Fr. Bob has asked me to preach today, the Mothers’ Sunday, with particular reference to the way it is celebrated in Nigeria. Over there, their own celebration is slightly different than here. It is not basically giving of cards and flowers to one’s mom and other gifts but much more. It is rather a broader view of mothers’ role for children beyond the family circumference. Historically, this celebration is fixed on a Sunday close to the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary when she received the Good News that she would conceive and become the Mother of our Savior.
The intention of this celebration is that mothers may learn and share the virtues of Mary, who is the Mother of all Mothers. Her virtues in the holy family of Nazareth could help educate mothers in their own families and beyond. The priest could highlight these qualities of Mary in his homily.
Before the day of the celebration, the mothers must have outlined their programs for the day. They may have decided to visit nursery and primary schools in their parish to present gifts to them, such as loaves of bread, cookies, candies, fruits and so on through their teachers to demonstrate their love for them as mothers.
On the Sunday of the celebration they will attend Mass wearing the diocesan uniform for women. They will be the ushers for that day, readers at Mass, and other functions not usually done by them. At the end of Mass before the social activities as they had mapped out, they will visit the parish house to present food items to their priest(s) as mothers. Then the kick off of the activities will begin which could consist of a march passing by groups of women of the parish and the pastor takes the salute, or a cultural dance of groups among them or a comic soccer game of about thirty minutes on the school ground or other activities as they have planned. All these are done to entertain the parishioners and to create an atmosphere for relaxation and fun for all. At the end of these socials, food is served to all.
At home the mothers receive gifts of different kinds from their children in appreciation of the love they have received and continue to receive from their mothers in life. Their husbands could also show some gestures. They could echo the song, “Sweet Mother,” as we may have heard waxed in a musical plate. From the time I became a priest, on such a day after my parish activities I would drive home to visit my mom. Then my siblings and I would offer her our gifts and share the joy of the day with her. In this way families could learn the love and gestures that promote peace and love in the family. Thank you.