Happy Mother’s Day! Whether you are a mom, grandma, godmother or stepmother, I hope that Mother’s Day is a time of grace and blessing in your life.
Mothers are really the first evangelizers of their children. From the very beginning of a child’s life, a mother sets an example for her child to love as Christ loved — by laying down her life for the life of her child. As she carries that child in her womb, as she delivers the child into the world, as she feeds the child in her arms, she is literally offering her body to her child. And as all moms know, the sacrifices that she must make for her children don’t end with childbirth. Moms make a lifelong commitment to deny themselves and take up the daily crosses that come with caring for children.
This is hard work and offering a day to celebrate the countless ways that mothers give of themselves for their children is the least we can do. We should all make a commitment to assisting and supporting our own moms, as well as the other moms in our lives. They have a sacred role, and we need to support them in that role.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, I am thinking about a particular group of moms who need our support — women who are facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies. There are many women who, for economic, medical or emotional reasons, feel uncertain about the prospect of having a baby. This is understandable, and we need to walk with women as they navigate this uncertainty.
Too often, the “support” offered to women in this situation is encouragement to have an abortion. This is no solution at all! It not only ends the life of a child, but it does great physical, emotional and spiritual damage to the mother.
Thankfully, God has overcome even the evil of abortion. For anyone who has been involved in an abortion, God desires to bring mercy and healing to your life. Turn to Jesus and ask for the grace of forgiveness and healing. He is waiting to restore your heart!
As Catholics, we believe that every person is created in God’s image. This means that each person is sacred and deserving of protection from the moment of conception. Because of this belief, we have a responsibility to show the world what it truly means to support and walk with moms in need! Here are just a few ways that we can do this.
First, you can start by letting the mothers in your life know they are appreciated. Let them know that their role is sacred and that you are praying for them. In addition, offer to help carry some of the crosses that come with being a mother.
Another way you can help is by getting involved with the many organizations that are dedicated to serving moms and families in need. We are blessed to have pregnancy care centers that serve women in a variety of ways across our diocese, from Marinette to Oshkosh, Manitowoc to Waupaca, and in between. Through Catholic Charities, we have funds to assist young families, as well as trained professionals who support women who choose to place their children for adoption. We also have the St. Gianna Clinic that offers Catholic medical care to women in need. You can learn more about these organizations and the programs they offer by going to the website listed in the graphic below. I encourage you to do some research about what services are offered in your area and see how you might be able to help support the work of these fine organizations.
Finally, work with members of your parish to prayerfully consider how your faith community can support moms in need. There is no shortage of ideas, from creating meal trains for new moms to holding diaper drives to having mentors who provide emotional and spiritual support for moms when life is tough. Get creative and let the Holy Spirit guide you.
The bottom line, friends, is that motherhood is a sacred role. None of us would be here without our mother and the sacrifice she made for our sake. Each of us has a responsibility to pay that gift forward by offering ourselves in service to all moms, especially those facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies.
May our Holy Mother guide us in honoring all mothers this Mother’s Day and throughout the year!
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavid Ricken.