More than 360 people packed the Mary, Mother of Mercy Chapel at Rookwood Cemetery last weekend for a very special Mother’s Day Mass.
It was standing room only with more than a hundred people crowded outside to remember all mothers including birth mothers, adoptive mothers, surrogate mothers, aunts, grandmothers, teachers and all women who have shared their faith.
Celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Terry Brady, it has become the most popular Mass held at Rookwood Catholic Cemetery each year.
A day of mixed emotions for many, the Mass not only recognises those who have lost a mother, but those who regret not becoming a mother or those who have had unhappy experiences with motherhood. Bishop Terry, whose own mother is buried at the cemetery, said the beautiful service was an opportunity for families and others to give thanks for the wonderful women who gave them life and often the primary educators in the faith.
“Over the last dozen years I have had the privilege of celebrating the annual Mother’s Day Mass for Deceased Mothers,” he said.
“Each year the numbers who attend continues to grow as does the cultural backgrounds of those attending.
“Many of those who come along have formed friendships with others over the years, so the gathering has a wonderful sense of community and a very strong sense of the presence of the Risen Jesus.”
Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria Client Services Assistant Nancy Murdocca attended the Mass in both a personal and professional capacity and said it was a lovely way of connecting with the inspirational women who were part of your life and no longer with us.
She said many people felt “a closeness” to their love one being in the cemetery grounds and found the Mass a real comfort on what can be a very difficult day.
“It’s a real day of mixed emotions for me as I wear both my professional hat assisting with the bereavement of those attending but I also have to deal with my own grief,” she said.
“Both my own mum and my grandmother, who I am named after, are buried here so it is a difficult day but by the same token I do feel a real sense of comfort knowing I am here with so many others going through the same emotions on Mother’s Day.
“Over the years the numbers attending the Mass have grown significantly and surprisingly those attending are getting younger which is not a reflection on their loved ones dying younger but more it is a beautiful way of keeping the memories of older people like grandparents alive.
“The Mother’s Day Mass is such an important event and one that is such a comfort to so many people.”
Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria offers a free bereavement service and can be contacted at [email protected]