My wife and I (Deacons can be married before being ordinated) recently celebrated one of those parental milestone moments, our older daughter graduated from college last month! Those are times when parents often reminisce about when their child was younger. (For my daughter’s sake, I won’t share any embarrassing childhood events.) But thinking back to her early childhood caused me to ponder the role of a father.
From the moment of conception, biology tells us our daughter’s life began. She started to grow and metabolize nutrients. Organisms that grow and metabolize are alive. Within a few short weeks, her tiny heart was beating and she began to perceive her surroundings. The father’s role at this point is to support his wife and indirectly support his tiny child. As she grew, I could talk to her and on occasion feel her movements by placing my hand on my wife’s abdomen, but only after our beautiful daughter was born could I directly interact with her. Mothers are gifted with a natural and biological bonding with their children through the pregnancy and nursing, but men must learn to bond with this new little person in the house. As our relationship has grown over the years, we have become very close. I recently enjoyed a short road trip with her to Colorado for her summer employment.
Catholic Charities also has programs to support family relationships. We provide pregnancy support, adoption services and post adoption programs to provide support to children, moms and dads of all faiths. The pregnancy support program connects parents with certified social workers to help them parent their child or create an adoption plan. Adoption social workers work with families to welcome an adopted child as well as with birth parents to create adoption plans. Post adoption resources provide support, resources, referrals and networking for adoptive families, adult adoptees, as well as birth parents.
As we approach Father’s Day weekend, let us pray for the strengthening of families. After all, the family is the building block of society.
Deacon Bryan Hilts
Development Associate & Immigration Case Manager