How was your weekend? Did you get to celebrate your father, your children's father or other fatherly role models in your life? I hope so.
Since time and brainpower seem to elude me so far this summer, I'm throwing out a little peek at our FATHER weekend. Essentially, we were surrounded by Fathers and that made for a very fulfilling and blessed weekend.
You see, Saturday was Ordination Day for a couple of really great guys in our diocese. One was ordained to the priesthood and two others ordained as transitional deacons. Thankfully, we've been blessed to get to know two of those guys over the past years as they've studied and discerned priesthood.
Besides being swarmed by many priestly Fathers that day, my own Father (and mom too) was with us in the crowd and we spent a good part of the day together. Fathers, Fathers, everywhere Fathers!
Saturday morning we loaded up the van and headed to the cathedral just over an hour away. We've done the ordination gig before and we're survivors. We just had to do it again and the kids were so into it that it makes it totally worth it.
Wanna know what else helps? One small snack bag per toddler, sitting in a pew with grandpa and grandma, sitting in just the right spot so the kids can see but also making escaping to the bathroom possible, and lastly, an inexpensive camera.
For real, the three year old was smitten with it most of Mass. Sure, I had a bazillion blurry photos and about as many of the backsides of the people in front of us, but she also did some selfies too.
Again, I'll point out this endeavor was also roughly two weeks into potty training mode. We're actually getting out without accidents and staying dry, so the ordination was kind of another monumental thing. Go US!
After the Mass, our hearts were full, our bellies were nourished with lunch at the reception that followed and we received our family blessing from the newly ordained.
Our newest father, Fr. Gabriel:
And yes, he is just as sweet, witty, fun-loving and amazing as he looks (psst...he was also home schooled for at least half of his school years). He's a keeper and we're blessed to have
latched on gotten to know this young priest.
The second half of the weekend was spent still celebrating Father on Father's Day.
Before we headed out to Fr. Gabriel's first Mass in the morning, there was just enough time for the toddlers to have a tea party picnic with dad.
Everyone indulged mommy with photos and some smiles.
Thankfully, this father didn't mind what our plans were just as long as our family was together. There wasn't any home cooked breakfast or elaborate dessert or putting up his feet, but he was still content.
I know, he's also a keeper.
Once again, there were more blurry photos taken of church ceilings, stained glass windows and rear ends of unknowing strangers at Father's first Mass.
Among them all were a treasured few of the Father we came to rejoice with and celebrate his Yes to his vocation. This Marian vestment was a gift for him from his home parish, Mary of the Immaculate Conception church. It was beautiful and he'll offer many a Mass in it. I so wish he was assigned closer to us so that we had the chance to join him for those Masses....
Jonah got this one snapped with the Father all on his own. He was pretty excited and of course, kind hearted Fr. Gabriel was so generous to oblige.
He asked for one more photo with our family along with his new vestment and he was the first to crouch down with the toddlers. We all followed the Father's lead and got down there with them.
These are the weekends that bless the soul, we see the fruit of our prayers and witness a vibrant Church, a hopeful diocese. Being surrounded by good and holy men, Fathers of all sorts, who lead us both inside and out of the walls of a church structure. These Fathers are all of the ones that I want as support in my own vocation, but who foster a love and greater understanding for the Church for my family and children. I am grateful that we as parents get to share these faces of faith with our children.
With the joy, so comes the sorrow. This week will be the last with our own current parish Father.
Our journey this week will contain many 'lasts' with Father for our family, for our parish. Some Fathers have a lasting imprint they leave on your heart. Some are there only for a short while because in that time this Father is exactly who your family needed to minister to them.
So many earthly Fathers we honor and are grateful for. So many we continue to pray for because they will always remain attached to a piece of our heart, our story.