June 16, 2024

Dear parishioners,

Greetings and peace to you from Vietnam, my homeland!

As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, I wish to reflect on the beauty of fatherhood. A young boy once said, “It’s just like Mother’s Day, except you don’t spend as much on the present.” While Father’s Day may not evoke the same sentimentality, its significance is profound.

Father’s Day is an opportunity to honor not just our biological fathers but all those who have embraced the role of fatherhood through personal affiliation. These include stepfathers, foster fathers, godfathers, spiritual fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other father figures who nurture and guide us. Each of them mirrors God’s love and care for us uniquely.

For the past three years since my dad’s passing, Father’s Day has been challenging. Though he is physically absent, his influence remains strong. His words, faith, and way of life continue to guide me, showing that a father’s love extends beyond physical presence, leaving an indelible mark on his children.

Beyond my dad, many men have been like fathers to me, including priests who have cared for me spiritually throughout my life. These remarkable individuals have imparted lessons and inspirations that continue to shape who I am.

I acknowledge that not everyone has experienced a father figure. Some may have missed out on a father’s presence altogether. However, this does not diminish the profound essence of fatherhood, as intended by God. In a world experiencing a crisis of fatherhood, we need fathers to embrace this calling.

As a priest, I may not have biological children, but I have numerous spiritual children who call me “Father.” Among them are young priests and seminarians I have adopted as my “spiritual sons” over the years. I feel a particular responsibility to support and inspire them in their vocations. Caring for their well-being brings me immense joy, similar to a father’s experience with his own children. Though my spiritual sons are now spread across different states and continents, our relationship demonstrates that fatherhood can extend to the spiritual realm, where one generates and regenerates life in a special way.

On this Father’s Day, let us express our gratitude for the fathers in our lives. Let us honor them for their love, sacrifice, and unwavering presence. For those who have lost fathers or faced difficult relationships, find solace in knowing our heavenly Father, the epitome of fatherhood, is always there for us. His love knows no bounds, His care is unwavering, and His presence is everlasting.

From our earthly fathers to our spiritual Father, let us draw strength and inspiration as we strive to embody the beauty of fatherhood in our own lives.

Wishing you all a joyous Father’s Day!

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham