Why Faithful Fathers?

Why Faithful Fathers?
Fr. John Paul Kern, O.P. preaches at Holy Name, Fishtown, PA

I woke up early this morning, and it just suddenly hit me that I need to start this fraternity for Catholic fathers. Dare I say the Holy Spirit laid it on my heart?  I think I dare. 🙂 Thankfully, I was off today, so I had time to get about getting it going.

I know there are other Catholic men’s groups out there, but no single organization is for everybody. At its heart, I see this as a way for me to follow the Dominican tradition of contemplare et aliis tradere, that is, to contemplate and pass on the fruits of my contemplation with others. I mean that I feel I should start my own Faithful Fathers group, but also I think it will be a helpful model for others.

For years, I have wondered if I should get involved in parish formation. Maybe I should yet, but I somehow feel called more to help other fathers, because I know fathers whom I would like to learn from and share with but also because it seems that there is still not a strong culture of deeply-formed Catholic fathers. I don’t think it is because fathers don’t care; it’s just that for one reason or another, most Catholic men’s groups tend not to focus on faith formation.

Now I know I am biased towards Dominican spirituality. I am, after all, a lay Dominican, and that influence is explicitly admitted in this fraternity. I also know that becoming a lay Dominican is not for everybody. It’s a calling, and it places real obligations on us from our promises. But there is so much goodness in Dominican spirituality, a treasure that I have slowly been discovering and will be for the rest of my life. This ministry is my way of sharing some of that treasure outside the bounds of the Order, proper.