Father’s Day (by Sharon Fabyanic)

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! That includes all of the men who give of themselves selflessly in fathering roles, coaching others to be all they can be and pouring in goodness to others. In my own life I have been blessed with a truly awesome dad. I know this is not always the norm, so it makes me truly grateful. As Catholics we celebrate today the Feast of Corpus Christi where we honor the abiding presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As I have worked in formation for the past nine years, I know that true presence is an idea that sometimes we struggle to fully comprehend. Christ truly present to us, contained in the host is truly remarkable. It is one of the many reasons that no matter how often my kids may ask for a Sunday off, I just cannot bring myself to miss Mass. Christ, truly present to us in the Eucharist? Amazing! Frankly, I am often shocked that it doesn’t draw an even bigger crowd. True Presence? Christ with us as our source and summit.
My dad taught me about true presence by being truly present to me. He listens to a story as if it is the most important thing in the world, relishing every detail when most people would have quickly glazed over and zoned out. Growing up, despite the busy demands of work, he never missed an opportunity to be present. He showed up early and often to whatever was important to me. I remember when he retired his whistle after years of coaching soccer, because it became clear I was way more interested in ballet slippers than cleats. Later on in college, while driving to a final my Senior year at ASU, I experienced car trouble. The first thing I did was call my dad. And somehow, in an era when you did not leave your cell phone on because of roaming charges, he answered and quickly helped me navigate the solution in a way that only a dad can. When I needed a buddy to take a road trip across the country for a summer job, my dad took off work for the week and hopped in the car, eager to share stories and snacks on the road. Many years later when I returned to work after the birth of our first child, my dad retired and stayed home with her. Knowing that my heart was broken to leave my baby girl each day, he brought her to my work weekly for lunch visits to make things easier on me. As a loving “Pop Pops” to my kids, he seldom misses a game or an ice skating competition. He is in the first row at the Christmas concert every year. He does not miss an opportunity to simply show up and be present.
One of the reasons my faith runs deep is because I have experienced the deep love of an amazing father. This love has left me open to have no doubt that I have a father in heaven that loves me unconditionally and for always. My understanding of a faithful father that loves me unconditionally and wants me to be my best self, to serve others, to live compassionately, happens naturally because I have known that father in my life in a very real and tangible way. I know this is a gift that not everyone gets to receive. I am very grateful. However, no matter what our family situations may be, we all have the opportunity to experience the true presence of Christ, soul and divinity each time we receive the Eucharist. Strength for our journey, always there for us, always present. Amazing! Happy Father’s Day Dads! And to the rest of us, I hope we will take a moment to be awestruck when we receive the Eucharist today.