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  A Christian Faith Magazine June 2005, Volume 10, Issue 11  
Rev. Mark Connolly Vocation of Fatherhood
Rev. Mark Connolly
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During the month of June, throughout our country, we celebrate the feast of Father's Day. I would like to share a few thoughts with you on the subject of the vocation of fatherhood.

God thought the vocation to fatherhood was very important and he gave a commandment that said, honor thy father and mother. If you study the Baltimore Catechism from many years ago, you might recall that as quiet as St. Joseph was in the life of the Holy Family, no one doubted the importance of his role or vocation. Joseph was the one, as the father, who had to decide to take flight into Egypt and had extreme difficult getting a job because he was Jewish. The climate in Egypt at that time was anti-Semitic. Every Church writer from the first century has used St. Joseph as a model for fatherhood, a model of justice, a model of responsibility, and a model of being there especially when the family was in need of him.

There is no doubt in our culture, when we look back sixty years ago, our father's made up the greatest generation ever and in the future when we think of men, of these soldiers coming back from Iraq, they, too, in their future day will be part of that extraordinary generation. Both generations, sixty years ago and today, the father's involved have defended the families that they left in order to serve our country. If you look back into the last sixty years of television broadcasting, it does not take too long to notice that in so many of the situation comedies that the father's in these situation comedies were oftentimes considered in a disrespectful fashion and almost as if they were a fifth wheel in their own home.

Cardinal Mindszenty
Cardinal Mindszenty

There is a story that took place in Hungary that highlights the importance of the vocation to fatherhood. The story is of Cardinal Mindszenty. One day as he came out of the Embassy, he got into an automobile and hundreds of communist sympathizers surrounded him and threatened to overturn the car. He told the driver to stop moving the car and he got out in the midst of them. He said, "men of Hungary, I am just an ordinary Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Inside this car is a man who has five children and his children need him". We can say that to every father today. Your children need your wisdom, your time, need you to listen, need you to see their value system and your convictions in action. Because every one is so busy today in our society, the average husband and wife speak to each other in the form of twelve minutes of substantial communication. Parents speak to their children on an average of seven minutes per day in substantial communication. No one doubts the difficulty and, oftentimes, we do not have solutions. But to all the father's your greatest treasure is your wife and your family. They certainly need you.

How will you know if you are the ideal father? It comes right down to this. The ideal father is one who is conscious of trying to do every thing possible to live up to the commandment of God that reminds him that father's should be deserving of honor. He is one who, with a sense of dedication and commitment, tries to do his best for his for the wife he married and the children he has. He is one who realizes that he cannot be a tyrant, but must be a leader, that he must correct with charity and discipline with love. He is the one who realizes that his family needs him, that in their minds there will never be another like him. How will you know if you are a successful father? If your family, after your death, refers to you as our father, who art in heaven, hallowed by his name, then you certainly are a father who walked worthily in the vocation to which God called you.

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