By: Deacon Marques Silva
How are you honoring your mother for the important May celebration this coming Sunday? You’ve got to do it, and she deserves it. While mothers all over the nation will be receiving breakfast in bed, flowers, cards and a host of other gifts, did you know the Church was celebrating this holiday for centuries? We called it Mothering Sunday, and we gave roses.
Long before Anna Jarvis held her memorial and started her campaign for Mother’s Day on May 12, 1907, and long before President Woodrow Wilson nationalized Mother’s Day in 1914, there was the Catholic Church. In the early Church, there was a deep sense of gratitude to the sponsoring church or Cathedral that birthed the Christian into a life of grace. As a result, an ancient and indulgenced tradition developed of visiting one’s mother church or cathedral where one was baptized on Laetare Sunday.
As a natural outgrowth of this tradition, the children would return home to visit and spend the day with their parents. As part of the celebration, “mother cakes” or simnel cakes were prepared. As you might imagine, roses were used in the churches, because the flower matched the vestments of the day. After Mass, it became tradition to take the flowers home to your mother. Additionally, “[o]ne tradition presents Mothering Sunday as an honor to St. Anne, the Blessed Mother’s mother, during which children would ‘go a’mothering’ and bring flowers, gifts and sweets to their mother.”
I hope that you have planned something, because we all know that if mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy. Besides, this is a great way to combat the culture of death by giving thanks and honoring the one who chose life that you may live.