Cherish the time you have with your Parents

A couple of weeks ago I visited the grave of my father, Thomas Michael Perna, at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Mesa, Arizona after attending the burial of my friend’s miscarried daughter and my would be goddaughter. While praying, and crying, in front of Dad’s grave, I took a picture of the headstone with one specific friend in mind. This friend does not have the best relationship with their parents, and although it has improved recently, there is still a strain to the relationship. I sent them the picture below with the caption – cherish the time you have with your parents.

There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t wish I had more time with my Dad, especially today since it would have been his 70th birthday. Dad passed away on April 22, 2015 due to complications with Crohn’s Disease, after battling the disease for forty-years.

If your parent(s) are still on this side of Heaven, and you are either in your forties, fifties, sixties, or even younger than those generations, please call your parents today and tell them that you are thinking about them and love. Don’t text – call them!! If you see them on a regular basis, drive to them today and tell them the same thing.

Dad and I at Yankee Stadium – August 2008

You can’t imagine the suffering and pain you will feel once they are gone. I often ask for intercessory prayers from St. Joseph, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Pope St. John Paul II. To conclude, here is a quote from Familiaris Consortio about fatherhood, written by Pope St. John Paul II –

“In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God, a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family: he will perform this task by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife, by work which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability, and by means of the witness he gives of an adult Christian life which effectively introduces the children into the living experience of Christ and the Church.”

Happy 70th Birthday in Heaven, Dad! We love you and we miss you! 

Last picture of Dad.

12 Quotes from Blessed Pope John Paul II on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World

If you have not heard, Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Synod on the Family. It will take place October 5-19, 2014. The theme will be – “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” Since his election to the papacy, he has been saying lots of things, but his words on the family, particularly his words on husbands and wives as well those who are divorced and seeking annulments, have garnished some attention. I look forward to hearing about the Synod as it approaches over the next year.

Official JP 2 Papal PhotoAnother Pope who had a real passion for the family was Blessed Pope John Paul II. From September 26 to October 25, 1980, a Synod occurred with Bishops from around the world and Pope John Paul II. The purpose of the Synod was to explain how the importance of the family must help man find his vocation and to seek greater justice, by educating the individual in the virtues of justice and love. It was his second synod and one that he found highly important to call because of his love for the human person and the outright destruction of the Christian family. He witnessed this for many years in Poland under the Socialists, who ruled much of Eastern Europe with an atheistic iron fist.

I suggest you “Bookmark” this post and remember it when the Extraordinary Synod comes up a year from now and the document that will follow. I imagine there will be good continuity between Pope Francis and the future saint, Pope John Paul II.

Below are 12 quotes (I could have given you 50!) from the Apostolic Exhortation (a proclamation from the modern day Apostles) that followed the Synod, Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) –

1. “Willed by God in very action of creation, marriage and family are interiorly ordained to fulfillment in Christ and have need of His graces in order to be healed from the wounds of sin and restored to their “beginning,” that is, to full understanding and the full realization of God’s plan” (#3).

2. “The education of the moral conscience, which makes every human being capable of judging and of discerning the proper ways to achieve self-realization according to his or her original truth, thus becomes a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced” (#8).

3. “Spouses are therefore the permanent reminder to the Church of what happened on the Cross; they are for one another and for the children witnesses to the salvation in which the sacrament makes them sharers” (#13).

4. “The family, which is founded and given life by love, in a community of persons: of husband and wife, of parents and children, of relatives…with love the family is not a community of persons and, in the same way, without love the family cannot love, grow and perfect itself as a community of persons” (#18).

5. “While it must be recognized that women have the same right as men to perform various public functions, society must be structured in such a way that wives and mothers are not in practice compelled to work outside the home, and that their families can live and prosper in a dignified way even when they themselves devote their full time to their own family” (#23).

6. “The Church condemns as a grave offense against human dignity and justice all those activities of governments or other public authorities…in favor of contraception or, still worse, of sterilization and procured abortion, must be altogether condemned and forcefully rejected” (#30).

Holy_Family_icon1

7. “Thus the little domestic Church, like the greater Church, needs to be constantly and intensely evangelized: hence its duty regarding permanent education in the faith…the family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates…the future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home” (#51-52).

8. “Christian marriage, like the other sacraments, “whose purpose is to sanctify people, to build up the body of Christ, and finally, to give worship to God,” is in itself a liturgical action glorifying God in Jesus Christ and in the Church” (#56).

9. “Family prayer has its own characteristic qualities. It is prayer offered in common, husband and wife together, parents and children together…by reason of their dignity and mission, Christian parents have the specific responsibility of educating their children in prayer, introducing them to gradual discovery of the mystery of God and to personal dialogue with Him…”(#59-60).

10. “The Church must therefore promote better and more intensive programs of marriage preparation, in order to eliminate as far as possible the difficulties that many married couples find themselves in, and even more in order to favor positively the establishing and maturing of successful marriages” (#66).

11. “The person principally responsible in the diocese for the pastoral care of the family is the Bishop. As father and pastor, he must exercise particular solicitude in this clearly priority sector of pastoral care” (#73).

12. “I wish to invoke the protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth…it is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families…St. Joseph was a “just man”…may he always guard, protect and enlighten families. May the Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of the Church, also be the Mother of “the Church of the home”…May Christ the Lord, the Universal King, the King of Families, be present in every Christian home as He was at Cana, bestowing light, joy, serenity, and strength” (#86).

For more on the family from Blessed Pope John Paul II, please see his 1994 (Year of the Family) Letter, Gratissimam Sane. Also read and share – Catholics Continue to Have Lowest Divorce Rates.

The Holy Family of Nazareth…Pray For Us!