Fatherhood is the life-long vocation of being a parent. Through divine providence, there exists a natural and moral bond between father and child. A father has been given by God the responsibility to love, care for and educate his children. He also has a paternal authority over his children which must always be respected by them. Sacred Scripture designates the father as head of the household. He fulfills this vocation in partnership with his wife, the mother of his children. With the help of God, parents guide their children to virtue and maturity. Their goal is the full realization of their children’s human potential, but most of all their eternal salvation. They have recourse to prayer and the sacraments in this daunting task. They also have a special grace from heaven that enables them to exercise their parental role, even though they may feel weak or inadequate at times. Despite these feelings, God is with them, giving supernatural light, wisdom and strength to manage the great challenges that all parents face.
Fathers have a great patron in their vocation: St. Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus, and Spouse of the Virgin Mary. St. Joseph’s place as a father in the Holy Family shows all fathers how they must strive to imitate him in cherishing and educating their children. In his relationship with Mary, St. Joseph demonstrates how a man must offer his wife absolute fidelity and self-sacrifice. The close union between father and mother in the Family of Nazareth is the prototype of every Christian couple. Thus it is often said, that the best way a father can show love to his children is to honor and love his wife.
In these days when both the nuclear family and fatherhood are badly battered, St. Joseph appears as the patron who can help men to center themselves once again and assume the responsibilities of their fatherly vocation with dignity and fidelity.
Saint Joseph, Patron of Fathers, Pray for us!
Fr. Tim Byerley
A Prayer for Fathers
God our Father,
We give you thanks and praise
for fathers young and old.
We pray for young fathers,
newly embracing their vocation;
May they find courage and perseverance
to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.
We pray for our own Fathers around the world
whose children are lost or suffering;
May they know that the God of compassion
walks with them in their sorrow.
We pray for men who are not fathers
but still mentor and guide us
with fatherly love and advice.
We remember fathers, grandfathers,
and great grandfathers who are no longer with us
but who live forever in our memory
and nourish us with their love.