Yesterday about 100 people from our parish, as I had hoped, participated in this year’s Walk for Life. Next year, 200! We are privileged to count the Walk’s two founding coordinators as our parishioners, Eva Muntean and Dolores Meehan. I see them sitting with Tim and Angela Urban and their six beautiful children, who crossed the Rockies and the Sierras in heavy snow to be with us from Colorado. Welcome to all of you from Wyoming Catholic College, Thomas Aquinas College, Paraclete High School, San Diego Cathedral Prep, St. Mary’s in Phoenix, and all who have come to walk for life in San Francisco this year.
Pamela Tebow found the courage to keep her son rather than abort him. But imagine if she were a single mother, without a husband’s emotional, moral, and financial support. Imagine if her own parents had been divorced or never married, facing such a crisis without strong family unity. One can scarcely imagine that she could have found the necessary support to keep her unborn baby as a single mother. St. John Paul’s landmark 1981 document, Familiaris consortio, states that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family.” In other words, as goes the family, so goes the culture. The most effective means of overcoming an abortive society is to strengthen family life. And indeed, yesterday’s Walk looked a lot like a Family Conference. San Francisco was flooded with large, joyful families strolling down Market Street.
Natural and Supernatural Fathers
In the Gospel Our Lord chooses his first Apostles: two sets of brothers, Peter and Andrew, and James and John. He calls them to leave their natural families and become part of his supernatural family; to leave earthly fatherhood to become supernatural fathers as priests.
I saw many fathers at yesterday’s Walk, and both kinds: natural fathers carrying small children or walking shoulder-to-shoulder with their teen-agers. And I saw priests of all shapes and sizes and colors, carrying their children in a spiritual way, walking shoulder-to-shoulder with their parishioners. It was a parade of parishes sporting their flags, banners, sweatshirts, and baseball caps. St. Benedict’s parish from Hollister, Our Lady of the Assumption from Turlock, St. Mathew’s from San Mateo, my old parish of St. Joseph’s from Modesto and my new parish, Star of the Sea from San Francisco. Families of families, walking with their spiritual fathers, their priests.
We need both kinds of families. We need both kinds of fathers. “The well-being of individuals and communities depends on the healthy state of the family” wrote St. John Paul. Who will serve as fathers in our parish families? “Come after me,” Jesus told the two brothers, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Today one of our own apostles in training, Cameron Pollette, will speak about his vocation and first two years in the seminary. I pray for him every day by name, as well as the other four young men from my previous parishes who are in seminary. Marco, another young man from our parish, just got added to my list as he has been accepted for seminary this fall. I urge you to pray for these young men in your daily rosaries and Masses, as well as the young women whom we so dearly need as religious sisters. So many of our parishes have empty convents now, but a parish without the good sisters is like a family without a mother.