As we celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, what are your feelings about the day on which we honor our mothers?
This is a wonderful day to gather as a family to thank our mothers for how much they have given of themselves to protect and nourish their family. It’s a time when we pause to more deeply appreciate the persons that they are – or if they have died, the persons that they were to us – and to thank God for them. We ask God’s blessings for those mothers who are still among us, and we pray for those who have gone before us that they may be celebrating the fullness of life in God’s kingdom. It’s important that on Mother’s Day we acknowledge our mothers by not just saying, “Happy Mother’s Day!” I think it would be great if family members could remember specific actions of their mothers that encouraged them along the way. We also want to remember on this day adoptive mothers, foster mothers, single mothers, step mothers, grandmothers and anyone else who has been a mother figure in our lives. We also are mindful on Mother’s Day of those women who desire motherhood but who are struggling to conceive. We pray for them as they experience this pain and at time a sense of isolation. I recognize that for some people, this day may be painful because of their childhood experiences. Sometimes those experiences are hurtful. So, on Mother’s Day, we pray for those hurting that God will help them heal in such a way that they will be able to move beyond their pain. We raise all of them to the Lord on Mother’s Day.
What role does the Blessed Mother play for Catholics in terms of the gift of motherhood?
We have the ideal model of Mary, who not only gave birth to Jesus but also walked with him and cared for him. We don’t know much from the Scriptures about Jesus’ childhood, but we do know that he learned his prayers and his Hebrew Scriptures from Mary and Joseph. Mary instructed him in life, loved him tenderly and taught him how to love, forgive and pray. We also see Mary standing at the foot of the cross with her son. She was with him every step of the way on his journey to Calvary as her son was treated without dignity. I often think of mothers who have lost a child, and I cannot imagine the pain they must feel every day of their lives. I would encourage them to turn to the Blessed Mother and share with her the pain of their experience. How many women have miscarried or lost children at birth? How many mothers in our archdiocese have had to bury their own sons or daughters because of violence? Mary can be a source of comfort and consolation.
Can you tell us about your mom?
My mom was Yvonne (Higgins) Aymond, and I would say she certainly formed my two sisters and me in faith and helped us to come to know Jesus and to be his disciples. I admire her fidelity to the Mass and to going to confession regularly. She was a true woman of faith. She sacrificed her life for others and especially for her three children. She always had a welcoming spirit. The door to our house was always open. No one who ever came to our house ever left hungry. She had enough food for everyone. She was a homemaker and she was involved in the Mothers’ Club at St. James Major in Gentilly. I realize many mothers today have no choice, and they have to work outside the home to make ends meet. This can be a very challenging experience when children are sick or have special needs. Motherhood is a true vocation, a call from God.
On Monday night, May 14, at St. Angela Merici Parish in Metairie, you will be bestowing the Regina Matrum Award on Alma McNamara for her wonderful example as a Catholic mother.
The Regina Matrum is always one of my favorite awards to give out because you can see the love being poured out by a mother for her family. Motherhood is a call from God – a vocation – to share in Mary’s role. The Regina Matrum gives me a chance to thank Alma and to pray for all mothers that they have the perseverance and strength to remain faithful to their vocation.
Questions for Archbishop Aymond may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.