Columnists Mark my words

A holy father’s not just in Rome

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

At a recent rehearsal, I got to visit with the most neglected person in the wedding procession.

Obviously, it’s not the bride or groom, the best man, maid/matron of honor or the other attendants. Smiles light up faces as the ring bearers and flower girls sprint up the aisle . . . or not. The mother of the bride is escorted in; the father of the bride walks his daughter in.

So, who’s left? Well, while the groom accompanies his mother into the church, the poor father of the groom humbly — and all by himself — follows behind. When I pointed this out to the groom’s father, he replied, with a laugh, “Father, I know my role in all this! Just write the checks!”

This issue’s center spread, pages 8 and 9, offers some reflections on fathers as we honor them this weekend. It’s hard to believe that my dad has been gone for over 41 years. I still miss him.

The following story, originally written by Art Ernst (but adapted here), who was a former Methodist minister, reminds me of my dad. Ernst wrote:

When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I especially remember one evening when she made a breakfast meal after spending a long, hard day at work.

On that evening, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and a batch of extremely burned biscuits on the table in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see his reaction.

All Dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me about my day at school. I don’t remember what I told him, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bit of that thing and never made a face or uttered a word about it.

When I got up from the table, I remember hearing my mom apologize for burning the biscuits. Dad said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that night when I went to say good night to my dad, I asked if he really liked burned biscuits. He wrapped me in his arms and said lovingly, “Your mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s really tired. And besides, a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!”

The “burned biscuit episode” and his father’s handling of it made a lasting impression on Ernst’s life. He later wrote: “Throughout our married life, if my wife Jane burned something, I’d say, ‘Sweetheart, I like it that way.’ Which I really did, as she prepared it out of love. . . . And that’s my wish for each of my children and grandchildren: Learn to take the good, bad and ugly parts of your life and overcome them with kindness. Because, in the end, true thoughtfulness, forgiveness and consideration will give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit ain’t such a big deal!”

Honestly, I don’t remember too much of what my dad said, but the way that he lived his life sticks with me. His gentle spirit lovingly surrounded my mom and me . . . and oozed outward to family and friends. He was dedicated to his Catholic faith and to service both in church and in the community. He had a “Dad” sense of humor — he could always make himself laugh — and would often break out into song.

I owe him a debt that can never be fully repaid.

What a blessing great dads are! The best gift we can give them is to follow in their footsteps.

One last thought, reminiscent of that groom’s dad, is a definition of a father as “one who carries photos in his wallet where his money used to be!” True ‘dat!

About the author

Fr. Mark Goldasich

Leave a Comment