Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Second-grader Taylor Garrison got the best birthday present ever April 12 -- her first Communion. She received the sacrament at St. Mark's Church in Edgewood on the day she turned 8. Her journey to meeting Jesus in the Eucharist wasn't easy, but came about through a combination of hard work, modern technology -- like an iPad and the Internet -- and God's grace. "I feel really excited," she said told The Witness, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, in an interview a few days before the special ceremony. "It was a little difficult, but I really wanted to have my first Communion." As a member of a military family, she currently lives at Fort Knox, an Army post in Kentucky, where her father is stationed. Because the Catholic resources there were lacking, Taylor's parents, Pam and Shane Garrison, looked elsewhere to enroll their daughter in a preparation class for the sacrament. "There are no religious education teachers here," said the mother. Both natives of Iowa, the Garrisons tried to sign up Taylor for first Communion classes at a parish near the Rock Island Arsenal, an island in the Mississippi River between the cities of Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois. The family was hoping to get stationed there this summer after being on that base once before. Previously, their son had made his first confession in that parish. But the parish officials said preparations could not be done at a distance, as the family wanted, because their policy was to teach religious education only to children physically living in the parish community. Pam Garrison was discouraged, but did not give up.