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Mary Pedersen notes that Father's Day is a time to recall how noble it is for a father to live a simple life of loving and protecting his family.

A young man shared his discontent. In his mid-thirties, still single and working a “dead-end” job, he voiced his desire for time to discern and pursue his passion: “I think the government should give each young adult two years' worth of income to find themselves.” After listening, my friend and I walked away, shaking our heads as we thought of our own fathers.

Her dad, at the ripe old age of twenty, married her mother before heading off to World War II. After fighting at Normandy Beach, he returned to his wife and child. He worked for a manufacturing company for over forty years, plus a weekend job to support their nine children. My father, a WWII pilot, married mom at age twenty-one, four days after returning from overseas.


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Dad entered dental school with a wife and baby to support. He sold hot dogs at fraternity houses on football weekends, besides working a job at a science lab, then practiced dentistry for over forty years to provide for their five children.

We imagined our fathers’ reactions to this young man. Each of our fathers worked hard. They lived noble lives as faithful Catholics, husbands, and fathers — and never thought of “finding” themselves. They understood there is nothing nobler for a man than serving God as a good and holy husband and father.

While I worked as a high school campus minister, a student, Bart, often made his way into my office. Though a bit mischievous, he’d sit and chat. During his senior year, he shared his dream of heading off to Hollywood after graduation. I always wondered what happened to Bart when he arrived at my house one day to fix the kitchen sink. Surprised to see one another, he reported: “Mrs. P., I’m married to a beautiful woman and we have a son — and another one on the way.” He pulled out pictures of his family and was genuinely happy with his life and his profession as a plumber.

“Bart, I am so proud of you. There is nothing, not one thing, as noble as being a good husband and father.”

There is nothing nobler for a man than serving God as a good and holy husband and father. #catholicmom

This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate the men who live noble lives — working day in and day out to care for their families. The fathers who love and honor their wives, model the faith, teach life lessons, and play with their children. The single fathers who work tirelessly to raise their sons or daughters with faith, hope, and love.

As the mother of sons, I beam when watching my boys turn into men by living noble lives through marriage and fatherhood. And proud of our son, who lives as a spiritual father through the priesthood.

The fathers who served in WWII, came home and raised families, would probably have dismissed this young man’s desire to “find” himself. They simply lived by pouring out their lives for their families. Perhaps they experienced early in life that it is in dying to oneself that we live our greater purpose as Christ’s disciple. Hopefully, this young man will discover that we “find” ourselves by giving ourselves away for the sake of the Gospel.

St. Joseph, model of a noble life, pray for all fathers.


dad with 3 kids in hammock

Copyright 2021 Mary Pedersen
Images copyright 2021 Mary Pedersen, all rights reserved.