Message from the Benefice

19 March 2023

Dear Friends,

The fourth Sunday during the season of Lent is also known as Mothering Sunday – I will not use the ghastly title that seems to be the modern vernacular known as Mothers’ Day. Mothering Sunday falls very close to, and sometimes on, one of the quarter days called Lady Day on the 25th March; or, to give it the full title, ‘The Annunciation Of Our Lord To The Blessed Virgin Mary’ which is where Mothering Sunday’s roots are.

Usually on the Saturday before Mothering Sunday my brother and I as schoolboys would visit the local village shops and buy our mother a present. Our pocket money in those days was one shilling and sixpence each (seven and a half pence in today’s coinage), therefore the gift was rather small. However, whether it was a small box of chocolates (you could buy them in those times with about 12 chocolates in the box), or a notebook and pen, or perhaps a cheap china ornament, it didn’t matter to Mother for whatever we gave her she treated it like gold and, however meagre, she knew it was purchased and given in love. It’s good to see children still buying gifts for their mothers and keeping the tradition alive today.

Now the bond between the mother and her baby is usually very strong though just now and again sometimes it’s not there. Janet and I fostered several newly born babies that eventually went for adoption. The baby that sticks in our memories was a little baby girl; when the mother gave birth she wouldn’t even look at the child and this dear and perfect little baby was given to us when she was only an hour or so old, still with no name. We cared for several other babies for all sorts of reasons where the mother couldn’t or wouldn’t or was unable to bring up the child. We cared for and loved the babies in our care; but our hearts went out also to those mothers who had given birth to them.

On this special Sunday in Lent it’s right that we should give thanks and remember all mothers. They carry out God’s work in assisting in God’s creation and in the caring and loving of humanity. Mothers in good, safe homes; mothers with no home; single mothers; mothers in broken or violent homes; mothers who have lost a son or daughter with special reference to mothers in the Turkey/Syria earthquake, Ukraine, Russia and other war torn areas; mothers caring for their children against desperate odds and women who have been violated yet still become a caring and loving mother. Finally let’s give thanks for women who cannot have a child yet carry that strong motherly instinct in their hearts.

Mary said, at her Annunciation, ‘be it unto me according to your Word’ – let us thank Mary for bearing Jesus and let us give thanks for all mothers for their part in bringing life into this world.

Bernard Rose, Honorary Assistant Priest

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