chocolate blocks in a time of rationing, who is to say? I decide to take mine home with me to share with my brother and sisters. I run most of the way home. Am I on my own, this auspicious day? I can’t remember, although I expect my older sister may have accompanied me.

organ music—
still playing
in my mind

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