Happy Mother’s day to mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, foster mothers, adoptive mothers, step-mothers and the spiritual mothers who help me as first year pastor. It is good that Mother’s day is celebrated in the month of Mary, the Mother of God. Eastern Churches honor her as “Searcher for the Lost” (joyful mystery of finding Jesus in the temple): “…O all-pure Mother of God, cease not seeking your children who are lost; that we may treasure Christ in our hearts, and find eternally our Father’s House.” Theotokos means “God bearer/Mother of God”. Theotokion is a beautiful prayer in the Divine Liturgy: “Thou faithful help of Christians, unswerving mediatrix in the presence of the Creator, do not overlook the prayerful voices of sinners, but hasten in thy goodness, to our aid, who trustingly cry to thee: Make haste in prayer, and be diligent for our salvation, O Mother of God, ever protecting those who honor thee.” Respect for motherhood grows in contemplation of the Virgin Mary, who conceived Jesus in her heart, before she conceived him in her womb. Motherhood is a sacred participation in the fruitfulness of God’s love.
Today I wish to follow up on recent Pastor’s Letters about the obligation to receive Holy Matrimony and for Godparents to be active Catholics. Each mother is a living image of God’s love and of the relationship of the Church, as Bride, has with Jesus. I am full of love for all mothers, regardless of their status in life and relationship with the Church. I desire to bless and support all mothers in obtaining the sacraments for their children.
Some read into my letters a hidden message that I am refusing to baptize the children of single mothers or those not married in the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth. During thirty years as a social worker I came to appreciate the challenges mothers face in real life today. I wish to increase marriage in the Church, so that when a mother asks to have her child baptized, her choice to be a Godparent will be eligible under Canon Law. In Baptism a child is born into the Church, which demonstrates the parents desire the child be raised in the Catholic faith. My openness is seen in helping a civilly married couple to get married on a Friday, so they could be Godparents on Saturday.
As your priest, I am an instrument of the grace that flows from the wounded Heart of Jesus in the sacraments of Holy Mother Church. I desire to help all who ask for the sacraments to encounter the mercy of God. Motherhood is a divine gift that flows from the dignity of being made in the image and likeness of God. Today, I bless all mothers. You are the heart of the family and parish. Your motherly love enables our parishes to be communities that make the love of Christ present.
Your Servant in Christ, Father Paul