Gazette Sea Foam: Girl receives inspiring card for first communion

June 6, 2011 

Thanks to Vera Gwin of Beaufort for sharing the story of a surprise at her granddaughter's first Holy Communion.

Eight-year-old Victoria Gwin-Baughman got a card in the mail from the White House reading:

"Michelle and I offer our congratulations on this milestone in your spiritual journey. We pray that the cherished memories of this special occasion will always nourish your faith.

May God continue to bless and guide you throughout your life.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama."

Everyone was wondering how the White House staff knew about the special communion, which was held Mother's Day at St. Peter Catholic Church on Lady's Island.

"Then I remembered that when we were sending out invitations in April, Victoria asked me if she could send one to the president," Vera said. "I said, 'Sure, go ahead' and apparently she did. I paid no more attention to it. When the card came, I asked her if she'd invited him and she said, 'I think I did.' You know how children are."

Even without the card, it was a big day for the family.

Victoria, daughter of Juanita Gwin and Corky Baughman, was one of 49 children to receive first communion that day. Most of them are 7 or 8 years old. They study for a year to prepare for the sacrament. On the big day, the girls are dressed in white and the boys in dark suits and ties.

Family and friends from out of town are invited. It's treated in families like a graduation day, Vera said.

The youth will continue their religion training, leading to confirmation.

Victoria is a second-grader in Bonnie Goltz's class at St. Peter Catholic School, where Vera does a lot of volunteer work. Victoria took her card from the president to show at school.

Vera and Richard L. Gwin live in Pigeon Point.

"We've been here in Beaufort since The Beaufort Gazette was a weekly," she said.

Richard is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and Vera was a state government employee.

"It's not every child who gets a card from the president," she said.

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