MOTHERS' DAY REFLECTION
Sheila Grove/EriE-News Editor
ERIE — Sunday, May 10, is Mother’s Day. According to the History Channel, the observance has roots in ancient Greece and Rome; in Europe when, on the fourth Sunday in Lent, the faithful were encouraged to return to their “mother church” for a special service; and in the suffragette and peace movement during the time of the Civil War. It was officially recognized in the United States by President Woodrow Wilson in 1908. This second Sunday in May has become a popular day to honor an important relationship.
This year, Mothers’ Day may look different. Taking mom out to dinner will likely mean bringing dinner in or calling Grub-Hub. The typical phone call to mom for families living far apart may be a Zoom family gathering. For some, it is another day to be missing mom. A new loss or old loss, from death or conflict, is more difficult on Mother’s Day.
Regardless of tradition or circumstance, this Sunday is a day to remember mothers and mother-figures and their role in the family. Although human mothers are imperfect and fall short of expectations ─ usually their own ─ women who nurture and give life, either biologically or emotionally, are vital. The mother in a family has a central role, stereotypical or not. The word “mother” is as much a verb as is it a noun.
For Catholics, a relationship with a mother goes beyond the presence of an earthly mother. Catholics honor the Blessed Mother they all share; the one who said the “yes” that changed everything and had the honor of raising the Savior of the world.
It is a natural part of Catholic culture to look to her for guidance and protection because she is real. She is a person — without the failings that trap others — but a person, nonetheless. She nurtured a little boy who became a man who behaved in very unorthodox ways and was put to death because of it. It is no wonder Catholics view her as being able to be empathic in any situation.
The Catholic Church has entrusted itself ─ that means every person ─ to her care. In his homily for the Renewal of the Consecration of the Church in the Diocese of Erie on May 1, Bishop Lawrence Persico reflected on Jesus’ words as he was dying on the cross.
Jesus “entrusted John to Mary and he gives Mary to John,” he said. “That is a great symbol. John, the beloved disciple, represents all Christian men and women. Mary is given to us as our mother. We approach Mary, the mother of the church, to intercede with her son and our brother for us.”
This recent national, diocesan and parish consecration to Mary, the Mother of the Church is a renewal. Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first bishop of the United States, promoted devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, and first placed the United States under her protection in a pastoral letter in 1792. A renewal at this difficult time of pandemic attracts attention and fosters new energy and enthusiastic commitment for the faithful.
Mother’s Day, in this month of May dedicated to the Blessed Mother, occurs in this time of renewal. It is an inspiring time to appreciate heavenly and earthly mothers as the earth renews itself in the freshness of spring.