Pastor Letter for June 21

Dear Parish Family,

Happy Father’s Day to our dads and granddads! What a gift you are! Not only to your family but to our parish family; your presence at Mass, your witness to your faith and loving your wife and children is so much needed in our world today. Many fathers have told me that this quarantine time has given insight to many things that we take for granted. Primarily, you have been present to your family at home than anytime before. Our identity as fathers has been provider, bread winner and protector and many describe ourselves by what we do rather than who we are. There has been a spiritual awakening taking place. God is with us in this terrible time and He will lead and guide us if we let him. So, let me honor you for your faithfulness and dedication to God and your families. Happy Father’s Day.

Cardinal Dolan writes about his dad in his book “Who do you say that I am”.

“I thank God for the gift of my dad, for he was a loving, responsible and caring man. His faith and his family were his focus, his passion, and the center of his life.

I am convinced that the restoration of fatherhood as a esteemed vocation in the Church and in society is the key to renewal and the antidote for many of our cultural ills. By their word and their example, dads teach us many important lessons.

When a man fully embraces what it means to be a dad – to be a father – he is a position to teach us fidelity. Simply put, a dad is man of his word.  He is true to the vows he made to the Lord and to his wife. He keeps the promises he made to his children on the day of their baptisms, when he agreed to teach them “by word and example”.

True dads are selfless and willing to make sacrifices, including the most seemingly insignificant ones. My dad loved ketchup. No meal was complete without it. Yet when the bottle was nearly empty, he would never touch it. The little bit remaining was for us.

Dads gift their children with time. I remember standing in the front yard, baseball glove in hand, waiting for Dad to come home from work.  Through he was hot, sweaty and tired he always had time to play a little catch.

Finally, dads teach their kids about God’s true nature. What a supreme compliment to every dad: God revealed Himself as a father!

What children think of their dads profoundly influences the way they think about God. If they see their dads as loving, selfless, faithful, and forgiving, this will translate directly to our Heavenly Father.”

I often find inspiration from “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. Her reflection for June 15 (Monday past) helped me appreciate where I draw the strength for my fatherhood as a priest. She writes as if Jesus is speaking to us in the first person.

“When you approach Me in stillness and in trust, you are strengthened. You need a buffer zone of silence, around you in order to focus on things that are unseen. Since I am invisible, you must not let your senses dominate your thinking. The curse of this age is overstimulation of the senses, which blocks out awareness of the unseen world.

The tangible world still reflects My Glory to those who have eyes to that see and ears that hear. Spending time along with Me is the best way to develop seeing eyes and hearing ears. The goal is to be aware of unseen things even as you live out your life in the visible world.   (2 Corinthians 4:18; Isaiah 6:3; Psalm 130:5).

I can’t wait to see you all return to church. I miss you and pray for you all daily. May God bless you!

Fr. Tom Devery