He only shuts up when he is writing!
From the Pastor: Father’s Day and Corpus Christi
Although this is not a Catholic Feast Day, in the secular world we are celebrating a very important day. Father’s Day. Being a priest Father myself, I may be a bit biased, but I think that this is a great feast day! We have had our Father’s Day Mass cards available for the past month and I hope you have taken advantage of them, sending your father a loving note of prayer, something he certainly needs more than a new tie! At Dictionary.com there is a short story explaining the origins of Father’s Day. I think you might enjoy reading it.
The Origin (And Grammar) Of Father’s Day
While Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1914, Father’s Day took a little longer to be considered a national holiday. And its origin, sadly, lies in two, unrelated tragic events. How did Father’s Day begin? About six months after the Monongah mining disaster of 1907, in which the small West Virginia town lost over 350 men, Grace Golden Clayton organized an event to honor the fathers killed in the catastrophe—including her own. On the other side of the country, Sondra Smart Dodd, whose mother died in childbirth, had a similar father-related thought. Inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon she attended in 1909, Dodd believed there should be a corresponding holiday to celebrate fathers. After all, she and her five siblings had been raised by her father and Civil War veteran, William Jackson Smart. Dodd successfully gained support for her idea, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated by Washington State in 1910 in June, the month of her father’s birthday. Though President Calvin Coolidge publicly supported the holiday in 1924 and President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a proclamation naming the third Sunday in June Father’s Day, it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon officially signed Father’s Day as a permanent, national holiday into law.
Why is the apostrophe in Father’s Day singular? People often wonder why Father’s Day has an apostrophe before the S and not after. We’re celebrating all fathers on this day … not just one, right? The quick answer is that Mother’s Day set a precedent on this fuzzy grammatical issue of apostrophe placement. With the apostrophe before the S, Father’s Day “belongs” to each individual father. If the apostrophe fell after the S, the meaning slightly changes. That would be a holiday “belonging” to fathers as a collective, implying we’re prioritizing honoring all fathers on the occasion over our own father. The holiday April Fools’ Day, for example, takes the possessive plural (fools’) rather than the singular (fool’s). Perhaps this is because the individual fool doesn’t matter here in the way that each individual father matters to his children.
With that in mind, our prayers go out to all of our fathers, individually and as a group. From Sunday through the rest of the month we will be praying for all fathers, especially those whose names you have written and have been placed next to the tabernacle. May God give each of them whatever graces and blessings he needs to fulfill his role and bring his family to Heaven!
In the Church later this week we are celebrating a very special feast, too. Corpus Christi is this Thursday. For many, many, many decades (since an indult dated November 25, 1885) the United States has had the exceptional mandate to celebrate this feast of the Body of Christ on the proper Thursday (the Thursday following Trinity Sunday) as well as celebrating it again on the following Sunday as an external solemnity, at least at the main Mass. We will be doing that once again this year but with the added solemnity of having a Solemn High Mass at 10:30 am next Sunday, followed by a procession with the Blessed Sacrament. Corpus Christi commemorates the Institution of the Holy Eucharist. A young Belgium religious Sister named Juliana (now Saint Juliana, + 1258), who had a great love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, was the one most influential in getting this feast day started. Although there was already a feast day commemorating the Institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood (Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday), on that day the immanent Passion of Our Lord seemed to overshadow His giving of Himself in the Eucharist, so the new feast of Corpus Christi was not seen as “competition” in any way. Of course, there is a whole story that goes along with the eventual proclamation of Corpus Christi as a universal feast day. The story began with a German priest who doubted that Jesus was actually present in the Eucharist and so Our Lord revealed the Truth to him through a Eucharistic miracle as he was celebrating Mass. The blood-stained corporal and the Sacred Host are still on display in the cathedral of Orvieto, Italy.
So here we have two feasts, one secular and one of the Faith, in which fathers (even a not so faithful one) play an important role. The role of fathers in the family and in the Priesthood has been severely denigrated in our society. But in times when God and His designs are mocked and/or despised, the greatest of Saints rise up. The next great Saint, believe it or not, could be the one who raised you or married you. Pray for him! While you are at it, please pray for all fathers, whether they obtained their fatherhood through biology, adoption, spiritual relations, or the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Fathers are essential, as we see most clearly in the Person of God the Father, the perfect pattern for all fathers.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka