During the month of March, the Catholic church focuses on the person of St. Joseph, husband of our Blessed Mother and foster father to Jesus. St. Joseph entered the state of fatherhood when he accepted his role of foster father and took on the responsibility of being there for Jesus. We find in St. Joseph the true meaning of fatherhood. We see it in the patience he showed raising Jesus, and in his kindness and understanding. God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of His son, just as God chooses each of us when He entrusts us with the responsibility of fatherhood.
The responsibility of fatherhood comes in many forms: paternity, adoption, spiritual and simply being an example to those we connect with in our daily lives. Fatherhood is a calling to serve those entrusted to our care, to be present, to be an example of God’s love. It is in the role of father that we feel intense love for the child entrusted to us by God, and this love has no limitation nor condition. It is because of this intense love that we feel an almost unbearable heartbreak when death severs our earthly relationship.
When a family experiences death, the emotional burden for the father is overwhelming because of the need to be strong for those left broken by the loss. A father will feel that he must rise above the pain and become the rock for everyone else. I am certain that Joseph felt the need to become the rock for Mary and for those suffering the death of Jesus. In those hours between His death and resurrection, Joseph became the messenger of God’s love. Fatherhood is a great responsibility, and it comes with God’s unlimited support and the love of Jesus for any man accepting that duty. A father is the messenger of God’s love and compassion for His children.
The gift of fatherhood is the responsibility of teaching faith in God and guiding those entrusted to our care to our Heavenly home. The hour of our separation is not known but God’s gift is the opportunity to be an example of His love and to help guide His children home. Heartbreak is the natural and human response to death, but the pain is mitigated by the knowledge that we did our best to be an example to our family. God’s promise to every father is that the separation is temporary, and the path is clear because Jesus, loved by His earthly father, paved the way.
Director of Cemeteries