Archdiocese of Chicago

Catholic Chicago Blog

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Virgin Mary and Mother’s Day

By Fr. James Presta

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 and love!

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.


from the Canadian Bishops’ Book of Blessings

Holy God, 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.


Thursday, May 06, 2010 10:47 AM

Greetings in Christ Father!
The article was great, but what caught my eye also was the fact that your Parents were from Calabria. My Grandparents also,in fact three out of the four were from each one of the provinci.

Please share what town and provincia your parents were From.

My GOD Bless You in your Priestly Ministry.


David F.

Thursday, May 06, 2010 8:57 AM

Mary, thank-you for going in haste to visit Elizabeth, & like Elizabeth let all peoples say "Blessed are You among women & Blessed is the fruit of your womb JESUS Mary please help our world stop rejecting JESUS Amen

Mrs. Randy F.