Happy Father’s Day and congratulations to all of our recent college and high school graduates!
Fatherhood is a vocation. It is God who calls men to share in His Fatherhood. In my spiritual and sacramental experience of fatherhood, my examples often start from natural fatherhood, most especially that modeled by my dad.
This year has been especially challenging for my father, because he had a stroke this spring. It has significantly aged him and at 91, that is presenting new challenges. If you were able to attend my 25th Priestly Anniversary, you heard how much I love him, and how much I have been inspired by his intelligence and above all his faith. He recently shared with me his gratitude to the Lord for his stroke. Yes, gratitude. My father keeps teaching and strengthening me, and I hope to be able in turn to do the same as your pastor.
Church law says that the pastor “is to strive to know the faithful entrusted to his care…. sharing in their cares, anxieties and sorrows, comforting them in the Lord.” These words reflect the Church’s vision of the pastor as the spiritual father of the parish family. What beautiful words for all fathers. Fathers are called to know their children, to help their gifts to blossom, and to share burdens and joys. Fathers are stewards of their children, because each child belongs to God. This is an awesome responsibility, and yet God will always give us the grace to exercise the offices given to us.
I often see young couples expressing some of the same awe at the prospect of having a family. They may say, “wow, we are not yet ready. We want to get to know each other better.” Or sometimes they express fears about being able to provide. We all fear our inadequacy, (or at least we should if we have any humility). Yet in Christ, all things are possible. Our fears can melt away in the loving embrace of our Lord. Dads: thanks for sharing in our cares, anxieties, and sorrows, comforting us in the Lord! May you continue to help us to know the Father’s love.
Thank you Dad, and all the other great examples of generous sacrifice.
And Graduates: always know who you are. Remain rooted in the family that the Lord chose for you, and the faith that He entrusted to you. Your Fathers are proud of you!
pax et bonum,
Father John Mosimann