loving fathers

Mar 19, 2020

COVID-19 is the universal topic of conversation in every part of the world.  While throughout every year the realities of vulnerability and fear leave many people feeling alone and isolated, in these Coronavirus days there is a strong sense of shared uncertainty and fear.

I had a video meeting yesterday with several friends in Italy, each in isolation in their own homes. Their reflections were centred on the presence and action of Jesus in the midst of this crisis. Some were couples, some single, some with children with one couple holding a toddler and their new-born baby.

It was clear to me that they were seeking contact with those who would help to open their natural anxiety and fear with the hope-filled perspective that Jesus Christ brings.

And today in Italy, one of the countries most affected by the virus, is Father’s Day because it is the feast of Joseph, the father of Jesus.

I took the picture above 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.

I am thinking especially today of the many men who are loving fathers, including those who like Joseph are father to 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 Food For Faith readers pray for you.

An Invitation:

  • Take a few moments today to remember your own father, living or dead, with all his gifts and imperfections. Remember the times he was there for you, and the times when his imperfections and compulsions led him to put his own projects before your need for love. Now thank God that he worked through your father, the “good enough father” (ref this link)  to form you.
  • Let’s also today remember and pray for all parents and all people who are struggling with anxiety caused by the Coronavirus.

Prayer for a Pandemic
by Cameron Wiggins Bellm

May we who are merely inconvenienced,
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May those who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose
between preserving their health or making their rent.
May those who have the flexibility
to care for our children when schools close
remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel trips
remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May those who settle for quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love during this time
when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us find ways to be the loving embrace to God and our neighbour.


  1. May you Father John and all fathers be blessed and strengthened today.q

    • Today at our school we celebrate the feast day of Saint Joseph. We are not having a mass but a liturgy of the word outside. It is a time when we as a faith community need to find ways to reach out to others, to ally fears in our children and help them to develop their faith and use that faith to gain strength. Thank you for your wise words. I will share the prayer with our staff and older children. God bless.

  2. Happy Saint Joseph’s Day,
    Patron of the Universal Church, Families, Workers.
    My prayer today is that we remain united in faith and hope and continue to raise our minds and hearts for the protection and peace of humanity. +

  3. Thank you John for all your wondeful reflections, again today very helpful and personal for us with a son in a worrying situation overseas and no safe place, no work for now ,we ask Jesus to wrap his arms around him and all in need. St Joseph too the model for all loving Fathers.

  4. Wonderful words and so apt in our world today Thanks Fr John

  5. A lovely depiction of fatherhood. So many children are missing out on having a good father in their lives. It is great that other men can step up and take on this role. I love the carving of St Joseph with Jesus.

  6. Hold all the people in the world who are lonely and live with an increased of fear and anxiety during this time in prayer. May the Divine Presence and His Loving arms cuddle them safely in His arms. Amen
    What a lovely real reflection of our reality.

  7. Thanks Father John for another thought provoking reflection. I have just spent a very enjoyable few minutes thinking about my own father. Not a perfect father but very much a “good enough father”
    For those caught up in the Corona virus. Google “cathnews mass on demand ” this links to a Mass in Sydney each day. If you are in isolation for whatever reason or would like to see the Mass I find it very helpful and have been using it for about a year now.

  8. In the midst of a world in panic mode over the corona virus I can’t help but think, and my heart and spirit are aching for the thousands of unborn children who have already been killed and those whose lives hang in the balance of the decisions of very politicians who are now in overdrive putting in place regulations to try to stop the spread of the virus and save the national and global economies from the consequential fall out. The same breed of politicians (whom we, as constituents, corporately voted into power) have ‘redefined’ marriage, normalised sexual promiscuity and are considering bringing in euthanasia. We reap what we sow. We have sown rebellion against God’s principles (thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery – or sexual deviance) yet cry out to Him to relieve the fear and suffering caused by a virus. How desperately we, as a national and global community need to take to heart and act upon 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” We, who call ourselves Christians and Catholics, need to repent of our national sins, pray and turn back to God’s principles.

  9. brilliant one father I remember my late dad very well he was a daily communicant
    all his life right up to his time of death which was very sudden at the age of 70,
    he suffered a massive stroke.

  10. Amen thanks be to you Fr John for sharing with us very inspiring Amen

  11. o glorious st joseph foster father and protector of jesus christ
    to you do we raise our hearts and our hands
    and implore your powerful intercession
    please obtain for us from the kind heart of jesus
    the help and grace necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare
    we particularly ask for the grace of a happy death
    and the special favour we now ask for……….
    he is my mate never lets you down deo gratias


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