Leaders of the Faith: A Focus on Mothers

Our Lady of Indonesia

This Mother’s Day, we reached out to priests and parish leaders around the world to hear the impact their mothers have had on their faith.

Jacqueline Marie | May 12, 2023

Whether biological, adoptive, or spiritual mentors, the mothers of our faith guide our understanding of God. From Jochebed’s protective plans that saved baby Moses (Exodus 2), to the bravery of  Mary’s “yes” to her divine motherhood (Luke 1), scripture shows examples of mothers with strength, intelligence, and boldness whose witness lead us deeper into our own faith.

This month we reach out and ask priests and parish leaders how mothers have lead them to the faith they have today.

“My mom prays and fasts for me every single time I’m preparing to go into a preaching weekend. I’ve depended on her prayers for years…and, as a result, my parishioners have been blessed.” 

– Father Simon Lobo CC • Saint Benedict Parish, Canada

Father Simon (backrow) above his mother (centre) with their family

“When my journey of faith began two years before high school, I met a lovely lady in the parish (she was not married and had no children) who prayed for us young people throughout my high school years. She was always there for us, accompanying us in our growth and being part of our youth meetings from week to week. I remember her as a kind of ‘spiritual mother’ who was always there for us.”

– Father David Zagorc • Parish of Celje-Sveti Duh, Slovenia

Sam and her mom

“My mom was integral in sharing the faith with me growing up. Through her example of generosity and hospitality, I learned that Jesus calls us to serve others and ask for nothing in return. When we share our gifts and hearts with others; we can then live in authentic joy as one of Jesus’ disciples.” 

– Samantha Santay • Director of Student Ministry, St. Patrick’s Parish, USA

“Mum was the one who introduced me to Jesus and to prayer. She sat on my bed every night, when I was very young, to teach me to end the day with Jesus. I still remember by heart the small prayers she taught me to pray. Mum was opening the door for me to later embrace a personal relationship with Jesus and to own my faith. That door was never closed. I had my moments, but I have never doubted that Jesus is real. I cannot think of a greater impact.”

– Father Pierluigi Vajra CRS • Our Lady of Lourdes Parish,  Australia 

"As a child, when life got very challenging for us, Mum took us to Mass each morning before school. Then we would pray and light a candle for our family. She taught me to turn to the Lord in times of trouble."

“When I told my parents about my vocation, my mother had already bought a beautiful card five years before my answer to God’s calling! 

On Mother’s Day in the Netherlands, May 10, 2015 Bishop Liesen ordained me as deacon. The Bishop referred in his homily…to the important role of mothers in giving the faith to their children…six months later he ordained me as priest.” 

Fr. Jochem van Velthooven • H. Catharina Parochie,⁠ Netherlands

Father Jochem at our Lady of Indonesia
Me and Ma
Diane and her mom, Mickey

“The older I get, the more grateful I am for my mother’s deep faith. Her life of Mass, prayer, and nightly rosary were woven into the everyday fabric of life and seemed “normal” to me. Little did I know that these daily acts of devotion would lead to such an extraordinary journey of faith in my own life and a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. Thanks, Mom!”

– Diane Moriarty • Pastoral Associate, St. Mary Catholic Church, USA