The mothers of priests and seminarians deserve the thanks of the whole church for raising their sons in the faith and supporting them in their vocations, said Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.
Writing on the Jan. 1 feast of Mary, Mother of God, the cardinal said
having a priest-son requires a new form of motherhood, one that involves
a "discreet, but very effective and invaluably precious accompaniment
Cardinal Piacenza's letter was posted, in Italian, on the website of the clergy congregation.
When a man becomes a priest, he said, everyone in his family is touched
and is called to a deeper conversion, but "unique and special are the
spiritual consolations that come from having carried in your womb one
who becomes a priest in Christ."
Obviously, he said, seminary studies and priestly ministry often take a
man further from home and from regular family life, but the physical
separation is replaced by a closer spiritual bond, he said.
"The experience of the church teaches that the mother 'receives' her
priest-son in a completely new and unexpected way, so much so that by
the will of God she is called to recognize in the fruit of her womb a
'father,' who is called to generate a multitude of brothers and sisters
and accompany them to eternal life," the cardinal wrote.
While "every mother of a priest is mysteriously a 'daughter of her
son,'" Cardinal Piacenza said, she also is called to continue offering
him her maternal support, particularly through her prayers.
"Such a work of authentic support, always necessary in the life of the
church, seems even more urgent today -- especially in the secularized
West, which is awaiting and asking for a new and radical proclamation of
Christ," he said. "The mothers of priests and seminarians truly
represent an army that raises prayers and offerings to heaven from earth
and, with even greater numbers, intercedes from heaven so that grace is
poured out on the lives of holy pastors."