From a Father
A Letter from the FATHER of a Seminarian
By Bob Fitzpatrick
I have a son who is in the seminary. It has taken some time for that statement to feel normal.
The idea that Jack would be called to the priesthood was not a surprise, and yet we were not as prepared for that reality as we thought. He visited a few colleges in our area, and then simply said that he wanted to go to the seminary. When his mother and I asked why he didn't want to go to "regular" college for a year or two to better make that decision he replied that doing so would only delay him by years achieving his goal of becoming a priest.
You can't argue with that logic. And we didn't want to. We did not want to be people who are hypocritical. Every week we sit in the church and respond, "Lord hear our prayer" to the call for vocations. It is not right to sincerely pray for this, and add in your heart, but please do not let it be my son or daughter. It can't always be someone else who has to sacrifice.
My father, and his father before him, owned a family run contracting company. I have one brother who also works in our business, but he is almost as old as I, and is unmarried, and has no children. Throughout my married life, raising two daughters and my one son, I guess I assumed that the company would pass once again to my male heir. My wife would add at this point that it is sexist to discount our girls in this regard but Jack is the oldest son of the oldest son of the founder of the company and he would have been a natural.
These issues are of course selfish. It is however human nature to be selfish, and as my family would say, I am unfailingly human. I am extremely proud of my son. For the sacrifices he has and will continue to make. For his commitment. And for the man he is, and is in the process of becoming. I always thought he would grow up to work in his father's business. And now he will. But I am not the father he will work for. And that is good.