© Vatican Media

Bulgaria: Pope Francis Speaks with Children Receiving First Communion

‘Are you happy to be making your First Communion?’

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Pope Francis on May 6, 2019, presided over the Eucharistic Celebration in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Rakovsky, in the course of which he administered the Sacrament of First Communion to 245 children present. It’s the first time that the Holy Father administered personally First Communion to children during an Apostolic Journey.
In addition to his homily (full text here), the Holy Father had a dialogue with the children, which follows.
The Holy Father’s Dialogue with the Children at the End of the Homily
 Pope Francis: Dear boys and girls, I welcome you! I’m happy to see you here to make your First Communion. I’ll ask you a question: are you happy to be making your First Communion?
Children: Yes!
 Pope Francis: Are you sure?
Children: Yes!
 Pope Francis: And why are you happy? Because Jesus comes! Let us say it together: “I’m happy because Jesus comes.”
Children: I’m happy because Jesus comes!
Pope Francis: And you, all united here to receive Jesus — I’ll ask you a question — are you the same family?
Children: Yes!
 Pope Francis: And what is our family called?
Children: The Church.
Pope Francis: Our surname is: Christian.
 Children: Yes!
 Pope Francis: What is our surname?
Children: Christian.
 Pope Francis: All right. In the homily, I said something that I would like you to remember always. I spoke of a Christian’s “identity card” and I said this: “Our identity card is this: God is our Father, Jesus is our Brother, the Church is our Family, we are brothers, our law is Love.” Now we repeat it together. I’ll say it again; the translator will repeat it and then we will repeat it together. God is our Father.
Children: God is our Father.
Pope Francis: Jesus is our Brother.
Children: Jesus is our Brother.
Pope Francis: The Church is our Mother and our Family.
Children: The Church is our Mother and our Family.
Pope Francis: We are enemies . . .
Children: We are . . .
Pope Francis: Is it true? Are we enemies?
Children: No!
Pope Francis: We are friends! We are friends. All! We are brothers.
Children: We are brothers.
Pope Francis: Our law is Love. All!
Children: Our law is Love!
Pope Francis: Now Jesus will speak to each one of us. Today you will pray to Jesus for your family, your parents, your grandparents, your catechists, your priests, your friends. Will you pray to Jesus for all these people?
Children: Yes!
Pope Francis: Very good. Now we continue the Mass and prepare ourselves to receive Jesus.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
  The Holy Father’s Words before the Distribution of the Eucharist
 Dear boys and girls, now you’ll receive Jesus. It’s not necessary to be distracted, to think of other things, but think only of Jesus. Come to the altar to receive Jesus in silence; be silent in your heart and think that it’s the first time that Jesus comes to you.  Then, He will come so many other times. Think of your parents, of your catechists, of your grandparents, of your friends, and, if you have quarreled with anyone, forgive them from your heart before coming. We approach Jesus in silence.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
The Holy Father’s Final Words
 Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Before concluding this celebration, I wish to thank you all, beginning with the brother Bishops present, the priests, the women, and men religious and the families. My heartfelt thanks to all those who were involved in the preparation and organization, and also to those who couldn’t take part but prayed, especially the sick and the most elderly.
I take this occasion to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Country’s Authorities and to all those who in different ways collaborated for the good outcome of my visit.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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Virginia Forrester

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