Father's Day

Father's Day

As Father's Day approaches on June 18, I want to take the time to reflect on the special men who mean so much to us. Father figures play such important roles in our lives Any man who has impacted our lives in a positive way - biological father or adoptive, friend or neighbor, priest or brother, living or deceased, - should be celebrated on Father's Day. We have looked up to these men and walked in their footsteps. They have been our mentors and our inspiration. I invite you to join me in letting these men know how special they are!

My fellow Oblate, Fr. Andy Sensenig, O.M.I. is Pastor of St. Gregory Nazianzen Parish in Sitka, Alaska. He was kind enough to share a reflection with me about his own father - one in which I'm sure many of us can relate. His story touches my heart, and I think you will find it moving as well:

My father was 94 years old when he passed away. He was a retired surgeon, and most importantly, a good man.
One of the best memories of my father was at the night of the rehearsal dinner for my ordination. He stood up and offered a toast. As he was coming to the conclusion he offered an insight. My father said that in his research, he discovered that all fathers of priests go straight to heaven.
There was a pause after his statement. Bishop Michael Pfeiffer, O.M.I. who was my ordaining bishop, looked at me and then looked back at my father and said, "If Andy is your only hope of getting to Heaven, may I suggest prayer?" The room erupted with laughter.
That moment was a signal from my father that he supported my vocation of being a priest and a Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. It was not always so. When he first heard about my desire to become a priest, he was against it. He thought I would be lonely. But over my years of formation, my dad became impressed with what the Oblates were doing, proclaiming the good News of the Gospel and making a positive difference in my life.

My dad's change of heart was summed up with our final conversation, when I was visiting him at his home outside Philadelphia. I told him that I loved him, and that it was a privilege to be his son. I thank him for being my father.

My father looked at me and said, "We are both in the healing business, Andy. I was a surgeon of the body, and you are a surgeon of the soul."

My dad's fear about me being left alone, in the end, was unfounded. He would have been amazed at the amount of love and prayers that touched me at his passing. Jesus said in Matthew 19:29: "And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life."

That saying of Our Lord Jesus rings true for me. The people of St. Gregory the Nazianzen in Sitka, Alaska, where I minister, were outstanding in their expression of love and support. My brother Oblates were equally outstanding. I never felt lonely. Instead , I now have a deeper and loving connection with them all.

This Father's Day, I invite you to join Fr. Andy and his late father in "the healing business." Your kindness benefits many different Oblate ministries...from feeding the hungry to feeding spiritual cravings. Your support will benefit father in far away lands as well as father here in the United States - such as those who are members of the Oblates' Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker in Lowell, Massachusetts. In fact, the Oblates at the Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker are celebrating their 60th Anniversary this year! Anniversaries such as this are made possible with your love and support.


Send your father's name , along with the names of other special fathers in your life. I will have their names placed in the Fathers Prayer Capsule at the Fathers Memorial Walk at the Shrine. He will be remembered in four special places this Father's Day: The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, the Church of St. Joseph in the Holy Land, the Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker in Lowell, Massachusetts and at Fr. Andy's parish in Sitka, Alaska.

Send your father’s name, along with the names of other special fathers in your life.

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