By JOEY REISTROFFER
GAFFNEY — To honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sacred Heart Parish held a May Crowning on Mother’s Day. It was a special event as the parishioners marched around the church, holding high a statue of the Blessed Mother and singing “Immaculate Mary.”
The procession inspired Anna Wilkins. “I thought it was beautiful. It really showed the Blessed Mother has a special place in our lives.”
Emily Paluszak said this was the first May crowning she had ever been to. “It gave Mary the honor she deserves,” Paluszak, a mother of three, said. “It made me realize how lucky I am to have this vocation.”
Father Gary Linsky, pastor of Sacred Heart, said some folks in the neighborhood might get the wrong idea about the May Crowning and the special procession.
“Oh, what must they think of us … worshiping this statue?” Father Linsky wondered about the church neighbors.
Then he set his parishioners straight.
Catholics do not worship Mary. They do show her great respect and honor for her role in salvation history, however. The Bible is clear about this, Father Linsky said. “We worship God alone. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Him alone shall you adore. Him alone shall you bow down in front of because worship is for God and no other. The Bible tells you, ‘I am a jealous God.’
“So brothers and sisters, if you leave here and you have the foolish temerity to tell someone we came to the Catholic Church to worship Mary, you are wrong. But you did come this day to give her the great veneration and the respect that she deserves.”
Motherhood, Father Linsky said, is not easy. It brings with it a tremendous burden of responsibility. But mothers bear that burden out of love. And to truly understand the core mysteries of love, we must turn to Jesus on the Cross, the Gaffney pastor said.
He died for us, he died for our sins. That is unconditional love, said Father Linsky.
Today, he added, motherhood “gets a bum rap … And yet, motherhood is perhaps the most important vocation in the world.”
Mothers are the primary nurturers of their children. Mothers are the primary teachers of the faith. That is where faith is handed on, and that is a tremendous task that all mothers must carry with them their whole lives, said the pastor of Sacred Heart.
“Believe me. You will never cease being a mother,” he said. “You will always have responsibilities. Why? Because you have borne a child, and that will never cease to be a part of your existence and your identity for the rest of your days.”
Then Father Linsky told the story of a 92-year-old grandmother who had seen her children and grandchildren grow up.
“I have to pray for them. I have to worry about them. Who will take care of these things if I’m not around?” she told Father Linsky.
That touched the priest as he addressed the mothers of his parish.
“We want to remind you of how important you are to us. How important you are to your children. How important you are to God,” Father Linsky said. “We want to lift you up today.”