Anthony Makes His First Communion
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Shenanigans Before Mass Five-year-old Kyoko-chan uses Anthony as a human coat rack -- Kyoto Kawaramachi Catholic Church -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Shenanigans Before Mass
Five-year-old Kyoko-chan uses Anthony as a human coat rack

Anthony received his First Communion at Mass today, along with his friend Joe. They'd been meeting with Fr. Graham McDonnell (an American priest who has been in Kyoto for more than 50 years) on Saturdays for the past few months, and he thought they were ready. He suggested that they serve Mass, so that with their street clothes covered by their cassock, they'd not have to bother about getting dressing up. 🙂

Anthony has been serving Mass on and off for about two years, while Joe's been doing it for two and a half years.

Joe's little sister Kyoko (seen joshing around above), who turns five years old tomorrow, has been serving for several months. Other kids who normally serve more often also showed up, and Fr. McDonnell's not the kind to turn anyone away, so there turned out to be a total seven acolytes.

Also seen above is Gabriel, an extremely good-natured young man who always takes the younger kids under his wing.

Pre-Mass Instruction -- Kyoto Kawaramachi Catholic Church -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Pre-Mass Instruction
Dress Rehearsal -- Kyoto Kawaramachi Catholic Church -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Dress Rehearsal
Just Prior to Entrance -- Kyoto Kawaramachi Catholic Church -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Just Prior to Entrance
Assisting Father -- Kyoto Kawaramachi Catholic Church -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/100 sec, f/4.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Assisting Father

Even though he's now taller and can see over the altar with ease, the shot above looks similar to this shot two years ago where he could just barely see over, because this time I was sitting when I took the shot, so the angle makes him look shorter.

Fr. McDonnell specifically asked me to take some pictures. I suppose it's hard for anyone to believe that I'm ever reticent to use the camera, but that's not what Mass is for, so when I do photograph during Mass, I do so with reserve.

Anthony Receives His First Communion while Kyoko and her brother look on -- Kyoto Kawaramachi Catholic Church -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160 mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Anthony Receives His First Communion
while Kyoko and her brother look on
moments later, Joseph Receives His First Communion -- Kyoto Kawaramachi Catholic Church -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160 mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
moments later,
Joseph Receives His First Communion

After Mass, in the basement, we thought to take an impromptu group photo, and immediately the two boys started doing some silly Power Ranger poses and whatnot. It was funny and all, but I suggested that perhaps they could try a somewhat more pious pose. Everyone was still mid-laugh (and Joseph still had half of a funny face) when I got this shot....

Kyoto Kawaramachi Catholic Church -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos

The tallest boy is Gabriel's brother, the pair being half of a quartet of siblings who are all kind, good natured young men of such a high caliber that it's my aspiration for Anthony to turn out like them. If you can't be a kind and considerate person, no other successes in life really matter.

Joe's parents let him pick where he wanted to go to celebrate after Mass, and much to their consternation, he picked McDonald's. But it was his special day, so McDonald's it was. We tagged along.

Not Our Average Sunday Brunch -- Kyoto Kawaramachi Catholic Church -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Our Average Sunday Brunch

The McDonald's near Kawaramachi and Sanjo Streets is three stories tall, but was still so crowded that we couldn't all sit together. It was the first time any of us had been in a McDonald's in a very long time, which made it a treat for the kids, and gastronomical distress for the adults. It'd been so long for me that I actually forgot to get the Happy Meal (with its all-important accompanying toy) for Anthony. But Anthony did get ice cream later on. My order of 14 ice-cream cones was somewhat of a shock to the kid behind the register, but with the help of Gabriel and his brothers, all the cones reached their intended recipients waiting up on the third floor.

We had already promised Anthony an ice-cream treat as celebration, and tagging along to Joe's lunch didn't count. Fumie wasn't feeling well this evening, so Anthony and I headed out for dinner and a big parfait. It was so big that Anthony couldn't even finish it, but being the loving Daddy that I am, I made the sacrifice to help him with it.


