Happy Father’s Day Dads!
This photo of me and my Grandad near Fox Island was taken almost 52 years ago. On this Father’s Day, I give thanks to my Heavenly Father for the gift of my dad and Grandad. My dad and I really became best friends in the last years of his life, as I had the chance to care for him during his struggle with cancer. He was such a blessing to me! This summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Grandad as well. We would spend much of summertime out on his boat fishing… and hearing so many of his stories about every topic you could think of, but especially about our family and especially my dad. Oh, did I learn a lot about him on that boat!
But like with my dad, my Grandad and I became close during the last year of his life as well. It first happened on the day of my grandmother’s funeral, nearly 40 years ago. Until then, I never saw my Grandad cry. But he wept that day for his bride of 61 years. After he said his last goodbye to her at the chapel, I was next to him as we turned to walk down the aisle. As we did, he took my hand and held it tight. We walked all the way to the car holding hands. I will never forget it. We bonded that day like at no other time, and we cried a lot in the months after, together.
The bonds between fathers (and grandfathers) and children can be weak or strong or somewhere in between. But fathers are all called to help reveal to their children their identity as beloved sons and daughters. It’s at the heart of the vocation of fatherhood. They are also called to guide and provide protection and security. Some do it better than others. My dad and my Grandad weren’t perfect, but I appreciate now more than ever the bonds that we shared and all that they passed onto me. I’m a lot like them both. I also knew they loved me because they told me so.
I love these words, a blessing really, of St. Paul, found in the Book of Ephesians. I think they apply well to our fathers on this day, wherever they may be:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Happy Father’s Day!
Fr. David Mulholland