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A Mother's Day tribute

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

May 13, 2020

“Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service” is an effort by our Church to increase our outreach to pregnant and parenting women in need as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s prophetic document, The Gospel of Life. Pope Francis, in this regard, said that our parishes should be “islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference.” Those in our parishes who work with the Project Gabriel ministries make a world of difference to so many pregnant and new moms in need. We are so fortunate and grateful to those who participate in this life-giving ministry in our communities.

It is important that we walk the Pro-Life talk by being attentive to our pregnant and parenting moms who don’t have the family or community of loving support that we might take for granted, be it financial, emotional or educational. “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service,” is the Church’s effort to serve life in all its truth.

This month we honor Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church, and today, as you know, we honor our moms. This Mother’s Day morning, I would also like us to reflect on how we, as members of a family, walk with our moms – new and not-so-new – through the years of their lives. Once a mom, always a mom. What a noble vocation of self-less love and service.

Our First reading today is concerned with “who will wait on tables?” The Apostles are concerned about what they had to sacrifice (the Word of God) because they had to spend time “serving at table.”

I wonder how much our moms sacrificed because, for in many of our homes, that was our mother’s domain – serving at table. So that no one was neglected, how often would our moms miss the conversations with visitors because she was in the kitchen either preparing the meal, serving it, or cleaning up after. What did she miss so that stomachs weren’t neglected? I wonder, what did she and dad have to sacrifice in order to put food on the table?

Throughout their and our lives, we must walk with our moms. Did any of us really appreciate how closely our mothers walked by us while we were growing up? Only a mother knows the physical anguish that a pregnant woman endures for the sake of new life within her. Then there is the lifetime of going without personally, so that her children might enjoy something. There were the sleepless nights when her child (no matter the age) was sick or in emotional turmoil or out on a date. Moms are always there to soothe and make things better.

I thank God for my mother whose bountiful and delicious food was always on the table or in the fridge. I thank her for the always present clean clothes, for an immaculately kept house, the pretty flowers on the lawn.

I thank her for being up through the night when I was sick and for forgetting to tell dad when he got back from work, what my brothers and sisters, I mean, I did wrong during the day. I thank mom for teaching me my prayers and making sure we went to Church every Sunday and walked every day to Church with us during Lent when we got off the school bus.

As our mothers age, we appreciate more and more their love for us and what motherhood entails – sacrifice that knows no bounds. The years creep up on them, on all of us. They become proud grandmothers and, God-willing – even great-grandmothers. Often their bodies become fragile, sometimes tragically their minds diminish, their memories fade. You know, our mothers need someone to walk with them, at their pace, particularly when their soulmate, their life partner is no longer with them. I’m thankful to God that I have siblings who accompany my mother during these years in which she sometimes struggles with her health. They walk with my mom in her need. If you are still gifted with her presence, do you walk with your mother in her need?

Yes, throughout their and our lives, we must walk with our moms. As they grow older, the attention they deserve from us increases, because we remember with much gratitude.

In our efforts to honor and offer thanksgiving for all mothers, it is important to remember that Mother’s Day can be a difficult holiday for many people, such as women who are struggling with infertility, those who have lost or are estranged from their mothers, and mothers who have lost one or more children through miscarriage, abortion, or some other way.

I can’t imagine how difficult a day this must be for those who have never known the love of a mother, for someone whose mother abandoned them, physically or emotionally, or those whose mother has died recently or when they were very young. This day doesn’t go by without a big lump in the throats of many.

Again, St. John Paul II wrote so beautifully: “There is an everyday heroism, made up of gestures of sharing, big or small, which build up an authentic culture of life…Part of this daily heroism is also the silent but effective and eloquent witness of all those brave mothers who devote themselves to their own family without reserve, who suffer in giving birth to their children and who are ready to make any effort, to face any sacrifice, in order to pass on to them the best of themselves…We thank you, heroic mothers, for your invincible love! We thank you for your intrepid trust in God and in his love. We thank you for the sacrifice of your life.” (EV, 86) Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day to all our moms!

St. Joseph, Pillar of Families, Pray for Us!

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