Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

6/17/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The role of fatherhood is critical to the life and health of the family and society

I had two experiences this year which shed some light on the meaning of fatherhood for me. One concerns a story told by a nun from Africa. Her story helped me see the relationship between masculinity and fatherhood. The second experience is based on the eulogy given for a father by one of his daughters at his funeral. It was a beautiful testament to fatherhood.

99-year-old Joseph Burriesci

99-year-old Joseph Burriesci

Highlights

By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/17/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Father's Day, Father, Dad, Family, Joseph Burriesci, Michael Terheyden


KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - I would like to share two experiences I had this year which shed some light on the meaning of fatherhood for me. The first experience concerns a story told by a nun, Sister Elizabeth. Her story helped me see the relationship between masculinity and fatherhood. My second experience is based on the eulogy given for a father by one of his daughters at his funeral. It was a beautiful testament to fatherhood.

On the relationship between masculinity and fatherhood

Sister Elizabeth is a missionary from Africa and presently assigned to the Diocese of Knoxville in Tennessee. She recently held a men's retreat which focused on fatherhood. She described fathering as faithfully providing for the needs of the life one is responsible for bringing into existence. This includes providing leadership, guidance and security, as well as material, emotional and spiritual support.

She also pointed out that the role of fatherhood is largely determined by masculine characteristics and the needs of the children and their mother. To drive this point home, she told us about some members of her congregation who were attacked by a band of armed Muslims at a mission where they were living.

One of the sisters was captured by the Muslims. By God's grace, she escaped unharmed. The other nuns huddled together in a room in one of the buildings. The Muslims were searching for them and tearing up the mission. The stress was unbearable and they felt utterly helpless. Then they heard trucks racing across the mission grounds, men shouting and gunfire. Help had arrived.

According to sister, the presence of the men and the sound of their voices was enough to calm the nun's fears and make them feel secure, even before the battle was won. I think this is significant. Masculine characteristics--such as size, strength, deep voice, and assertiveness--manifest a strength that is meant to fulfill certain needs in others, especially those who are weaker.

Sister's story also reminded me that children have real needs. They need to be cared for materially, emotionally and spiritually. They need to know that you will be there for them. They need to feel secure, and so do their mothers. Men fulfill this role in a unique way for children, women and others in society. The role of fatherhood is critical to the life and health of the family and society. And it has a lifelong impact on children, which is evident based on the eulogy included below.

A beautiful testament to fatherhood

Joseph Burriesci fulfilled Sister's definition of fatherhood. He was faithful to his children and their mother. He provided them with leadership; guidance, security; and support for their material, emotional, and spiritual needs. Joe learned about fatherhood at a young age. He was the eldest of eight children. His dad died while they were still young, so Joe had to take over for his dad. He even gave away four of his sisters when they got married. Joe was born on October 30, 1912, and he died on March 1, 2012, about eight months before his 100th birthday.

My wife and I went to Joe's funeral. I never met him. I learned about him from his daughter, Marilyn, who is a friend of ours. At the funeral, Marilyn's older sister gave the eulogy for their father. I thought it was so inspiring and offered such an excellent example of fatherhood that I asked Marilyn if I could share it with Catholic Online readers. She kindly agreed, so here it is in its entirety:

"Patient, gracious, intelligent, and benevolent are just of the few of the virtues that describe our Dad and Grandfather. He was a role model for many during his lifetime. I held him in the highest esteem, which my siblings, husband and daughter can testify. He was never a burden as everything done for him was done out of love.

"So on this day of our final farewell, I have a few words to impart about our Dad and Grandfather. He spent his long life as an inspiration to all of us. Because of Dad and of course his right arm, our Mom, we kids had a wonderful, happy life. They set the foundation, and we were very lucky to have been their children and grandchildren.

"Our Dad was a loving husband and a generous, dedicated and selfless father. He was the father of three daughters and one son, the grandfather of nine and the great grandfather of 31, with another on the way, not a small feat.

"I was well into adulthood before I realized that there was nothing Dad couldn't fix. And he could come up with an idea to fix anything using many a creative means. My husband referred to him as the "Pope," as that is the way he said I viewed Dad--infallible!

"He was a fantastic Dad always there when we needed him emotionally, physically and otherwise. I'm sure each of us has a selfless story about Dad as that was the type of individual he was.

"He was a very upbeat guy. He had a super positive attitude. Nothing could get him down for long. He was always the gentleman, holding the door so you could pass first. He did this well into his nineties and most times for those younger than he.

