Mother’s Day “calls us to cherish the gift of life that we receive from our mothers and to pray for all women to whom God has entrusted life in a special way,” the U.S. bishops say in their Mother’s Day Action Guide. “Mother’s Day provides an opportunity to pray for mothers while honoring and seeking the intercession of our Blessed Mother.”
Our world urgently needs our Blessed Mother’s intercession to inspire us to take action to heal the wounds that divide our human family, in our faith communities and in the public square. We need her intercession to help us come to terms with a pandemic that has left us exhausted and estranged from one another. We need her intercession to help us celebrate the women who love and nurture each of us, all children of a God who loves us despite our failings. Our Mother of Mercy expects no less from us.
Pope Francis launched a month-long prayer marathon May 1 for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, an initiative that inspired a member of our diocese to organize a prayer marathon in her own parish. The Holy Father asked our “Most loving Mother” to “grant that the sense of belonging to one great family, in the awareness of that bond that unites us all, might grow in the world.…” He prayed that with “a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we might come to the aid of the many people who are poor and the many situations of misery” (vaticannews.va).
Kudos to Candy Boucher, coordinator of Adult Faith Formation for St. Ann Parish in Long Grove, who felt moved to plan a community wide prayer marathon after learning last month about the pope’s call to prayer. It is not too late to join Candy and her parish. “Anyone who will agree to say ‘a prayer a day, all through May,’” is welcome to participate, she says. Call (563) 285-4596 for more information or send an email (email@example.com). “This is one thing we can agree on — that we can pray together. Let’s multiply our hands in prayer and see where it goes.”
On this Mother’s Day (May 9), we also should include in our prayers the people for whom the holiday may be difficult, as the U.S. bishops point out. Please pray for “married couples struggling with infertility; parents who have lost a child; those who have lost their own mothers; couples longing to welcome a child through adoption; and women and men who are suffering because of their participation in abortion.”
Please add to your prayer list mothers in need. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asks us to encourage our diocese and parishes to implement “Walking with Moms in Need” to work toward a society where all mothers and children are protected in law and welcomed in love” (visit walkingwithmoms.com for more information).
Let us also pray for immigrant children separated from their parents. Visit the Iowa Catholic Conference website (iowacatholicconference.org, April 11, 2021 newsletter) to find a complete list of Catholic organizations working directly with migrants at the border and in facilities for unaccompanied children.
We entrust our Blessed Mother with our intercessions because, “In her life the Virgin has been a model of that motherly love with which all who join in the Church’s apostolic mission for the regeneration of mankind should be animated” (“Dogmatic Constitution of the Church,” No. 65)
In his 1987 encyclical, “Redemptoris Mater,” St. John Paul II said, “Mary’s motherhood of the human race … emerges from the definitive accomplishment of the Redeemer’s Paschal Mystery. The Mother of Christ, who stands at the very center of this mystery — a mystery which embraces each individual and all humanity — is given as a mother to every single individual and all mankind” (No. 23).
On this Mother’s Day, let us cherish the gift of life we received from our own mothers, and pray for our Blessed Mother’s intercession to inspire us to share a maternal love with our entire human family. A good place to start: pray the rosary.
Barb Arland-Fye, Editor