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Fathers’ Day: Origin, Celebration, Devotion, Prayers

Fathers’ Day: Origin, Celebration, Devotion, Prayers

On March 19, for Saint Joseph's Day, or in June in a secular tradition, there are different dates when we can celebrate our dads. What is the origin of this feast and why is it so important for Christians to honor our fathers? As with Mother's Day, Father's Day is an opportunity to give thanks and entrust our “earthly” fathers to our heavenly Father. For those who brought us into the world, who raised us, and who loved us, whether they were our biological fathers or our dads at heart, like Saint Joseph, Jesus' adoptive father, a beautiful gift for their feast is to carry them in our prayers.



Origin of Father's Day

From Christian origins…

We find traces of this custom from the Middle Ages. Indeed, dads were celebrated on March 19, the day of Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus and patron saint of fathers.

For centuries, therefore, the Church has celebrated the fathers alongside him to whom the Son of God was entrusted. Even today, some countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy) have kept this date.

… to becoming a public holiday

This festival took on a civil dimension in different countries in the 20th century, to echo Mother's Day and offer a day dedicated to dads on the same model. It was in the United States that the idea of a feast dedicated to fathers first appeared, launched by a young woman to honor her father, who raised his six children alone. Commercial objectives were added to the desire to celebrate paternity and in France, it was a brand of lighters, Flaminaire which, in 1952, introduced Father's Day, now fixed on the third Sunday of June.

Honoring and celebrating our dads

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)
  In Christian tradition, honoring one's parents is one of the divine commandments. Paternity, like motherhood, is one of the sacred mysteries of life that it is good to celebrate.

Our Heavenly Father, model of paternity

God, many times in the Bible, is represented in the form of a Father, just, loving and merciful to his children. We also discover the beauty of the filial relationship through the love that unites the Father and the Son in the Holy Trinity.


Here are some beautiful Bible verses about the paternal link between God and us:


Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)


“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (Isaiah 49:15 -16)


Saint Joseph, patron saint of fathers and protector of the family

Like Saint Joseph, “Guardian of the Redeemer,” the father has the responsibility to educate, protect and raise his child to adulthood. This is a beautiful and delicate mission. Fathers need support and role models for this.

Saint Joseph is one, able to guide and accompany them in their role as fathers.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis wrote the apostolic letter Patris Corde (With a Father's Heart) on Saint Joseph.
“[Joseph] was called by God to serve directly the person and mission of Jesus by exercising his fatherhood. It is in this way that he cooperates in the fullness of time in the great mystery of the Redemption and that he is truly a minister of salvation."[17]



Pray for fathers

Prayer for Father's Day

“Lord, on this day of feast and joy, we want to thank You, to say thank You for our fathers, those who are still among us and those who have joined You. Yes, Lord, thank You for our dads who, at the heart of the family, play an important role. Through their attention and daily dedication, it is Your love that reveals itself to us. By their love of life, it is your joy that finds us. Through their words of encouragement, it is your voice that we hear. Thank You, Lord, for fathers, grandfathers and future dads. Show them your goodness by making them experience today the most beautiful of days. Amen.”


 Prayer to Saint Joseph for dads

“Saint Joseph, adoptive father of Jesus, we pray to you on this day for all the dads of our families and our world. Like you, the man always listening … For their child(ren), their family, a presence of listening and attention. May they never be preoccupied with concerns other than that of happiness, dialogue, and family charity. Like you, the hardworking man… Whether they perform their role in their family in their professional environment or in the church with joy and simplicity, love and serenity, respect and tolerance. Like you, the available man… Let them know how to look at the world with a lot of faith, love and respect. And that through their gaze, they provide others with the encouragement and strength they need. Like you, man on the move… In all circumstances, and especially in the most difficult ones, may they never cease to keep the faith and to lead to hope those around them. Amen.”


With Hozana, pray for fathers!

On Hozana, discover proposals to entrust dads and their missions to the Lord, especially through a novena to Saint Joseph. Online paths also make it possible to take time for reflection and prayer for each man, to better live out his mission as a father and discover all its beauty.