On this special day, we are also reminded that our priests are our spiritual fathers. Next Saturday, Archbishop Gregory will ordain four men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. In his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), Our Holy Father in specifically addressing young people made an observation that certainly applies to young men who have answered the call to the priesthood. He stated, “Encountering Christ…gives a firm hope that will not disappoint. Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our weakness.” As we reflect on these words, we are invited to welcome these new fathers as priests of this Archdiocese.
The following prayer attributed to a small Catholic Church in the Midwest humbly calls upon our Heavenly Father to bless and guide all fathers:
AND SHEPHERD THEM WITH A FATHER’S LOVE.
YOU PLACE A FATHER IN A FAMILY AS A SIGN
OF YOUR LOVE, CARE, AND CONSTANT PROTECTION.
MAY FATHERS EVERYWHERE BE FAITHFUL TO THE
EXAMPLE SHOWN IN THE SCRIPTURES:
STEADFAST IN LOVE, FORGIVING TRANSGRESSIONS,
SUSTAINING THE FAMILY, CARING FOR THOSE IN NEED.
GIVE YOUR WISDOM TO FATHERS
THAT THEY MAY ENCOURAGE AND GUIDE THEIR CHILDREN.
KEEP THEM HEALTHY AS THEY MAY SUPPORT A FAMILY.
GUIDE EVERY FATHER WITH THE SPIRIT OF YOUR LOVE
THAT THEY MAY GROW IN HOLINESS
AND DRAW THEIR FAMILY EVER CLOSER TO YOU. AMEN.
Fr. Neil Herlihy