May 14, 2023

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, it’s a time to reflect on the immeasurable impact that mothers have on our lives. The liturgy of the Church on this Sixth Sunday of Easter presents Jesus’ teaching about the connection between love and obedience. He tells his disciples, “If you love me, keep my commands” (Jn 14:15-21). This is a powerful reminder that love is not just an emotion, but an action. It’s something we do, not just something we feel. We see this principle operating in the life of mothers every day, especially in the sacrifices that they make for their children.

Mothers are often called upon to be the primary nurturers, protectors, and caregivers for their families. They are the ones who stay up late to tend to a sick child, who cook meals and clean up messes, who offer a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Being a mother can be exhausting, emotionally draining, and isolating at times. In these moments, it can be easy to feel alone and overwhelmed. Some women, understandably, are even afraid of being mother.

Yet Jesus goes on to say that those who love him will be loved by the Father, and that he will send the Holy Spirit to be with them always. Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit reminds us that we are never truly alone. God is with us, and his love and comfort are always available to us, no matter what challenges we may face. This promise brings great consolation in times when we feel lost, alone, or in need of guidance. It is especially relevant to mothers, who face countless challenges and struggles as they raise their children, and sometimes even as they continue to raise their children’s children.

To all mothers in our parish, I would like to let you know that the Lord truly appreciates you and your hard work. Like my own mother who courageously bore and raised seven children, and even some grandchildren, some days you probably wonder if what you are doing even matters. Perhaps you may feel that your work is never done; that you are always exhausted. There is certainly no big financial reward, since your role is neither defined by a paycheck nor by a promotion.  In an age that seems to diminish service and exalt glitz, sometimes it is simply hard to value your investment. Yet, the truth is that you are highly esteemed by God, and that your children are some of His most precious gifts to you (Psalms 127:3). As I have said to my mother more than once: “Many women have done these wonderful things, but you’ve outshined them all”, I can imagine myself saying the same to some of you.

And to anyone who might not feel a good reason to celebrate Mother’s Day, including those who did not have the blessing of a mother’s loving presence in life; anyone who has walked the hard path of infertility, fraught with tears and disappointment; any woman who mourns the loss of her child through abortion: I would like to express our Church’s spiritual closeness and understanding. Be assured that there are so many other maternal gifts that you can share in the faith community. I encourage you to seek the healing that God desires for you, then seek ways to be a mother that loves and encourages others.

Finally, to those who are pregnant with a new life, both expected and surprising, I wish to assure you that Holy Mother Church joyfully anticipates with you and accompanies you with prayers. Mothering is certainly not for the faint of heart, and I will be the first to salute all mothers as the real heroes in our midst.

Commending you all to the intercession of Mary, our heavenly Mother who accompanies us each day with her maternal love and divine protection, I assure you of my personal remembrance at the Altar on this very special occasion, and during the month of May.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Msgr, Cuong M. Pham