Dear Parishioners: We are grateful to Bishop Evans for celebrating the Special First Anniversary Mass for Monsignor Lolio this past Monday. Along with our school children there was a large crowd of parishioners and Monsignor’s sister, Sheila. It was a wonderful way to remember Monsignor and pray for the repose of his soul. May he rest in eternal peace. Bishop also blessed a new statue of St. Joseph that was donated in memory of Monsignor Lolio. In his homily, Bishop Evans reminded the school children that St. Joseph is the Father of Jesus and the Patron of the Universal Church. How appropriate that Monsignor Lolio who was the spiritual father of Our Lady of Mercy for two decades be honored in such a way. Until we locate a fitting place for St. Joseph he will reside in the candle room where we can call upon his intercession for our parish.
Congratulations to the children of our parish who make their First Holy Communion this weekend. What a great day for our parish and for their families to celebrate with faith, hope and love the reception of the Eucharistic Lord into their lives for the very first time. These children have been preparing all year for this big day and practicing all week for this weekend. It is always such an uplifting experience to see these little ones come forward to receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion so prayerfully and reverently. As we rejoice with them and offer our prayers for them, perhaps we might also reflect on our own reception of Holy Communion.
We might ask ourselves a few questions: are we prepared properly to receive Holy Communion? Do we keep the Communion Fast of not eating or drinking one hour prior to receiving? Do we go to Confession regularly or when in a state of serious sin? How reverently and prayerfully do we receive Communion? Whether we are receiving Holy Communion for the first time or the one thousandth time, we all need to pause and pray about what we are doing.
This weekend we pause to pray for all Mothers as we celebrate Mothers’ Day. The celebration of Mother’s Day dates back all the way to ancient times, but the idea of the celebration was first kicked around in 1872. Julia Ward Howe, author of the words to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” proposed Mother’s Day as a day dedicated to peace. But it was Ann Jarvis of West Virginia, however, who really pushed for a national day to honor mothers. On the second anniversary of her mother’s death, Jarvis asked her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia, to celebrate a day to honor mothers. Thanks to a campaign by Jarvis and her supporters, by 1911 almost every state celebrated Mother’s Day. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday.
The late Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty, the Primate of Hungary in the mid-20th Century and a staunch defender of the faith against the Fascists and Communists, once wrote on Motherhood. His words are a beautiful reflection for our celebration of Mothers’ Day. He wrote: “The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral------a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body. The Angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's Creative miracle to bring new Saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creatures. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?"
May God Bless all Mothers. May we always be mindful of their love and dedication. May we always remember them in our prayers while they are with us and when they’ve gone before us in faith. Cardinal Mindszenty is correct: “What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?” Happy Mothers’ Day! Remember to join us for May Devotions.