Happy Mother’s Day: St. Gianna Beretta Molla, the patroness of our Parish Mom’s Ministry, was a physician and mother. She literally gave her life so that her daughter might live. St. Gianna wrote: “Every vocation is a vocation to material, spiritual and moral maternity, because God has placed in us the instinct toward life. The priest is father; the sisters are mothers, spiritual mothers. Woe to those children who do not accept the vocation to maternity. To prepare oneself for one’s vocation means to prepare oneself to be a giver of life. There are many difficulties, but with the help of God we must always walk without fear, so that if in the battle for our vocation we must die, that would be the most beautiful day of our life.”
While St. Gianna literally died for her maternal vocation, mothers everywhere die to self, making extraordinary sacrifices for their children so that they can experience life in abundance. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. None of our mothers is “just a mom”; they are extraordinary. This Mother’s Day we express our profound gratitude to mothers everywhere. May God bless you!
Just as we have heroic mothers here below, as Catholics, we know that we have Mary as our Mother. May is the month for honoring her. Before dying, Jesus saw his Mother beneath the Cross with the beloved disciple. He said: “Woman, behold, your son!” and asked his Mother to care for the disciple as a son. He continued, speaking to the disciple (and to us): “Behold, your mother!” From that hour, the beloved disciple took Mary “to his own home” or rather into his inner life – “eis tà ìdia”. This means introducing Mary, the Mother of God, into the very fabric of one’s being; it is not merely some external practice of piety, but it means imitating her faith, her faithful surrender to God’s will. Casting our gaze on the Virgin, we can discover the depths of our relationship with our spiritual mother and understand that she intercedes for us with her prayers in the face of challenges.
Just as mothers welcome children into the womb and bring them into the world, and just as Mary welcomed Jesus into her virginal womb and brought forth joy to the world, so too the Church is a mother who gives birth to children of God through the waters of baptism, but part of being a church and a parish is to be welcoming, especially to young families with small children who are attempting now to return to church. While some prefer silence or a quiet Mass, no one should make another feel unwelcome in God’s house simply because they have children who are at times rambunctious.
Rather, children’s noise is a sign of life within a parish. Moreover, it is written in the scriptures, “On the lips of infants and babes, O Lord, you have found perfect praise to silence the foe and the avenger!” I ask that everyone make an extra effort to be welcoming and patient with young children. St. John Bosco says, “It is always easier to get angry with a child than to show patience!” Let us imitate the example of Jesus who is patient with us and who said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them!”
Change: Change is difficult for many people, but change can also be a good thing. I wish to announce a few changes here at St. Ignatius that will be happening in the near future. First, there will be a change in faces around St. I’s. As announced at last weekend’s Masses, Father Christian Cone-Lombarte has been appointed as the new parochial vicar here, effective July 1, 2021. He has been ordained two years and has been serving in the Fort Recovery Cluster in the northern part of the Archdiocese.
I have been blessed to have the companionship of Fathers Ethan Moore and Chris Komoroski at the rectory this year; however, sometime this week, they will take up residence at Sacred Heart Church in Camp Washington. The Archbishop wanted them to live closer to the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Furthermore, in addition to St. Monica-St. George and Holy Name Church, they have also been asked to shepherd Annunciation Church in Clifton. Please pray for them as they continue their important ministry to young people.
This summer two seminarians will live with me: Deacon Jacob Lindle, who is from a large Westside Cincinnati family, and Benj Klare, one of our own parishioners. Another seminarian from our parish, Joey Graff, will likely work with our maintenance crew on our parish grounds. Let’s support these young men in their vocations with our prayers.
There will also be some changes at Mass. As more people return to Mass, there is a need for greater capacity inside church. The parish has been unable to recruit enough volunteers to consistently staff overflow seating in Loyola Hall. After some discussion, recognizing that a greater number of people have been vaccinated, as well as people’s increasing confidence to venture out, and wanting to balance these factors with people’s continuing concern over the pandemic, the parish Worship Commission thought a possible solution would be to do the following, beginning the weekend of May 15-16:
The sections of church nearest the school and nearest I-74 will be “every row seating” and will be available to those who feel comfortable sitting every row. Masks and some social distancing are still required. Those who sit in those sections will form a procession at the time of Communion, exiting their pews to the left and moving to the right to receive Communion and to return to their pews. For those who do not feel comfortable in that seating arrangement, the large center sections of church will remain “every-other-row seating” and Communion will be distributed in the pews. More information will appear elsewhere in this bulletin and through the parish website, Flocknote, and social media outlets. Live-streaming of all Masses will continue.
I am happy also to announce that parish music groups/choirs will resume at the end of May. Things will not be “full force” or may not be back to “normal”, but at least we will have a more “robust” group of voices making beautiful music for the Lord. Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Finally, on this Sixth Sunday of Easter, let us heed the words of our Second Reading: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.”
– Fr. Fernandes