herald

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Marisa Mackle: A Holy day, yes, but it's long been about dosh

I marched up the aisle in my white dress with one thing on my mind: money. I was six years old and I knew exactly what I wanted. One aunt had promised a medal but I didn't think much of that offer. Cash in hand was what mattered.

"Wait 'til he makes his Holy Communion," somebody said to me the other day, referring to Gary. "It's all about money these days."

I laugh when people make such comments. It's 30 years since I made my Holy Communion and it was all about money then, too. I didn't actually like the religious part; it was something you just went along with in order to get the dosh.

They say there's huge pressure on parents to fund their child's big day, but was it ever any different? I cast my mind back to the year of my Holy Communion. A girl in my class was boasting about going to a restaurant where the waiters had real gold buttons on their jackets. I was terribly impressed. I too wished I was dining somewhere so fancy. Instead we went to Powerscourt Gardens.

I think you have to be at least seven now before you make your Holy Communion, which is good. I found the experience a bit overwhelming. I didn't like the hymn which started with "suffer little children". It frightened me, and I certainly didn't like the gloomy confession box where I had to tell an old man all my sins. I mean, honest to goodness, how many sins does a six year-old have?

I remember the nun we had preparing us. She was a bit of a witch. One day she asked us all to stand up and tell the class what was the best thing about making our Holy Communion. I said the best thing was that my dad was going to buy me two boxes of chocolates all for myself and that I would only share with my sisters if they agreed to be my slaves for the day. I was told I was a child of the devil and made to sit in the corner.

But the day of the Communion itself was great fun. I got a watch, even though I couldn't tell the time. I can't remember much about the watch, only that it was expensive. That was the most important thing, you know.

Marisa will be appearing with Rosanna Davison on RTE's Kazoo, The Den tomorrow afternoon

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