Communion Day


Recently, I was commissioned to do some photos of a young man, Cruz, receiving his First Communion.

To receive this sacrament is a big event in a young person’s life. The significance behind the bread (the host) and wine is a direct link to the Last Supper and the rigid backbone of Catholicism.

Churches seem to go either way now: Either they use the round, thin wafer as the host (that’s always what I received growing up Catholic) or, to go more grassroots, they use actual bread now.

I wasn’t sure what the church Cruz attends uses (hosts or bread), but rather than buy unblessed hosts form the local Catholic store, I brought along some bread to use.

I knew he’d be receiving by hand, hence the photo that opens this post.

Unfortunately, I chose wrongly. Mom told me their church still uses a round host. No matter, the photo still came out the way I wanted.


I had asked the family to bring anything else that may be special – a prayer book, rosary, etc. Cruz’s mom brought along his first rosary, which I wanted to incorporate as well.

Mom had to get it right in his hands.


One’s First Communion is a big day. Not only are you receiving one of the biggest sacraments of the Catholic faith….you maybe get your first suit (if you’re a boy) along with a big-boy tie and shined shoes!

Sharp-dressed Man, as ZZ Top sang, indeed.


Aside from the more formal portraits, I wanted to focus on some of these details at well. Trying to tell the whole story, entire-to-detail.

Now, the shoot didn’t go off without incident. I had planned to meet the family at an old historic homestead near us, that also is a state park. I had scouted it earlier in the week, found a number of great spots for us to shoot (Mom wanted nature in the photos, nothing formal for the portraits, so no seamless backdrops).

We planned to meet at Historic Walnford at 6: 30 p.m., when the light would be getting nice. Unfortunately, when I got there at 6, I saw this:


Yikes! The park was closed! It closed at 4:30 p.m. I didn’t even think to check as I guess I assumed it was “dawn to dusk” and we had a good two hours before the gates would closed. I also learned later that, after Memorial Day, it’s open till 7. Just missed it.

Good thing I got there early enough. My mind started racing for an alternative. Since they needed prints of the photos in eight days, we had to do the shoot on this day.

I quickly remembered another park in Allentown that would give us the “nature” background Mom wanted. I made a quick call to Dad and told him where to meet me, then I hustled over to that spot.

The family was waiting for me when I got there, as were some darkening clouds. I did a quick scout of the area, and came up with three different spots for us to shoot in.

The wind picked up slightly as we got to work. I got the portraits the family needed, then was able to cover off some family shots and some shots of the brothers. Not on the specified shot list, but everyone was dressed up so I persuaded the family to do them.


As I finished up the last of the shots, as steady drizzle started. The family was done. I got home, did the edits, then sent them off to AdoramaPix for printing.

I got them back on Thursday (had to have one reprinted as I missed a small leaf on the slacks that I should have PS’ed out) and hand-delivered the prints and USB stick of the high-res finals to the family in time for them to go pick out a few frames for the 8×10’s, ready to put on the table for the post-church party they were having.

I got a text message from Dad later that day:

We just looked at the prints again and under this light you see a gold shimmer on the print….beautiful…my wife LOVES them.

And THAT was the whole goal of the shoot: To make some memories for the family on this big day. And to make sure Mom loved them.

Just like the memories I have from back in the day on my First Communion, April 1978.

Krajnak_first communion_1978

No comments about the hair – it was 1978!

I was really happy to help make these memories for Cruz and his family.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2019

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