Last Sunday was Father’s Day, the day we are called to remember our own fathers with love and respect, and to tell them how important they are in our lives. The path to the actual Father’s Day holiday, however, was a bumpy one.
While Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914, Dad’s day wasn’t official until President Johnson in 1966 issued a presidential proclamation honoring fathers. Following that, in 1972, President Nixon sealed the deal, making the third Sunday in June a federal holiday. In most of Europe, fathers are honored on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19.
Pope Francis pointed to St. Joseph as the ultimate example to fathers. He told a crowd gathered recently in St. Peter’s Square: “I ask that you have the grace to be very close to your children, letting them grow, but being by their side. They need you, your presence, to be there, your love!” He went on to say, “Even though God was Jesus’s father, St. Joseph lovingly took on the paternal role and taught the young Jesus various skills, the value of work, reverence for the Lord, and fidelity and obedience to God’s will,” the pope said, adding that a father’s responsibility is to keep his family safe.
If you, like me, have been lucky enough to have a father who embodied all the qualities Pope Francis spoke of, consider yourself blessed.
Today, however, we also remember the priests in the Diocese of Orange– the “fathers” who have dedicated their lives to providing the spiritual guidance we all need to grow in our faith. And we warmly welcome the six new priests who were ordained last Saturday in our diocese. (See page 10 for their names.)
In this issue’s cover story, OC Catholic reporter Larry Urish pays tribute to the priests who have dedicated their lives to nurturing our souls. And in our second feature, writer Karen Meeks delivers a compelling read that shares how faith in our heavenly father can carry us through tragedy.
To all fathers living or deceased, on this day and every day, we owe you thanks for your strength, your protection, your guidance and your love.
Happy Father’s Day.