foster fathers’ feast

I took this picture a few years ago at Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The carving is of St. Joseph with a young Jesus. It is a rare and powerful portrayal of a delightful moment in this father-son relationship.

On March 19 we would usually celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus. This year the Sunday takes precedence, but many of us will still remember Joseph. In the Office of Readings  for the feast, the reading from St. Bernadine of Siena repeatedly highlights one central aspect of his life and mission: he was the foster father of Jesus.

I am thinking especially today of the many men who are loving (as fathers), children who are not their own biological offspring.  Today, more men than ever are in this situation. There are many reasons for this reality. But how these men found themselves as foster fathers is not as important as the fact that they are now called by God to love, as fathers, their foster children.

Some of these men are providing fatherly love to children who in earlier years were denied this love, or who tragically were mis-treated and unloved by their ‘fathers’.

Many foster-fathers are replacing lost fathers, or sharing the role of fatherhood for perhaps a few hours or days each week.

Whatever your situation as a foster father, today (the feast of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus) we celebrate your feast day.

And today especially we pray for you.

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