Cost of Communion has us on our knees

Marisa Mackle

I CAN'T remember how much money I got for my Holy Communion, but I think it was about £30. An absolute fortune! My mother put it in the post office. It stayed there for a year and then I took it out and bought a bike and some sweets.

I remember a boy in my class got a watch. He was very proud of it. I asked him the time and he didn't know because he hadn't learned how to tell the time yet. But his watch was very impressive nonetheless.

Communions cost today more than ever. A friend of mine is completely broke this month. In fact she asked me for the loan of a few bob the other night just to get her to pay day. I wondered how my fairly well-paid friend had managed to get herself into debt.

"It's Communion season," she said with a resigned shrug. "Seven of my friends' kids had communions all in the same week, so that was 350 quid gone like that."


I could hardly conceal my astonishment.


"But that's quite normal," she said. "I mean, it's what they expect these days."

I shook my head in disbelief. Surely that amount of money isn't normal? I mean, my friend had never even met some of these kids!

I said it to another friend. She shook her head sadly in agreement.

"That kind of money is normal to some people," she said and then went on to tell me that a boy in her son's school had made more than €3,000 on his Holy Communion Day.

I have to say I felt sick hearing this. A child should not know about that much money. I feel really bad for the kids whose parents will find it hard to come up with even an extra €10 to give to their beloved child on his or her big day.

I am appalled that peer pressure starts so early with all that talk of money in the classroom. I would love to see all the kids get a bible and a candle, and to have a cap on money given. It would be awful to see a child hurt because they didn't get as much money as the other kids.

I'm kind of glad I have a boy and that I can buy him something to wear that he can wear again. In one of my local boutiques there is a school list so that parents can be sure that their darling daughters do not end up wearing the same dress as a classmate. Has the country gone mad or what? Have we lost the message of what making a Holy Communion is really about?

Of course, there were always little show-offs, even in my day. I remember a girl in my class telling me she went to a restaurant where the waiters had real gold buttons on their uniforms. I remember being terribly impressed, but I was only six, so what did I know?

Looking back though, I have to shake my head in sad wonder. That girl was so terribly spoiled it was shameful. Her father ruined her by filling her small head with silly nonsense about money. I'm not going to let that happen to Gary.