"He led by example. He never thought of himself first. He would wait until everyone was seated at the dinner table before taking his first bite of food. He was physically, emotionally and mentally strong. For these virtues he was greatly admired. He never complained. He was the most appreciative man. He always thanked you for whatever you did for him, no matter how small.

"In our eyes our Dad was a notch or two above the rest. We were all blessed to have him in our lives. He will be sorely missed. He leaves immensely large shoes to fill and a gigantic hole in our hearts.

"I don't believe we will ever look at a bird in our back yards and not think of him. He enjoyed looking at the birds and the clouds going by. When we see a chess puzzle, a boxing match or baseball game scheduled for TV, or pasta and wine on Sundays, we'll think of Dad as those were what he enjoyed.

"As our Mom said many times "God threw the mold away after he made your Dad." Very true! And if Dad were sitting out there among you now he would lean over to whichever of his children was next to him and say, "Look at that Jackie, she doesn't know enough to stop talking and sit down."

"We love you Dad! We'll miss you! Rest in peace. You've earned it!"

God bless you Joe and all fathers on this Father's Day.

 
-----

Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.

-----

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Marriage & Family

Distracted teenage drivers caught on camera in horrifying accidents Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed about 1,700 takes of footage involving teenage drivers and the moments just before they crash. The videos are horrifying and disturbing, as the common cause of the accidents is distracted driving. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


Children's coloring book tackles gender stereotypes with 'Super-Soft Heroes' Watch

Image of Super Soft Heroes shows young boys it's OK to not always be strong.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Linnea Johansson became worried after seeing her usually emotional 3-year-old son do his best not to cry, saying he wouldn't cry because Spiderman doesn't. As a mother bothered by how gender stereotypes are affecting her child and a fan of comic books who believes that ... continue reading


'Kill it, give it away or leave it at home' Woman rants and complains about child's behavior in shocking viral video Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An upsetting video of an older woman ranting, giving disgusting suggestions about a misbehaving child she witnessed at a grocery store has gone viral. Identified as Kathleen Smith from Tomball, Texas, she suggests the mother could have done something so the child ... continue reading


Destined by fate: New Jersey couple discover something incredible in a home video Watch

Image of Married now for eight years, the Spencer's discovered they actually crossed paths in 1988.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Jourdan and Ryan Spencer from New Jersey were shocked to see that they crossed each other's path 16 years before they officially met. Watching a home video, taken during Jourdan's family trip to Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, they saw someone familiar appear ... continue reading


A woman's life in numbers: The 'ultimate female life timeline' highlights the ages women experience change in life Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As women grow from little girls to adults, the endure certain life-changing events. From being the girl-turned-woman after menstruation until she is on the age of the peak of female life expectancy, here are the significant ages women can count on being important. ... continue reading


How to find your way back to your spouse: Tips on what to do when conflicts become too much Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Couples should learn to relate with one another, in order to conquer challenges they cannot fully anticipate, according to David B. Hawkins from crosswalk.com. Some people assess that the individual person gets along more with others than their spouse. Hawkins ... continue reading


Woman with two mothers comes out AGAINST gay marriage, and the reason why is not what you think Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heather Barwick is a gay marriage advocate who was raised by two lesbian mothers. However, she recently published an open letter entitled "Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting" in the Federalist. She stated she loves her two mothers and the gay community, but now ... continue reading


Don't just stand there, DO SOMETHING! Viral sexual assault PSA shocks viewers by asking #WhoWillYouHelp Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new campaign, in Ontario, directly asks people who they will help: the perpetrators or the victims. The video shows the way bystanders are being "accomplices" and also guilty of the sexual assault when they opt out from doing something and keep their silence. ... continue reading


Breastfed babies make more money Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The intelligence developed by babies from stable breast-feeding carries on into their adulthood and makes them earn more money, according to research. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Although there are existing studies that establish correlation between ... continue reading


Amazing message from God stops YouTube star from having abortion Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"People remember dates for birthdays, and anniversaries. Well this date is forever burned in my brain. It's a day that I will remember and I remember every single detail of that day," stated Kimberly Henderson, 26-year-old mother and viral YouTube star. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-7
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
8 'He trusted himself to Yahweh, let Yahweh set him ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 15:1-39
1 First thing in the morning, the chief priests, ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 2:6-11
6 Who, being in the form of God, did not count ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 29th, 2015 Image

St. Berthold
March 29: Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter