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Happy Father’s Day

June 14, 2019

Mark Poletunow, President of Malvern Retreat House

For many of us, the meaning of Father’s Day takes on evolving significance as our life experience changes.

For many years, it was a special time for remembering Dad and showing some focused appreciation for the man who taught me so many good things through his example. When Dad passed away about ten years ago, the gratefulness remained; however, I came face to face with the pain of loss and grief – not being able to talk to one of my favorite people and the nostalgia of memories past. I loved my Dad, and I still do. After my father’s death, the reality of the Communion of the Saints as well as the unwavering gentle and firm love of God the Father took on new meaning. I still talk to Dad and ask for his prayers – but in a new and more profound way. That led to an intensified awareness that God the Father is ever-present and ever ready to hear my prayers. His love and constancy is incomparable. I live with the assurance that God the Father, as well as my earthly father want only the best for me and will do whatever possible to care and provide for me and those I love.

For most of my adult life, I always wanted to be a father myself. Yes, I was blessed to serve as a mentor and spiritual guide for many young people over the years; however, it was not the same as having my own children. Every Father’s Day carried some pain of the stark reminder that I did not have children of my own. Even after marriage, that missing part of life intensified as my wife and I experienced miscarriage and infertility. Three years ago, that changed! We were graced with twin girls – via adoption at birth. Our daughters are a lot of work, but also the source of countless joys and blessings. I would do anything for them. Above all, my focus is on showing them that they are loved and protected; just as my Dad showed me and God the Father continuously reminds me.

Our patron, Saint Joseph, has taken on new meaning for me, as well. With Jesus in their midst, both Joseph and Mary basked in the presence of God in a way that no other earthly family will experience. They were uniquely called to form and live out – minute by minute – the reality of “domestic church.” What an example for us because God is in our midst, too.

So, as we celebrate joys, memories and loss on Father’s Day, perhaps we can strive not so much as to be put on a pedestal, but rather to renew our commitment to do the right thing for the right reasons by showing our children that we love them and protect them; that they are a cherished gift from God. God the Father loves each of them beyond imaging. Let’s pray for the grace to love in a way that shows all children a genuine and authentic peek into the lavish, incomparable, perfect love of God.



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