A Day for Dads!

On the actual day of my ordination to priesthood, just honored by all of you this past May 19th, I transitioned from a man known as “Mr. St. George”, to being known as “Father Jim”. I will be honest and tell you that it took some getting used to, as people of all ages were using this title, but somehow it now seems so comfortable to me. That is why I used this image of me and my dad, it is the way I like to remember my dad and me together. Oh sure, I was a lot heavier back then, but my dad and I loved one another and this is one of my fondest memories of being with him. It was a joyful day!

This week is about memories for me. I remember, too, how delighted I was when people younger than myself called me ‘Father’. And, when we opened our school, it was an abundance of blessings and gladness when I walked among the smallest among us here at the parish campus to the repeated outcries of, “Good morning, Father Jim!”  And, to this very day, it is not only strange for me, but also to my relatives to refer to me in this way. My own mother still calls me, “Jimmy”, but her letters and cards always are addressed to “The Reverend Father Jim St. George”. For her, and for many I am sure, it is a demonstrable showing of respect for my vocation in life.

Well, enough of my spiritual fatherhood, I am grateful, but would like to focus on my dad, whom I miss so deeply, and I call on all of us to place our attention on those men who are fathers, be it biological or adoptive or who have simply always ‘been there’ as our needed stand in! It is to them we owe the greatest of titles and respect. Today, we shall all humbly tell our ‘dads’ in all their varied forms, of our love, thanksgiving, and care for them. In the liturgical language of the Church, “It is meet and right so to do…”

This will be the third Father’s Day my sister and I are orphaned from our dad, at least in this life. I have always wanted to be a real dad, an actual father to a child. Perhaps, if it is God’s will, I will one day just achieve that dream (with the help of Katelyn, of course!) It is always amazing to me how God never forgets our dreams and prayers, but the timing is always His! It may come later than expected, but if it comes, I will welcome that day – if I should be so blessed – and do the best I can to be a dad, just like my dad was to me. My dad was the best dad ever; not that he was perfect, but his love for Andrea and me was always just that. I can think of no better role model. I want to be like my dad, whom I so deeply miss this day above most days.

I wonder if there is anything that really prepares one to be a father, or is it mostly “on-the-job training?” Reading and studying about it isn’t necessarily a true representation of reality, I am sure! Is it helpful to have a resource to turn to and explore what wisdom and insight those who are grandfathers could impart? After all, life experience is the best teacher. If so, then my dad is always here and ever present; I pray your dads are, too.

Father’s Day is our annual opportunity to congratulate and give thanks to these men who have accepted the commitment to be a living example of love and faithfulness in this role. Let us all pause and give thanks and show them all our love and thanksgiving! And to those who call me Father Jim, I am grateful and have always strived to never harm a single soul. I have taken my spiritual fatherhood seriously and I am proud of what we have built here at Saint Miriam.

I suppose to end my blog today; it is a good idea to add a prayer of blessing for the continuing journey of every father. So, I ask St. Joseph, to be their helper and guide. I know he has never once failed me.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you! And a very special wish to my own dad, I love you and miss you, poppa, and I thank you for being a great dad…


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