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Kathy
 

Our founder Kathy Eckert at our Twilight Retreat.

 

The History of MOM Heart of the Home

The inspiration for MOM Heart of the Home ministry began on Saturday, September 8, 1990 when Mrs. Kathy Eckert, Ministry Founder attended a healing service at Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Media, Pennsylvania. During the service, a quiet peace enveloped her and then a picture came to her mind’s eye. It was a picture of a large assembly of women.

The assembly was in an auditorium with balconies that were filled with women. There were colorful banners and a sense of peace and joy filled the air. At that time, Kathy wondered what this picture in her mind's eye meant. Then she heard the words, "An Archdiocesan Day of Renewal for Mothers."

When the service ended, Kathy told the Prayer Leader what she had experienced, hoping she would shed light on this imagery. The Prayer Leader simply said, "Pray. God will direct you." Kathy wondered about that image, and, of course, she did pray. A few weeks later, she told her confessor about the experience and imagery, and he also said, "Pray." She prayed and prayed.

After a year of prayer, Kathy sent a letter to Cardinal Bevilaqua and asked if the Archdiocese of Philadelphia would have a Day of Renewal for mothers. Her letter was forwarded to the Family Life Office, and their response made her realize it was not the time.

Kathy, a wife and mother of four went on with her life, but the thought continued to come to her mind that there should be a renewal day for mothers. She decided it was time to write the Office of Evangelization. Since mothers are the first evangelizers to their children, surely the Office of Evangelization would see the benefit of putting on a day of renewal for mothers. Well, once again her letter was forwarded to the Family Life Office. This time, however, the Family Life Office contacted her and invited her to meet with them to discuss this proposal. Though the Family Life Office was genuinely interested in the idea, due to financial constraints and lack of manpower, they said it was not feasible.

Kathy felt that she was back to square one but continued to pray. She wondered what was God asking of her and felt like she was pestering God with this incessant desire for a day of spiritual renewal for mothers. She felt bewildered, impatient, and began to doubt herself. She wondered, was it a vision she saw on that September day in 1990? Was it her imagination....and not God's inspiration? She questioned herself; argued with herself and wanted to forget the whole matter and give up any thought of it. But somehow the imagery she received would come back to her. She couldn’t shake the idea of having a renewal day for mothers, it just kept coming back. She would hear a homily at church, or a song, and even a movie that would charge her to once again move forward.

Kathy's family knew she was struggling with how this dream could be accomplished . One day, her daughter came to her and said, "Mom, I read this scripture verse and I think it's meant for you." From Habakkuk 2: V2-4

"Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late."

That day Kathy made a commitment to be patient and wait on the Lord. It was a turning point for her because she truly believed this was of the Lord. She accepted the message, stopped doubting herself, and would wait on the Lord.

In October 1994, Kathy had a phone conversation with a woman from a neighboring parish. She shared the image of a Mothers Renewal Day. The woman enthusiastically responded with the words, "Kathy, I'll help you!" She was encouraged by her friends offer and that day, it finally dawned on her... She said, “I was waiting for the Church to do something. And guess what??? I am the Church!" WE,…. YOU.. and I… are the Church! She finally got the message.

Kathy met with her parish priest who suggested a Mothers Renewal Day could be accomplished by starting on a small scale and building up. He suggested gathering a cluster of parishes together to organize a day. The picture became clearer. Then her pastor brought the idea to pastors of the Chester County Cluster 52 Parishes, and they gave it their blessing.

First Renewal Day
The first Renewal Day was planned by a group of mothers from Chester County Cluster Parishes who shared the desire to have motherhood uplifted and renewed. The first day was held on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1995....and 120 women attended.

The logo designed in 1996 by Denise Ceurvorst Ford is of Mary holding the child Jesus in the center of the church. It is a reminder that we should keep Jesus and Mary as the center of our home.

Naming this Ministry
One morning Kathy awoke with the name MOM - Heart of the Home. The word "MOM" is an Acronym for - Mary, Our Mother. Mary, our mother, heart of the home. It is right to honor Mary by placing her in the position of Heart of our Home.

(Jn 19:26-27) When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," (27) and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." At that moment Mary became our spiritual Mother. Mary spiritually nourishes her children and mediates on our behalf.

A Mission Statement was written to help keep the ministry focused.

Our Mission Statement
MOM - Heart of the Home Ministry is a movement for spiritual renewal in the Roman Catholic Church. It is dedicated to Mary, Our Mother. Mary, a Woman of Peace, intercedes for us as we seek to bring peace to our families, and to our world. Although originally designed FOR, BY and ABOUT mothers (since 1990), we now welcome women of all walks of life as they too are enfolded in the nurturing love of Mary Our Mother. Together we build community through newsletters and various projects.

By-laws were written and in 1999 an Executive Board was formed to help keep the organizational structure consistent and ensure the movement’s direction is in response to Christ’s call to the Church which is to build up the Body of Christ.

The Executive Board consists of a Lay Director, Assistant Lay Director, Treasurer and Secretary. Kathy Eckert’s term as Lay Director (1999 – 2002) was followed by Debra Glancey (2002 – 2005); Peg Choinski (2005 – 2008); Rosemary Christie ( 2008 to 2010); Lidia Manieri (2011 - 2014); and Maggie Scott (2015 - Present). Each of these women have shared their hopes, talents and service so that the ministry can continue to grow and serve mothers both in their relationship with God and others.

The organization of MOM - Heart of the Home received recognition as a Private Lay Association in December 1999, with a "Letter of Praise" from the Chancery Office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Each year hundreds of women attend Renewal Days throughout the Delaware Valley. This movement has grown because mothers have answered the call to serve the Lord through this special ministry. Renewal has spread into communities through individual counties promoting and preparing renewal days. Without the many mothers who come forth to volunteer, these days would not happen.

During Peg Choinski’s tenure as Lay Director, Loretta Ceurvorst requested that MOM – Heart of the Home be brought to the Rock Island Vicariate, Illinois. Loretta attended a Chester County day with her daughter Denise in 1996 and as often happens in this ministry, mothers who participate in a renewal day want to bring it to their area. Rock Island’s first renewal day was held in Spring 2007.

The first Archdiocesan Day of Renewal for Mothers was held at St. Charles Seminary on October 8, 2008. Cardinal Rigali celebrated the liturgy and encouraged catholic mothers to turn to Mary as guide and role model for their vocation.

MOM – Heart of the Home was introduced on the dates listed.

Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Chester County March 1995 - Active
Bucks County November 1996 - dissolved
Delaware County October 1999 - dissolved
Montgomery County September 2000 - dissolved

Archdiocese of Allentown
Berks County November 2006 - dissolved

Rock Island Vicariate, Illinois Spring 2007 - dissolved

The Contact Page of this website lists the current Executive Board members, Coordinators, as well as the newsletter and website contacts. These women continue the mission giving life and growth to this ministry. Please pray to Mary that through her intercession and the Holy Spirit’s prompting this ministry continues to grow and reach out to spiritually renew mothers so that we seek to bring peace to our families, and to our world. And, say a thank you prayer for these volunteer Moms who serve us so well!

With Gratitude,
Kathy Eckert, November 2009

2012. MOM Heart of the Home.