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

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

One of the events of my childhood that shaped my whole life was an annual pilgrimage I would go on in grade school with my father.

The pilgrimage was about a ten-mile walk from our parish in Katowice, Poland to the Shrine of Our Lady of Piekary. It would start with about 100 men and boys, and would take about four hours. Along the way we would recite the rosary, sing songs and have time for public and private prayer.

As we got closer to the shrine, we began to team up with other groups of pilgrims coming from other parishes. Many of them were from towns and cities connected with the coal mines, steel mills and heavy industry in the region of Silesia. At the shrine, the thousands of pilgrims would gather to celebrate their Catholic faith, always under the watchful eyes of the Communist government.

I looked forward to the pilgrimage every year for two reasons. First, it was a great expression of my Catholic faith, something that was very important to me even at an early age. Second, the pilgrimage was a special time between me and my dad. My father wasn't much of a talker, but he didn't need a lot of words to pass to me the importance of faith that was a big part of his life.

I particularly remember seeing how proud my father was to be walking for his faith, and how proud he was that I was accompanying him. Dad faced many professional hardships because he refused to disavow his Catholic beliefs by joining the Communist party. Our Lady of Piekary is known as the "mother of justice and social love" and that pilgrimage in those years was a way for my father and thousands of men to publicly profess their Catholic faith and reject the atheistic Communist ideology.

Today, when I think back on those pilgrimages with my dad, I am reminded of the words of Scripture: "The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him." (Proverbs 20:7). Despite his own challenges, my dad was truly a righteous man, a man of integrity and as his child I was very much blessed.

Because of my father's unwavering commitment to his faith and family, I am going to honor him this Father's Day in a special way, and I invite you to do the same for great fathers in your life.

FATHER'S DAY PETITIONS

I will be honored to place the names of special fathers in the Father's Prayer Capsule at the Shrine where they will be prayed for an entire year.

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

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