In the United States, the first Mother’s Day was celebrated by Anna Jarvis in honor of her late mother over 100 years ago in 1908. While Mother’s Day in the United States is a secular holiday, the Catholic Church has been celebrating the original “Mothering Sunday” since the earliest years of the Church.

The original Mother’s Day, “Mothering Sunday,” is a pious Catholic tradition that started in the earliest days of the Church and takes place on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in the liturgical season of Lent.

Laetare Sunday is a more celebratory day in the otherwise austere Lenten season. On this day, people would pay a visit and return to their mother Church where they were baptized, otherwise their local parish church or the nearest cathedral (the mother church to all churches in the diocese.) Those that returned to their mother Church on Mothering Sunday were said to have gone “a-mothering.”

The 1962 Roman Missal marks the day with a sense of maternal love, a love for the Holy Mother Church and Mary as the Mother of God and all Catholics.

“But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother.” – Galatians 4:26

The tradition was honored predominantly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and other Anglophone countries, especially starting in the 16th century; however, by the 1920s the tradition began to lapse.

If you want to pray for your mother or another, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a convenient list of intercessory prayers for mothers of all situations here.

Photo credit: laura.h /
Get our inspiring content delivered to your inbox every morning - FREE!



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here