Irish priest slams commercialisation of Holy Communion

Irish priest Fr Paddy O'Kane says that a child's First Communion has been commercialised - photo by trevor mcbride

An Irish priest launched a scathing attack on the commercialisation of a child’s First Holy Communion.

Fr Paddy O’Kane believes that over the years parents have allowed one of Christianity’s major rites of passage to become ‘an orgy of materialism with miniature brides’.

He said: “Perhaps [it] is a harmless tradition keeping them in a club which for all its flaws, they’d rather remain part of. Or they don’t want their child singled out as different. Or they just want to throw a party.

“Then it’s reduced to an orgy of sentimentality and materialism with miniature brides and bouncy castles and bursting bank accounts.”

He did admit that this didn’t apply to all parents and for many it was both ‘a natural expression of their Catholic identity and a meaningful spiritual celebration’.

Father O’Kane has spent five months on pastoral sabbatical in the USA, but returned to his Ballymagroarty parish in Co Derry in 2017.

He wrote to the parents of many children who were preparing to receive their First Communion. He reminded them that when having their children baptised, they had made a commitment to bring their children up in the Catholic faith.

He said: “Simply put, you must bring him or her back to Mass again every weekend after his or her First Communion.”

In 2015, Fr O’Kane revealed that after 121 children made their First Communion, only 20 returned to mass the following week.

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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling