CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 19 August 2017

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A time for mothers

May is a month of family love. Apart from being dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother’s Day is also celebrated in May. This reminds us that we should honour both our mother in heaven and our mothers on earth.
 
Mother’s Day is an opportunity to respect women and honour the love that mothers lavish on their children. It has become everybody’s festival with a great variety of celebrations in the streets designed at expressing love and filial piety towards mothers.
 
Mary, Mother of Christ, is the most blessed among women and the role model of women. Today, she continues to take care of her children through her intercession, while mothers in their daily lives on earth are the support and hope of their children.
 
In his catechesis on January 25, Pope Francis publicly praised women for bringing hope and faith to people. The pope cited the Book of Judith, recalling the courageous figure of Judith who knew only God’s salvation could save her people from their enemies.
 
Pope Francis added, “She is courageous. She goes forward! This is my opinion: women are more courageous than men.” His words remind us to cherish and respect our mothers and grandmothers, all of whom have life experience and speak words of wisdom.
 
In Hong Kong society today, the divorce rate is high. Government statistics reveal that 20,075 divorces were granted in 2015. We can imagine how many children have suffered from parents’ separation and now belong to single-parent families.
 
We can believe that a considerable number are managed by mothers who also play the role of the father. Thus, on this Mother’s Day, we should show a lot of concern for the needs of single mothers.
 
In Chapter Eight of the apostolic exhortation, The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), Pope Francis discusses how to accompany and care for families in fragile situations. At present, there are quite a few diocesan organisations providing services in this area.
 
Apart from the column To Divorced Catholics inside the Divorce Survivor webpage of the Hong Kong Catholic Marriage Advisory Council, other organisations like Caritas Family Services and the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family also give professional service to those people who need support.
 
However, what many ordinary single-parent families need most is support in their daily lives. They need somebody to look after their children in case of emergencies, or maybe their children need help with their homework. All of these are services needed by our neighbours.
 
In fact, everyone can respond to these needs in some way, although this culture is yet to be fully developed. Perhaps parish priests may disseminate more the message of caring love and work towards creating a culture of pro-active mutual care in parishes so that everyone can become a neighbour to each other.
 
Many individuals are already aware of the needs of single-parent families and are ready to offer volunteers their assistance. However, they have no idea where to start. A culture of mutual help can be formed, beginning in parishes and accumulating experience.
 
Spreading family love, especially during May, is the responsibility of every Christian. SE