Fathers have irreplaceable role in family

Published: June 6, 2024

"God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless our father. Let the example of his faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, his family, may honor him always with a spirit of profound respect. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen." — Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers

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On Father's Day we celebrate the dads in our lives. Though it is generally expressed through cards and gifts, Father's Day gives us the chance to focus on how important fathers are in our families and communities.

According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, "children being raised without fathers are twice as likely to drop out of school, are at seven times greater risk of poverty and are seven times more likely to become pregnant during their teenage years. Without a father present, children are more likely to have behavioral problems, to abuse alcohol and drugs and go to prison."

"The influence of a loving and involved father plays a crucial, irreplaceable role in shaping a child’s character and development," explained Our Sunday Visitor. "A father’s unconditional love reflects the unconditional love of our Father in heaven. ... The unwavering support of a father helps foster emotional stability and self-confidence. The indispensable love of a father contributes to a child’s holistic growth and provides a sure foundation of love and acceptance."

Given the importance of fathers, having positive role models can make all the difference in helping them reflect the love of our father in heaven.

Just as Mary is the greatest role model for mothers, St. Joseph, her husband and foster father to Jesus, can guide any father down the right path. “If a person cannot find anyone to teach him how to pray, let him take this glorious saint for his guide, and he will not lose his way," said St. Teresa of Avila referring to St. Joseph.

St. Joseph's faith and obedience to God inspired his devotion for his family. In "Five Lessons from St. Joseph," author Randy Hain points out attributes that serve as a helpful guide to fathers:

  • St. Joseph was obedient. "Joseph was obedient to God’s Will throughout his life," Hain, a father of two wrote. "How often does our pride and willfulness get in the way of our obedience to God?"
  • St. Joseph was selfless. "His devotion to his family is a model for fathers today who may be allowing disordered attachments to the things of this world distort their focus and hinder their vocations."
  • St. Joseph led by example. "None of his words are written in Scripture, but we can clearly see by his actions that he was a just, loving and faithful man. We often think that we primarily influence others by what we say, when so often we are watched for our actions."
  • St. Joseph was a worker. "We can all learn a great lesson from Saint Joseph, who is also the patron saint of workers, on the value of our daily work and how it should exist to glorify God, support our families and contribute to society."
  • St. Joseph was a leader. Among others, "He led as a man of faith when he obeyed God in all things, took the pregnant Mary as his wife and later brought the Holy Family safely to Egypt."

In his apostolic letter, "Patris Corde" ("With a Father's Heart"), Pope Francis declared a universal Year of St. Joseph in 2020-2021 to highlight all the ways St. Joseph is the role model for fathers. "Joseph, then, teaches us that faith in God includes believing that he can work even through our fears, our frailties and our weaknesses. He also teaches us that amid the tempests of life, we must never be afraid to let the Lord steer our course. At times, we want to be in complete control, yet God always sees the bigger picture."

Catholic Gift Ideas

For gift ideas or helpful tips to celebrate the fathers in your life, consider these resources:

Encouragement Resources

The following offer ways to support and encourage dads and help for those hurt by their dads.