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Putting God and Family First - Family Reflection Video

Putting God and Family First - Family Reflection Video

Strengthening family unity  |  Healing the family

In Father Willy Raymond's homily, he recounts a moving story of the importance of putting God and family first.




After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping the spark of love alive. I started going out with another woman—it was really my wife's idea. "I know that you love her," she said one day, taking me by surprise. "But I love you," I protested.  "I know, but you also love her."


The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother., who has been a widow for nineteen years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called her to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.  "What's wrong? Are you well?" she asked. My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late-night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.  "I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you," I responded. "Just the two of us."  She thought about it for a moment, then said, "I would like that very much."  


That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up, I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed nervous about our date; she waited inside the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's.  "I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed," she said as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting." 

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as though she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu to her. Her eyes could only read large print. Halfway through the entrées, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. "It was I who used to have to read the menu to you when you were small," she said. "Then it's time for you to relax and let me return the favor," I responded. During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation—nothing extraordinary—but catching up on recent events in each other's life. 

We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we returned to my mother's home, she said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you." I agreed. "How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home. "Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered. A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her.  

Some weeks later, after the funeral, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place my mother and I had dined. An attached note said, "I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure I couldn't be there, so I paid for two plates, one for you and one for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you." At that moment, I understood the importance of always saying, "I love you," and giving our loved ones the time they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and family—make that time today.


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About Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C.

Father Wilfred J. Raymond, C.S.C. (Father Willy), a native of Old Town, Maine, is the eighth of 12 children. He joined the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1964 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1971. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Stonehill College in 1967 and a master’s in Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 1971. He served in ministry at Stonehill College (1979-1992), Holy Cross leadership (1994-2000), National Director of Family Theater Productions, Hollywood (2000-2014), and President of Holy Cross Family Ministries (2014-2022). In addition to English, he is conversant in French and Spanish. He remains a diehard fan of the Boston Red Sox, even though he has served as Chaplain for the Los Angeles Dodgers.