definitions. For some, they are a ratification of a greatly desired status.

I photographed a first communion ceremony, which was in Spanish, at St. Mary Catholic Church and the reception afterward in the church auditorium (fig. 45). The young girls participating wore beautiful, long, elaborate white gowns their mothers or grandmothers had sewn. In one photograph, a girl runs across the floor. She is slightly blurred on the film from the speed of her own motion, blurred in her white dress like the singer at the Josephinium. She does not pause or reflect or doubt; she is happy to take this step toward conventional Christian womanhood.


In addition to the Children’s Church at the Christian Faith Center, I also photographed the elaborate childcare operation for the younger children. The center put a lot of energy and resources into providing for children while parents were at worship. This was one of the ways they expressed the importance of their idea of “family.” Church literature always featured photographs of Casey Treat and his wife Wendy and their two children posed in the same way political candidates and their families pose for a “happy family” publicity shot.

Every Sunday the classrooms of the church grade school were used for childcare. The children were divided by age, from infants a few months old to third-graders. (After third grade they went to Children’s Church.) The intercom carried the worship service into each classroom. On a practical level, the intercom let the caregivers know when the service was winding up, so they could get the children ready to leave. But it also let the caregivers “attend” the worship service taking place in the chapel, at least the way the parishioners at Our Lady of Fatima participated in the mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in Rome. Women tended the babies and toddlers. If the children were young enough or asleep, the women sometimes prayed along with the intercom.

Women and Children