Our earthly fathers mirror the Heavenly Father. What a beautiful vocation they have, and how much they need our prayers to our loving God, to ask for the help they need to be strong and courageous fathers! Unfortunately, some fathers do not handle their responsibilities well, but this does not change the love of the Heavenly Father for us.
In his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, St. John Paul II tells us: “In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God, a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family: he will perform this task by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife, by work which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability, and by means of the witness he gives of an adult Christian life which effectively introduces the children into the living experience of Christ and the Church” (Familiaris Consortio, 25).
Pope St. John Paul II also tells us: “…[I]n today’s family, the father figure is in danger of becoming more and more hidden or even absent. In the light of the paternity of God ‘from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named’ (Eph. 3:14), human fatherhood and motherhood acquire all their meaning, dignity, and greatness.
“‘Human fatherhood and motherhood, while remaining biologically similar to that of other living beings in nature, contain in an essential and unique way a ‘likeness’ to God which is the basis of the family as a community of human life, as a community of persons united in love (communio personarum)’ (Gratissimam Sane, n. 6).”
“Along with his virginal bride, the first to bring the Messiah to the nations, St. Joseph is the second greatest person in human history because he, too, shared in the role of bringing Jesus to souls” (Fr. Donald Calloway).
Good St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and guardian and virgin father of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, is the patron of husbands and fathers. He is a wonderful role model for fathers as they seek to provide for and care for their families. St. Joseph’s main feast day is March 19, and the feast of St. Joseph the Worker is May 1.
“The whole Church recognizes St. Joseph as a patron and guardian. For centuries many different features of his life have caught the attention of believers. He was a man ever faithful to the mission God gave him…. St. Joseph was an ordinary sort of man on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do, in each and every event that went to make up his life. That is why Scripture praises Joseph as ‘a just man.’ And in Hebrew a just man means a good and faithful servant of God, someone who fulfils the divine will, or who is honorable and charitable toward his neighbor. So a just man is someone who loves God and proves his love by keeping God’s commandments and directing his whole life toward the service of his brothers, his fellow men” (St. Josemaria Escriva).
Fatherhood is under violent attack in today’s world. Many children grow up without a father in the home, and many others grow up without an involved father. This lack of loving, attentive fatherhood has very negatively affected the children in those situations. We need to pray for all fathers, that they will take their duties seriously and love and nurture their children.
The prayer below was written by Pope St. John XXIII, who was very devoted to St. Joseph. Before we present the prayer, we share two beautiful quotes of this holy Pope:
“The world will never be the dwelling place of peace, till peace has found a home in the heart of each and every man, till every man preserves in himself the order ordained by God to be preserved.” St. Joseph, pray for peace in our hearts and homes!
“God desires us to follow the examples of the saints by absorbing the vital sap of their virtues and turning it into our own life-blood, adapting it to our own individual capacities and particular circumstances.” St. Joseph, pray for us to be saints!
Catholic Prayer for Fathers
By Pope John XXIII
Saint Joseph, guardian of Jesus
and chaste husband of Mary,
you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty.
You supported the Holy Family of Nazareth
with the work of your hands.
Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you.
You know their aspirations,
their hardships, their hopes.
They look to you because they know
you will understand and protect them.
You too knew trial,
labor and weariness.
But amid the worries of material life,
your soul was full of deep peace
and sang out in true joy
through intimacy with God’s Son entrusted to you
and with Mary, his tender Mother.
Assure those you protect that they do not labor alone.
Teach them to find Jesus near them
and to watch over Him faithfully as you have done. Amen.