Hundreds of mothers gathered in Holy Rosary Church, Marylebone, on 23rd March for the annual gathering of the Diocesan Union of Catholic Mothers (UCM). Fr Michael Johnston, Parish Priest, welcomed them in his capacity as the newly-appointed Diocesan Chaplain. He made them laugh when he told them it was when he remembered that his mother had been a member that he thought he had better accept the Cardinal’s invitation; otherwise he would be in trouble when he met her on the other side! Fr Michael succeeds Fr David Irwin in the role; and due tribute was paid for Fr David’s generous service.
Mass was celebrated by Bishop Nicholas Hudson. He thanked the UCM for all they have given and continue to give of themselves as mothers, wives and as members of their parishes. This Mass taking place between the Solemnities of St Joseph and the Annunciation, he suggested we all have much to learn from both St Joseph and Our Lady, about fatherhood, motherhood, marriage and discipleship. Most touching, he said, was to contemplate the image of the newborn Christ child asleep in the arms of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Joseph looking on. ‘You can imagine him looking on the face of the little Jesus and telling himself, “So this is God-with-us. I’m looking at the face of God”.’
Bishop Nicholas went on to reflect on how much Jesus must have learnt from his parents about marriage, just as the children of UCM families will have learnt from their parents’ generosity and commitment. ‘You should always remember,’ he concluded, ‘the faith you show as a couple, your willingness to forgive, and the hope you express that you shall be together with God after this life is ended, will speak volumes to all who observe you: your children, your friends and all who share in the fruit of your marriage.’