Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Dads Reflect On Role In Lives Of Their Children

By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published March 15, 2007

Some 120 current, former, and even future St. Pius X High School dads gathered at the school for the 16th annual Dads Morning of Recollection Jan. 27. In his 26th year as a religion teacher at St. Pius X, Msgr. Richard Lopez has facilitated this event every year since it started.

The morning began with Mass in the school’s auditorium, the Monsignor Terry Young Center. Following Mass the dads moved over to the school cafeteria, where they were treated to doughnuts, coffee and orange juice. Once they settled into their seats, Msgr. Lopez delivered a dose of spiritual and practical insight regarding the role of fathers.

“Dads, you are as successful as your sacrifices and as competent as your prayers,” said Msgr. Lopez. In lighter moments the easygoing priest shared jokes, and even if some of them have been repeated over the years, they always create uproarious laughter among the dads. While the paternal responsibilities facing today’s dads can be a bit challenging, Msgr. Lopez offered a poignant observation. He said, “God is always there to calm fear and dispel doubt. The major fear that you should have as a dad is your child losing heaven to hell because of the absence of God in the home.” There was also time for group discussion among dads before the day concluded with lunch and the sacrament of reconciliation. Dan Homrich, a 1977 graduate of St. Pius and the dad of a freshman and a sophomore son, coordinated this year’s morning of recollection.

A week later and about 17 miles to the northwest the dads from Blessed Trinity High School, Roswell, and Marist School, Atlanta, came together for their annual Dads Retreat on the campus of Blessed Trinity. Blessed Trinity started the retreat five years ago, but for the last four years the two schools have teamed up through the coordinated effort of Blessed Trinity dad Jack Dudley and Marist dad Mike Cote. The retreats also rotate between schools each year. Their morning also kicked off with a celebration of Mass at St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell. After Mass attendees made their way over to the Blessed Trinity cafeteria for doughnuts, bagels, coffee and orange juice, a common theme for 2007 dad retreats.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory was the facilitator for the retreat after serving as principal celebrant for the Mass. Approximately 130 dads attended the retreat. Like the morning at St. Pius X, there were former and future dads mixed among current dads. There was even a dad from St. Pius who decided to take in back-to-back weekends of dad dialogue.

Archbishop Gregory broke his talk up into parts, and each segment was followed by group discussion and question/answer sessions. Archbishop Gregory said, “Fathers must teach their children the truth. As teachers of the truth you must convey the meaning and purpose of life.” He said the disciples often missed the point of Jesus’ message, so in dads’ frustration in trying to teach their children the truth, they should look to the Holy Spirit. In typical fashion the retreat wrapped up with lunch and the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation.

As the Solemnity of St. Joseph approaches, dads should look to the earthly father of Jesus as a model of obedience and love in their calling as dads and spouses.