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home : opinion : perspectives

6/23/2011 5:23:00 AM
TRIPLETS AND SACRAMENT
First Communion, times three
Caroline, Ryan and Connor with Rev. James Fitzmaurice at their First Communion
Caroline, Ryan and Connor with Rev. James Fitzmaurice at their First Communion
BY ANGELA CAVE
STAFF WRITER

When triplets Caroline, Ryan and Connor Darby were newborns, they synchronized their turning patterns in their cribs. When they started to babble, they seemed to understand one another. And now, at eight years old, Connor points out, "We're all ticklish."

"Me and Connor both have the same bathrobes," Ryan added.

But the trio also have distinct personalities and interests, from the obvious - Caroline is the only girl; Ryan is a brunette outnumbered by blondes - to the subtle.

"I don't get sick that often, and they do," Ryan said of his siblings.

Recently, when Connor was sick, Ryan fetched his brother a teddy bear. "When one is down, they rise to the occasion and take care of them," said Linda Cardona Darby, their mother. "I constantly think that they will be best friends for life."

Sacramental prep
The second-graders received their First Communion at Christ the King parish in Westmere, Albany, in May. They prepared for the sacrament in the same religion class.

"What made it easy was that they're very different children," said Sarah Cavanaugh, the catechist who taught the Darbys.

The triplets have had a lot of questions at Mass.

"They ask, 'Is that really blood?' They were very concerned in the beginning about Christ dying on the cross," Mrs. Cardona Darby told The Evangelist. "In the middle of church, [Ryan would] ask, 'But Mommy, why would they do that?'"

The kids sometimes ask how much longer Mass will take, but their mother knows they enjoy it because the hymns get stuck in their heads.

"We'll be driving home from church and we'll have this whole little choir" singing what they just heard, she noted.

Ryan likes the cookies Ms. Cavanaugh distributes at religion class. Caroline actually prefers communion bread.

Connor agreed: "I like getting the host. It's yummy."

Once upon a time
The day the trio made their First Communion was "a special day," Caroline recalled, diving into the story: "We went up where Father Jim [Fitzmaurice] goes [on the altar] and we surrounded Father Jim. We like him a lot. He's really funny."

Father Fitzmaurice often draws hearts in the air with his fingers toward the triplets, they said.

"And this is the best thing about him," Caroline continued. "He lives near the church. I love church because you get to learn about God and Jesus and all the people in heaven."

Ryan and Connor chimed in, rattling off the names of their grandparents who have passed.

The children segued to explaining their faith: "They put [Jesus] on the cross," Caroline taught. "Jesus was a very special person because He was nice to everyone."

"I know what Amen means," Ryan offered: "'I believe.'"

Mrs. Cardona Darby says that her children's birth at 27 weeks proved miraculous.

God is great
"I tell them that 'I pray to God, and God brought me you children,'" she said. The children catch on and pray as well, referring to God as "the best."

"It gets to a point that they pray for gum," their mother said, laughing. "It's cute to see them evolving in their faith."

The Darby children have pondered becoming altar servers. They recently conquered their fear of bringing up the offertory gifts.

Mrs. Cardona Darby observed that her children "feed off of each other, because they learn from what the other child is asking. In some respects, it is easier [than having one child] because it's like my own little classroom."

Every year, she asks the triplets if they want to stay in the same classroom at school and in faith formation. So far, they've chosen to stick together - which makes it easier for Mrs. Cardona Darby.

"I always said I only have two hands," she said, recalling their toddler years: During grocery store trips, two children would ride in the cart and one would hold her hand. When crossing streets, the third child would latch onto a sibling.

"We love being triplets," Caroline concluded, although Connor admits he sometimes pinches Ryan, and Caroline and Connor may squabble. "We want to be together all the time."





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