(Republished from 05/2018)
Dear brothers and sisters,
As Father’s Day approaches and I walk the barrios of Guaymas, I’m reminded of a prayer with an origin attributed to the Methodist Church in Africa:
Loving and Merciful God, our thoughts and prayers today are turned toward our fathers.
For those whose fathers have increased the joy in their families’ lives, we give You thanks.
For those good men who sustain and support us in our living, who love us no matter what, we give You thanks.
For those whose fathers have been a source of hurt and pain, may their wounds be healed and may they find in You, in us, in others, the nurturing love that is needed for their well-being. We also pray that these fathers find forgiveness.
For those fathers who are separated from their children, give them the insight and perseverance to parent in whatever ways are open to them. Give them the courage to make the decisions that allow their children to thrive.
For those fathers whose relationships with their children have been difficult or disappointing, we pray. We pray, too, for those fathers who have lost a child. We turn to You, most holy God, for consolation where consolation seems impossible.
For single fathers who struggle to be both parents to their children, may they find the strength and wisdom for their task.
For those who have recently lost or who are facing the imminent loss of their fathers, may they find comfort in the love that their fathers have given them.
In Guaymas, I witness every type of a father mentioned in this beautiful prayer. There are those surrounded by love and work hard to eke out a living for their families; those who despaired and turned to drugs. Sometimes it is hard not to be judgmental, then I think of a very wise seven year old boy in Guatemala who told me that “the love of our heavenly Father is greater than the love of all the fathers of the word put together.” That is what is important. On this Father’s Day, I send the blessings of God, Our Father, and I ask that you join us in praying for those in need to find their way. Honor your father by supporting the Casa Franciscana programs that assist fathers and families in crisis.
Peace and all good,