Motherís Day is a sentimental time for me.†† It has been a year and three months since my momís death.I miss her a lot and often include her and my dad in my prayers for the dead.When I visit their graves at the cemetery on Camano Island, I feel a sense of peace.The Communion of Saints has a greater reality for me, believing they are with God and somehow part of that ďcloud of witnessesĒ described in the Letter to the Hebrew (12:1).

On Motherís Day I also pray for the moms of our own parish.Some are struggling with economic or family problems.Some have raised their children, but continue to dedicate much time to prayer and concern for them.Some mourn the loss of a child, feeling an ache that does not go away.And so many, if not all, have made great sacrifices, which usually go unremembered, even by the moms themselves.On Motherís Day we in some way try to express our gratitude and to offer our prayers for them.

This last week I came across a poem that I liked.It says a lot about a motherís love.I donít know who the author is.I found it on a website operated by Lutherans for Life:

Mine

Do you remember the time and day
when I first smiled at you?
Or when I first told you
that I love you through and through?

Can you recall the many times
I cried upon your shoulder?
And you would make it better
and encourage me to be bolder?

Someday I'll grow up real big
and have to leave your nest.
And try to make it on my own
For you, I'll try my best.

But no matter how old we get,
and how we drift away in time,
I'll always keep you in my heart
and always call you "mine."

Motherís Day brings many emotions.For those who have lost a child or seen one take a wrong path, the day can bring a certain pain.Also for couples who have not been blessed with a child of their own, it is a difficult moment.The best course is prayer.I have known couples ready to give up, who through prayer and a blessing, have received the beautiful gift of a child.Other spouses have come to a deep peace, realizing Godís plan for them was to have spiritual children.

Parents often suffer feelings of guilt because of their own inadequacies.It is important to remember there are no perfect mothers Ė except one.This is a good day to turn to her intercession.†† I would like to conclude with a prayer to our Blessed Mother.Many of you know it by heart and say it every day.†† Attributed to St. Bernard, it goes back many centuries and has brought blessings and comfort to great numbers of Christians:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

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Our Annual Catholic Appeal has gotten off to a good start.I am grateful for the presentations by John Walicki and Deacon Ted Wiese at the English Masses.Although all the results are not in, as I write this bulletin we have received 391 pledges for a total of$30,144.Remember our parish participation goal is 900 families and $90,000.If we can reach this objective, we will receive a forty thousand dollar rebate to be used for our building and maintenance program, especially the ongoing seismic work of the school.If you have not yet turned in your Annual Appeal Envelope, please fill it out and drop it by the rectory or in the Sunday collection.

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The execution of Timothy McVeigh has been scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, May 16. Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation made this statement:

"As members of Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation, a national organization of people who have lost a family member to homicide and oppose the death penalty,our hearts know that pain for which there are no words. With the surviving family members of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, we share lives that involve a continual healing process. Empty chaires at holidays, disbelief and anger at unexpected times, and moments of quiet tears are part of our reality as victims. As victims we oppose the death penalty...We believe that cold calculated killinng by our government, replicating the very act of violence that brought us our pain, dishonors the lives and memories of our beloved..."

The full statement can be found on the vestibule bulletin board, as well as that of Bud Welch whose daughter was killed in the April 19, 1995 bombing. Also it is well know that the Holy Father and U.S. Bishops have asked for a stay of his execution.

I would only add one other consideration. For us Christians the most important question is not whether Timothy McVeigh dies on May 16 or some future date. What really matters is where he spends eternity. Even though he had a Catholic upbringing, it appears he has no sense of remorse for the great crime he committed. My own prayer is that, while he still has the possibility, he will repent and ask forgiveness of God - and the families of those he murdered.