On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Concepcion, Thursday, December 8th, the island Catholics from all parishes in Saipan filled once again Mt. Carmel Cathedral to celebrate the Mass and the annual traditional Lukao. The Most Reverend Ryan P. Jimenez D.D., Bishop of Chalan Kanoa presided the Solemn Mass and concelebrated by the priests of the diocese. Fr. Francis Hezel, SJ was the homilist and he reflected on the motherhood of Mary and more importantly on the truth that she is a mother to all.
“Mothers are always ready to embrace every member of the family,’ says Fr. Hezel. Reflecting on the scene of Mary with the beloved disciples John standing at the foot of the cross, Fr. Hezel said that on that moment Mary gained adopted sons, not only John but also the Roman soldier beneath the cross. “Jesus blood splattered not only on the beloved disciples but also on the Roman soldier. In this sense, Mary also became the mother of the soldier.”
Fr. Hezel then reflected on how Mary is also a mother of our multi-cultured island. “Here in Saipan, we are family who have come along way. You were baptized in the faith nearly 350 years ago at the time when faith is associated with death as it is today. Then there was a period in the 1700s when the population here was uprooted and brought to Guam for a century and a half. Finally in the late 1800s, the island was resettled not by one people but by two, Chamorros and the Carolinians. Two distinct languages, two distinct cultures. In 1930s and 1940s another group of people was added to the island, a new language, the Japanese. In the late 1960s, Micronesians began coming along with Filipinos. Then in the 80s and 90s more people come seeking jobs in the garment factories and finally we have the tourists, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese.”
“My friends this quite a parade of newcomers over the years and yet all of us have been sprinkled by the blood of Christ and hence we share the same mother.” So what does our mother expects from us? Simple, to get along with one another, to love one another, to open our hearts to one another. Fr. Hezel concluded by urging everyone to celebrate our history with gratitude.
“Our history has been difficult but Jesus gave us his mother to be our mother. A mother to all of us, not some of us, not only for the people who do the novenas and the churchgoers, but to all of us.”