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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Father’s Day, Father! By Mary Lou Rosien

Happy Father’s Day, Father!

By Mary Lou Rosien

My husband and I recently had our parish priest over for dinner. We totally enjoyed his company and I hope he enjoyed the food. After dinner we sat around and talked as our children started their homework. When my son came across some difficult math problems, it was Father Gonyo who jumped in to help him. He gave my son his time, attention and expertise (of which I am sadly lacking) in math. It was at that moment that I reflected on how our priests are truly fathers to us all.

As we approach Father’s Day I find myself thinking about that evening and about the role of our priests. They dedicate their lives to the Church, to us, and in doing so, they give up the possibility of having their own families. I know this is a welcome sacrifice for them, but it also deprives them of opportunities to interact as we did that evening at homework time. Often, our priests become close to those in their parishes only to be reassigned in a few years. Sometimes, they are taken away from their own parents and siblings as they are obedient to serving the Lord in the places the Church sees fit. They may grow old without any real family or support systems around them. Although they gladly serve, they can experience times of loneliness.

This Father’s Day, we can make a special effort to remember our priestly fathers as well as our earthly ones.

1/ Invite the parish priest into your classroom for a Father’s Day celebration or to your homes for dinner.

2/ Have your class make Father’s Day cards for your priest.

3/ Give your priest a spiritual bouquet from your class. For example: One child offers up a Hail Mary, another gives up chocolate for a day, still another offers their Mass and Communion for the priest, and so on.

4/ Show an interest in your priest as a person. Ask him to share why he chose the priesthood. When did he receive his calling? What are his favorite parts about being a priest? Does he have siblings? Sometimes we see our priests in the role that they fill and forget that they are human beings just like us.

5/ Greet your priest with a warm, “Happy Father’s Day, Father,” on Sunday, June 15th.

Although Father’s Day is a wonderful time to remember our priests, anytime kindness is shown is an appropriate time. Extending an invitation to your parish priest, a priest friend, or a retired priest to join you at dinner, a family outing or event, is almost always welcome.

To Father Gonyo, my husband, my dad and step dad, and to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day and may God continue to bless you.

Reprinted with permission. Originally appeared in OSV online Catechist Know How column, June 2008.

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