Prayer Day for Marriage and Family Life

Continuous Prayer for Marriage and Family Life

Parish Prayer Day 21st June

Theme: All Fathers

The Joy of Love:  Pope Francis

A father helps the child to perceive the limits of life, to be open to the challenges of the wider world, and to see the need for hard work and strenuous effort.  A father possessed of a clear and serene masculine identity who demonstrates affection and concern for his wife is just as necessary as a caring mother. (175)

We often hear that ours is ‘a society without fathers’. In Western culture the father figure is said to be symbolically absent, missing or vanished.  Manhood itself seems to be called into question.  The result has been an understandable confusion.  At first, this was seen as a liberation, a liberation from the father as master, from the father as the representative of a law imposed from without, from the father as the arbiter of his children’s happiness and an obstacle to the emancipation and the autonomy of young people…….  Yet, as often happens one goes from one extreme to the other.  In our day, the problem no longer seems to be the overbearing presence of the father so much as his absence, his not being there.  (176)

Some Thoughts:

  • Sunday June 21st is Fathers’ Day.
  • It is not nearly as commercialised as Mothers’ Day in March and that in itself is significant
  • But it is often a good family occasion.  Children are busy making special cards for their fathers.  Plans are made to have a special meal to celebrate each father, and so on
  • How do we, as the Church/parish, celebrate this occasion?  Maybe we should take it a lot further than the commercial world does and begin celebrating June as the Month of Fathers.

The relationship of a father with his children is very different from the relationship of a mother.  But it is equally important for the development of children as they grow into adulthood.

  • The mother is usually the one who tells the father that they are expecting a baby.  He generally accepts this news, often with very mixed emotions, as indeed does the mother.
  • The mother carries the baby in her womb for nine months.  The father is largely on the outside.  One of the good developments of more recent times is that fathers are encouraged to get involved at the various stages of pregnancy.
  • The mother gives birth to the baby she has been carrying.  Again, one good development is that fathers are encouraged to be present at the birth.  But again, they are largely on the outside and naturally so.
  • As a child grows from baby to young child and beyond the mother is very often seen as the main carer.  The place of the father can continue to be secondary unless real efforts are made for him to become involved in all that is necessary for the physical, emotional, and spiritual development of their child.  Things are better now than in former times in this regard, but a lot more needs to be done by both mother and father to help him to be a full father of his children.
  • All along this journey of parenting the father has to continue to make decisions to care for his child, and for the child’s mother, in every way that will lead to a life of love in the home.

Questionsto ponder:

  1. How do we, as Christians, value the gift of fatherhood?
  2. How can we help fathers to share their experiences of being fathers?
  3. How can we raise the level of appreciation for the gift of fatherhood in a society that plays down the value of self-giving?

How can we, as a parish, celebrate the importance of men, and consequently, fathers in transforming the world in which we live?