May 9, 2011


Filed under: Blog — hoopscoach @ 10:47 am
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The lovely month of May is upon us. Weather is warming up, sun is out, time to mow the grass and I’m digging my khaki shorts out of storage. Let’s not forget that schoolchildren are coming down the homestretch for the semester too. Do you remember the yellow sign, “School’s Out, Drive Safely”? One thing that I do remember is the second grade at Holy Name of Jesus; that was the year I made my Holy Communion.

Boy was that a long time ago, 1972 to be exact.

(From left to right: Red, Michael Langton and John Godfrey.)

Before communion we had to be free of sin; and boy did I commit a lot of sins before the tender age of 8. This was where my first confession came in a week before receiving First Communion.

The thought of confession was not sitting too well with me. I’ll be the first to admit I was nervous. Leading up to my visit I was reciting over and over, “Bless me Father for I have sinned this is my first confession.”  I had actually been thinking of not going to school that day. Would they give me a pass? Doubt it.

Entering the confessional booth and taking a knee, all was silent. Suddenly I heard a cough. Then I heard a voice, it was the same voice that would often toss us out of the schoolyard at 10 o’clock at night.

Miss Herlihy, my second grade teacher assured me we would not be seen in the confession booth. It was a relief knowing Monsignor Downing would not know it was me behind the curtain but how could he not I wondered?

I would often see him walking around the neighborhood reading his bible, always taking the time to say hello to me, despite this little red-headed boy trying to sneak past him.

Once inside the booth, I admitted my sins and was very sorry.

Finally able to exhale, I then received my penance; I was cleansed of my sins.

I was good to go, right? Not exactly.

Time and time again I would sin some more, only to return to confession.

That day as I made my way down the steps of our Church, I began one of the 3 Hail Mary’s I was required to recite.‘Hail Mary full of grace’. Wait a second, I just thought of something, were the prayers supposed to be to myself or out loud?

After Communion I was given Rosary beads by my mother. Money was also included for this blessed accomplishment. Thanks to some very nice friends of our family and caring relatives that took care of me; thank you all. I’m not sure of the total amount of money I made that day but I do know I went down to Sepe’s on 5th avenue shortly afterwards and purchased a rubber, Voit basketball.

I can’t believe it has been 38 years since I made my first communion.


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  1. I got a real kick out of your picture & article about your first holy communion in 1972 @ Holy Name. I received mine @ Holy Name in 1956. In 1972, I graduated from St. Francis College & moved away from Holy Name. Monsignor Francis X. (Gus) Downing was a great guy. His letter of recommendation got me into Cathedral College. I have a lot of fond memories of Holy Name.

    Comment by bob terry — May 9, 2011 @ 11:05 am | Reply

    • Bobby. thanks for the kind words and appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.

      Enjoy the day.

      Comment by hoopscoach — May 9, 2011 @ 11:50 am | Reply


    Comment by mike slavin — May 9, 2011 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

    • WOW, great memory Mike.

      Comment by hoopscoach — May 9, 2011 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  3. You and Johnny G!!! What a backcourt! That’s a great shot! If you’re in that photo then that means I was in Ms. Lynch’s 3rd grade class at that time! Those were some great days but also scary for as we aged there was more responsibility put upon us and it was like walking on egg shells! Right around that time Brother Lambert retired and left and I remember Bro. Flannan coming on board as the Principal of HNS’s Boys Dept. Now a child makes their first Holy Communion much later as does Holy Confirmation. Does anyone know the ages for these sacraments now?

    Comment by Glenn Thomas — May 9, 2011 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  4. Wow! I think I took that picture!
    38 years?!!! I remember that day!
    Communion gift money, Conformation gift money, Birthday gift money – it all seemed to make a bee-line to Sepe’s!

    Comment by John Langton — May 10, 2011 @ 8:18 am | Reply

    • Yes John you did take that and many thanks for sending. That may go in my book! LOL

      Comment by hoopscoach — May 10, 2011 @ 8:47 am | Reply

      • If I knew it was going in a book I would have done a better job of centering you guys!

        Comment by John Langton — May 10, 2011 @ 11:38 am

      • LOL…it’s all good. It looks great!

        Comment by hoopscoach — May 10, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  5. wow- Sepe’s, haven’t heard THAT name in a lifetime!

    Comment by Maureen Rice (Flanagan) — May 10, 2011 @ 9:39 am | Reply

    • Did you ever buy anything from there? I wasn’t even sure if the spelling was correct? LOL

      Comment by hoopscoach — May 10, 2011 @ 9:49 am | Reply

      • It was Sepe’s. I left many dollars in that place!

        Comment by John Langton — May 10, 2011 @ 11:37 am

      • Per Sepe’s: I loved that place. I would do some serious window shopping at that spot.

        Comment by hoopscoach — May 10, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  6. My first communion was a year later, 1973. Don’t remember the communion that well since I basically “went along with the program” at that time. Do remember the Mets pushing a stacked Oakland A’s team to 7 games in the ’73 World Series

    Thanx for mentioning Monsignor Downing. I remember him as a kindly elder spokesperson (to me he looked 80, but that’s because older people seemed that much older to me at that time) and when I was making one of my many summer trips to Barnalli’s, seeing Monsignor Downing walking slowly on the church property, praying to himself (and I guess God). I had heard very nice things about him from older friends of my mom and I got the idea that he was a good listener, rather than an advice-giver, to people in the parish who may have been experiencing some of life’s many difficulties. When I picture the monsignor, I still see that kindly man walking around the church property, doing his prayers/meditations, doing his tour of 9th avenue, a small bit of Windsor, Howard and Prospect Av. The memory of him is quite vivid. I guess I just loved Barnalli’s ice cream and admired, in my own way, this older man who was comfortable with himself.

    Thanx for the memory.

    Comment by David Cullen — May 10, 2011 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  7. I remember the parties at the house after my Communion and Confirmation and as a kid I never realized how much work was involved in putting these parties together. You never even gave it a thought. But as a parent it’s work before during and after. But it’s all worth it to see the smile on your kid’s face knowing the party is for them.

    Comment by Jack Kelly — May 11, 2011 @ 6:45 am | Reply

    • Jack, you are right about the prep work. It’s amazing how much the parents put into bringing happiness to their children. I don’t think my daughter has a clue to how much we do for her but like you said, it’s worth it to see the smile on their face.

      Have a great day!

      Comment by hoopscoach — May 11, 2011 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  8. I remenber making my Holy Comunion in May, but not the date, but I do remenber my ??? I was asked. Elizabeth, WHY DID GOD MAKE YOU??? HE MADE ME TO KNOW HIM TO LOVE HIM AND TO SERVE HIM IN THIS WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As a child it was from memory, but today, its a Reality, ONE DAY AT A TIME!!!!!!

    Comment by B.T.B.K. — May 14, 2011 @ 8:03 am | Reply

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