Monday, May 03, 2010
The Virgin Mary and Mother’s Day
Both of my parents were born in Calabria, the southern part of Italy. My father
emigrated to the United States in May 1948. My father and my mother were devout Catholics
and remained so until their death.
My father arrived in the United States right before Mother’s Day in 1948. At the time,
my Aunt, my dad’s sister-in-law, Rosaria, explained to my dad that, in the United States, the
second Sunday of May is Mother’s Day. Having a religious mindset about things, my father
assumed that Mother’s Day was a feast in honor of the Blessed Mother. So he went to church
that Sunday, surprised to hear the Mother’s Day was about honoring our mothers here on earth.
Later, my father would say to me, “Mother’s Day honors the greatest Mother of all, the
Blessed Virgin Mary, and all mothers should look to her for guidance and strength.” Thus, I
have always associated Mother’s Day and our Blessed Mother because of my father’s deep
devotion to the Mother of God.
In the midst of the Easter season, it is a beautiful Catholic custom to venerate the Blessed
Virgin during the month of May, especially with such time-honored devotions as May crowning,
Mary altars, and the praying of the Rosary. While there are no scriptural proofs to support the
claim that Mary experienced the Risen Christ, our tradition holds that Mary became a loving and
faithful disciple of her only Son, Crucified and Risen. The preface for the Mass ,“Mary and the
Resurrection of the Lord,” in the Collection of Masses for the Blessed Virgin states that, at the
Resurrection of Jesus, Our Blessed Mother’s heart was filled with “joy beyond all telling and
wonderfully exalted her faith. In faith, the Virgin Mary conceived Jesus. In that same faith, she
awaited his resurrection.”
In a special way, we consider Mother’s Day, while secular in nature and having no
liturgical significance for our Church calendar is a day not, only to honor all mothers, both living
and deceased, but a day to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, Queen and Teacher in
the Spiritual Life. We ask her to watch over all of our wonderful mothers who have given us life
Taking my father’s advice to heart, we can proclaim Mary (unofficially, of course) the
Patroness of Mother’s Day. Mary teaches all mothers the dignity and the value of all human life.
She teaches mothers to be generous, loving and compassionate to their children and to all they
meet. Mary teaches mothers how to be models of deep faith and great courage as they face the
joys and challenges of family life today. On this Mother’s Day we pray that the Blessed Virgin
Mary will wrap her mantle around all mothers, and through her powerful intercession, strengthen
them in their maternal role!
Let me conclude with a Blessings for Mothers.
BLESSINGS FOR MOTHERS
from the Canadian Bishops’ Book of Blessings
you compare your own love for your people
to the love of a mother for her children.
Look with kindness on these mothers,
give them comfort in moments of sorrow,
and joy in their work for their families.
Listen to their prayers.
And bless + them in all they do for you.
Let them share with Jesus your Son
and Mary our mother in the everlasting
happiness of heaven.
Father, we ask this grace
through Christ our Lord. Amen.