All 9 comments so far, oldest first...

Hi Jeffrey –

My wife and I are writing from Texas (fellow Catholics) and were wondering if the Catholic religion is as popular over there as it is here in the states. Sorry to assume that you are Catholic, but had to go with the suggestion of the pictures. If you are not, please accept our apologies.

Thanks,

Chad

I am. Catholics are a small minority in Japan, less than 1% of the population. —Jeffrey

— comment by Chad Perry on February 1st, 2010 at 12:56am JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Congrats, Anthony!

— comment by Michael on February 1st, 2010 at 2:05am JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Am surprised at the number of non-Asian children in the ceremony.
Also the variety of footwear worn by the participants.
Assume too that Father McDonnell is well and truly at home in the parish;
fifty years is a long time in one location.
Catholic ceremonies are somewhat similar in approach to
High Anglican services…

It was the weekly Mass in English. Fr. McDonnell is actually not officially attached to the parish, but has an office walking distance away, so says Mass every so often (less so, lately, under pressure from his doctors). Still, he’s been in this area longer than the building itself, telling me yesterday that the church building that used to be on this site is now in Meiji Mura (a “Museum Village” of architecture from the Meiji Era). Here’s a picture of it. I’d like to check out the whole village some day… —Jeffrey

— comment by Bryce Lee on February 1st, 2010 at 2:14pm JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey,

Your vibrant post of Anthony’s and Joseph’s First Holy Communion will help them treasure this day. You certainly
captured the good feelings of the day with your candid shots.

I love to see Kyoto through the eye of your digital camera. Even though I have been here for 50 years, your shots
give me a new perspective on our mutual home.

Thank you for the opportunity to get to know Anthony and you a little better with our Saturday classes fortified with
cocoa and your delicious “choko” homemade bread which is as good as your photos. Father Mac

— comment by Father Mac on February 1st, 2010 at 6:40pm JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Congratulations, Anthony! (I feel like I’ve written that a lot lately, but I guess the milestones just keep on coming one after another for you.)

Terrific shooting, Dad. The group shot with the Father seemingly laughing at the kids’ antics really captures the moment.

— comment by nils on February 1st, 2010 at 9:44pm JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Congratulations, wonderful pictures.

— comment by Michael Yoder on February 1st, 2010 at 10:12pm JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey

We have just taken a look at the first holy communion shots, and they are wonferful. You really did a marvellous job.

We are writing from Mum and Dad’s place in Toowoomba, Australia, so I’ll keep this short

Best,

Tomoko and Peter

— comment by Peter and Tomoko on February 18th, 2010 at 12:54pm JST (7 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Dear Jeffrey, thanks for the amazing photographs and diary of your son’s maturity in his faith.

I was one of “Fr. Mac’s” YBU teachers in Kyoto almost 30 years ago; that McDonald’s you mention was there then & “ice coffee” was the amazing drink we missioners just loved!

Most of all, I want to tell you how wonderful it is to see Mac still doing what he did when I knew him…loving the people he’s with fully. Fr. Mac was so kind and patient with the group of twenty-somethings I was part of during the 1981-1982 year. I thought we aged him considerably!

Should you see him sometime tell him that one of his teachers from the Tacoma, Washington area thinks so highly of him and is so grateful that he gave me a chance to be part of his mission. I’m an RN who went on to get a Masters in Transforming Spirituality then a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Seattle University. I’d like him to know that in some special way he made a difference in my life.

— comment by Gilda Warden on November 8th, 2010 at 2:54pm JST (7 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

When you grew up did your family also go to Mass every Sunday? (I suppose so.) I also want my son to become kind and someone peaceful like my husband. And funny. BTW I really admired your kindness when we went to the BBQ and the car broke. You had the patience of an angel. Also sharing your knowledge on your blog is very kind of you. There are not many people like that.

— comment by Anne on September 19th, 2012 at 1:00pm JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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