Over the last several weeks, many of us have attended graduation ceremonies or graduation parties. We have celebrated our young people who have reached some milestone or other in their young lives. We congratulate all of them for their achievement. We entrust them to the care of our Heavenly Father as they move on to new pastures and new adventures.
As we look at all the graduates, we cannot but think of their parents. These young men and women have reached this milestone in their lives because of the hard work and sacrifice of their parents. The more I work with people as a priest, the more I discover the crucial role played by families in the development of their children. Our graduates are blessed with wonderful parents who are dedicated to their welfare. I want to congratulate all the mothers and fathers who should be proud of the accomplishment of their sons and daughters.
As we celebrate Father’s Day, I would like us to remember the unique and irreplaceable role played by fathers. Both for boys and girls fathers are crucial. We do give a lot of credit and attention to our moms, and rightly so. However, we should not forget our dads. They play a significant role in the development of their children. Very often the sacrifices they make on a daily basis can easily go unnoticed.
Today I think of my own father who was a great model for me in every sense of the word. He was a devoted husband who always treated my mother with great respect and warmth. I don’t remember him ever saying an unkind word to her. He worked very hard. He was a professor of World History and Logic at a Jesuit university called Loyola College for more than forty years. Even on the last day just before he retired he sat at his desk preparing his classes. My mother kept teasing him. He was a strict disciplinarian and most of the time I was at the receiving end of his disciplining.
More than in any other area, my father was my model in how a man should become holy. He prayed a lot. He went to Mass everyday whether there was sun or rain. He prayed before Mass. He prayed after Mass. When he returned home from Mass, he retired into his office to pray and meditate for another twenty minutes. He made sure there was family prayer every night. My brothers would look for errands to run when it was time for family prayer. My father would force them to kneel down. Before he went to bed, he would kneel by his bedside saying his personal prayers for almost twenty minutes. In all honesty I can say that my decision to follow my priestly vocation was greatly influenced by my father’s example and words.
I am sure you have many fond memories of your dad, living or deceased. Take some time today to thank God for your father. If he is alive, take the time to let him know how much you value him in your life. Talk to your children about your dad. If you are the wife, do encourage your children to appreciate their dad. Teach your sons that being a father is the greatest vocation for any man. As a family, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for your dads.
Here is a prayer that we all can use on Father’s Day:
God our Father,
in your wisdom and love you made all things.
Bless those fathers who have taken upon themselves the responsibility of parenting.
Bless those who have lost a spouse to death or divorce,
those who are parenting their children alone.
Strengthen them by your love that they may be and become
the loving, caring persons they are meant to be.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen
May God bless our fathers who have given us life and love! May we turn in grateful love towards our Heavenly Father to Whom all fatherhood on earth owes its existence!
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...