Fatherhood is an important vocation Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Jun. 13, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

Fathers play such an important role in the lives of their children.

My own father died when I was only 16 years old, but he had a profound impact on my life.

Thomas Joseph McDonald (better known as Mac) was married later in life. He actually stayed with his own father until his death.

I’m sure my father received many of his values from my grandparents and great-grandparents, who are buried in the cemetery at Holy Rosary Parish in Darlington.

Faith and education were important values

It was very clear that his Catholic faith was an important part of my father’s life. He prayed the Rosary frequently, often fingering the beads held in his pocket.

When I was growing up, of course we always went to Mass on Sundays. We also attended weekly Mother of Perpetual Help novenas at our parish.

Although he was a public school teacher, my father wanted his children to attend Catholic schools for both grade school and high school.

My father valued education. Although his own father was a drayman (he carried ice in the city of Platteville), he and some of his sisters attended  Platteville Normal School, which was the oldest state teachers college in Wisconsin, founded in 1866. It was the precursor to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

My father met my mother when both of them were teaching at a small high school in Mountain, Wis. Although they both left to teach in other schools, they kept in touch and eventually married and moved to La Crosse, Wis., where I grew up.

Although my father died fairly early in my life, he still influences my life to this day.

Likewise, I was pleased to know my father-in-law, Don Kabat, for a number of years. He, too, was someone who was a quiet influence on my own husband, John. My husband also has been a wonderful role model as a caring father and now grandfather.

Fatherhood as a vocation

In an article I found on the website The Catholic Gentleman (, Sam Guzman writes about the essential role of fathers. He says that fatherhood should be considered a vocation.

In order to live out the vocation of fatherhood, he suggests three goals:

• First, to be a good father, a man should first be a good “son of God the Father.” If the earthly father has encountered God the Father in a personal and convincing way, then he will be able to transmit his fatherhood to those whom God places under his care.

As an example, he mentions the life of Karol Woytyla — who became Pope John Paul II. He lost his mother at age nine and spent much of his time with his father. Karol recalled waking up in the early hours and seeing his father kneeling, deeply absorbed in prayer. This example of his father left an indelible impression on Karol.

• Second, a true father should love his wife. The love and friendship he has with his wife should blossom, grow, and flourish until the moment of death, says the author. He suggests that the couple should cultivate an ever deeper relationship with God through prayer and other activities such as an annual marriage retreat, Marriage Encounter, and cultivating good friendships among other Catholic couples.

• Third, a father should love his children as a precious treasure. A father should teach his children good values, especially how to pray.

Turn to St. Joseph

The author suggests that we should turn to the best of earthly father, St. Joseph, and beg for his intercession by praying, “St. Joseph, ornament of domestic life, patron of families, patron of fathers, pray for us!”

Let us pray for all our fathers, living and deceased, as we celebrate Father’s Day on June 16.