Immaculate Parenthood

Centrepiece of Nazareth is the Middle East's largest basilica, the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, where Mary is alleged to have received word that she'd been chosen to bear the son of God. So there it is, well lit up at night with a beautiful view of it from the balcony of St Margaret's Hostel. André and I had wandered down through the steep streets above it last evening and met pilgrims from somewhere having late night mass. But today our group visits with Sayeed, our guide telling us all about it. Constructed only in 1969, so not there on our last visit. 
We process religiously down to the lower level and pass the altar where Mary received the message; then to the large church upstairs. It really is huge. In the courtyard and around the church, dozens of mosaics donated by different countries portray the event in colourful expressions of their own culture. But no England, and no South Africa contributions (yet).

It seems all about Mary, with plenty of 'Hail Marys, full of grace and truth, blessed art thou among women.' Fair enough, she deserves to be honoured, as do all mothers, perhaps especially on a day when Hillary Clinton was not.

And I can remember my own good mother, and I especially remember the mother of our children - how I wish she could be with us here. And other mothers. 
But why not also honouring parenthood? Even if he was conceived immaculately, he was reared in a home where the values of both parents count. Perhaps that's why the church next door is called the Church of St Joseph.

I feel for those denied the privilege of parenthood, but feel honoured to be one myself.