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Remember your mother | May 9, 2023

I encourage everyone to remember their mother.

Archbishop Listecki

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee


This coming Sunday, May 14 is Mother’s Day. There will be cards, flowers, candy, gifts, and personal handmade artistic works made by young children that will adorn the refrigerator doors of various homes. On this day, I encourage everyone to remember their mother. If you are home, go with Mom to Mass, offer your communion for her and let her know that you are doing so. If you can’t visit, then make a phone call or send a card. If you are like me and your mother has gone to God, then remember her in special prayers, giving thanks for her presence in your life.

There may be others who occupied the maternal position in our lives, such as godmothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, aunts, and dear friends. When our mothers could not be present, they filled in, and they, too, should be remembered. I have often heard it said and some women have been introduced to me with the words “she was like a mother to me.” It is so important that they are also appreciated for the role they have played in our lives.

I know that my own mother would be extremely happy to share her Mother’s Day celebration with me this year because May 14 is also the anniversary of my priestly ordination. It does not seem like 48 years have passed since Cardinal John Patrick Cody placed his hands on me and 37 of my classmates’ heads, making us priests of the Roman Catholic Church. This moment began a transformation in my life. I would now belong to the Church as a priest and be an instrument of God’s grace.

After we emerged from the Chapel of St. Mary of the Lake, we proceeded to the piazza and took our places to bestow upon our family and friends our first priestly blessings. I can share with you that tears flowed freely as this moment signified a journey that took for some of us as many as 12 years. The tears were those of joy as we remembered the sacrifices made by so many, some of whom would be sharing in this moment from heaven.

The first Mass is a special celebration in the home parish, and as a native son, they rolled out the red carpet for me. My home parish held 2,000 and still it was standing room only. The traditional procession, in addition to priests and deacons, had the Knights of Columbus, the First Holy Communion class, and page girls. Even the street was dotted with Chicago Police officers, some of whom were grammar school classmates.

There was that special moment at my first Mass where I was able to offer the Eucharist to my mother, father, and sister. It was a thanksgiving to God for the privilege of standing “in persona Christi” (in the person of Christ) and now sharing the Lord Jesus with those who have cared for me over the years of seminary studies.

My assignments over the years have allowed me to be a member of many families, and so I have been the recipient of many maternal examples like the great Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire prayer: “To live in the midst of the world with no desire for its pleasures; to be a member of every family, yet belonging to none…”

As a priest, I have experienced being loved by so many who have shaped my life, and they form the memories that I carry in my heart forever. As I look back to the past, I give thanks for those cherished memories. I celebrate the present moment by asking God for strength to perform faithfully my duties, and I look to the future with hope that I will be found worthy to be united with all those who Love Him. Once again, I echo the words of Lacordaire: “O God, what a life, and it is yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ!”

On Mother’s Day, I will offer my prayers of thanks to My Mother and for all those women who have assisted me as a priest and bishop by their examples to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.      

Note: This blog originally appeared as the May 9, 2023, "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.

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