Let the Missionary Oblates pray for the special fathers in your life!

Let the Missionary Oblates pray for the special fathers in your life!

I recently attended a celebration for Fr. Urban Figge's 65th Anniversary as a Missionary Oblates. Father Urban might just be the most humble, gentle and soft-spoken Missionary Oblate. But underneath that unassuming demeanor is one of the toughest and most determined priests I have ever met.

At his jubilee celebration I asked Fr. Urban what was the most difficult experience he ever had as a missionary priest. I thought the answer was going to be obvious. Instead, I was totally caught by surprise.

I thought Fr. Urban was going to talk about the difficulties of ministering in one of the most isolated and challenging places in the world - Greenland. For more than a decade he was the only Catholic priest in the country. In the winter temperatures rarely got above 0 degrees, and they could drop to as low as -75 degrees. There was also the extreme isolation. Father Urban would go days without seeing another person.

But the extreme weather and isolation wasn't the hardest part of Fr. Urban's ministry. Instead, he said the most difficult time was when he had to trade being a "religious" father to become a "caregiving" father.

As part of Fr. Urban's Greenland ministry, he worked at a shelter for battered women and their children. One time a woman who had been abused arrived with her five children at the shelter. The shelter was already overcrowded and there wasn't enough space for the entire family. So Fr. Urban agreed to let the kids live at his rectory for a week.

During that time, Fr. Urban had to constantly remind himself that all children are created in the image of God. For Fr. Urban, the face of God that week was rowdy, disorderly and extremely energetic.

"Taking care of those kids was the hardest work I had ever done in my 65 years of ministry," said Fr. Urban. "I was totally exhausted. It gave me a much better appreciation of the role of fathers in the lives of their children."

On Father's Day, Fr. Urban always says a prayer for the five children he cared for more than 30 years ago. He may have been a "father" for just one week, but that experience changed Fr. Urban's life forever.

This Father's Day, Fr. Urban will once again be praying for his family in Greenland, and he will also be praying for you and your loved ones.

The Missionary Oblates are deeply honored to be part of your celebration of Father's Day this year. Please know that Fr. Urban and I, as well as Oblates around the world, are praying for the fathers in your life on this special day.

FATHER'S DAY PETITIONS

Father Urban has agreed to pray for your intentions. In addition, his brother Oblates at our St. Henry's Oblate Residence have also agreed to pray for your needs during their Father's Day Mass. .

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

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