for fathers

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.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, the father of Jesus. It Italy it’s also Father’s Day.

The vocation of fatherhood was often seen simply and primarily in terms of ruling over and providing for the household. In recent decades we have moved to a healthier understanding of parenting as a shared responsibility of leadership and provision. The primary role of a father is to love.

In the Office of Readings  for this feast, the reading from St. Bernadine of Siena repeatedly highlights one central aspect of his life and mission: Joseph 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 biological 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 father, today on the feast of St. Joseph the father of Jesus) we celebrate your feast day. And today especially we pray for you.

An Invitation:

In 2015 Pope Francis gave two of his Wednesday audiences to the theme of fatherhood. I thought you might appreciate his brief reflections – less than five minutes reading each.  Part One & Part Two

5 Responses to "for fathers"
  1. A beautiful feast day. Thank you for your reflection Fr John and the readings from Pope Francis. In another reflection, Pope Francis, in talking about St Joseph, also reminds us that we must not allow bitterness to poison the soul; and that, by accepting himself according to God’s design Joseph fully found himself, beyond himself. Such a lot to ponder on ; such a wonderful example to try and follow. Blessings on your day.

  2. Thank you, Fr John. A beautiful essay. In a very noisy and busy world, we dads are too often diverted away from our primary duty as loving fathers. A perfect day to be reminded of our responsibilities.

  3. Thanks you Fr John. I too have seen that sculpture in Los Angleles and I was very moved by it. Both Jesus and St Joseph are delighting in each other. One of the members of my family is raising a child not his own, and I thank St Joseph daily for the bond between them

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