Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

What I Have Seen and Heard

By MOST REVEREND WILTON D. GREGORY | Published May 12, 2011

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Marie B. Craig was the 96-year-old mother of my now-deceased classmate and cherished childhood friend, Father Larry Craig. Larry died suddenly five years ago of an aneurysm, and Marie died last Wednesday. I had continued to call her on those certain special days, Larry’s birthday, our ordination anniversary and, of course, on Mother’s Day.

She was always so glad to hear my voice, as I was comforted to hear hers. I had known her gentle voice for nearly 50 years since I first met her son when we were high school students in the prep seminary in Chicago back in 1961.

I offered Mass for her in my residence chapel on the day I learned of her death, and I immediately asked the merciful Lord to grant her light, happiness and peace as she was now finally reunited to Bernie, her husband, who died suddenly in 1972, and to her priest son, Larry.

Mothers come in all different types—our own beloved mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, stepmothers, foster mothers, as well as others who fulfill a maternal role in our world. We each are fortunate to find mothers at special moments in our lives, and the importance and uniqueness of blood relationships are not the only ways that we are bound in love to them.

My own wonderful mother reminded me last week, “You know, next Sunday is Mother’s Day,” as though I would have forgotten. Few of us would ever forget Mother’s Day and not just because of the highly commercialized emphasis on this secular holiday. We don’t forget because a mother’s love would not allow us to forget.

It is the presence of the love of a mother that makes Mother’s Day one of the Sundays of the year consistently boasting a much higher than usual church attendance. Many folks remember that Mom always insisted that you must go to church on Sunday, and so even those who may be less than ordinarily faithful church participants succumb to the residual influence of Mom on Mother’s Day.

May is also the month that our Church identifies with our own Mother Mary in a special way. There are May crownings and other Marian devotions that take place in the month of May intended to remind all of us that this woman who give birth to the Son of Justice is also our very own Mother given to us while Christ was in the very act of dying on the cross.

Marian devotions are as Catholic as any religious traditions that we might follow. We Catholics understand that our love for and devotion to the Blessed Mother is an outgrowth and an expression of our love for her Divine Son. We see her as a real Mother, and May is a time when all mothers enjoy a special moment of affection from their children.

May should also be a month and an opportunity for all of us to reflect in gratitude on all of the women who have provided a motherly impact in our lives—from our own cherished mothers to all those who have loved, nurtured and cared for us and who continue to do so even today.

Marie Craig would always begin our telephone conversations: “Hello, Wilton darling!” Marie, may you be in the presence of the Mother of Mercy and at peace in our Father’s House—Amen!