Up until this time, the Catholic Church has not officially proclaimed a feast for God the Father. So until it does, we like to refer to the 1st Sunday of August as a celebration of honouring God the Father.
God the Father has requested a feast dedicated honouring Him in a particular way, under the title of FATHER of all mankind. He has chosen the first Sunday in August or if a weekday is preferred, 7th of August.
Around the world, there is growing swell of priests and lay people who are growing in support of God the Fatherís requests and are organising their own celebrations.
Theologians call for a feast for God the Father
Feasts are a form of catechesis. In the liturgical cycle they deepen the knowledge of the faithful and give impetus to their faith.
Saint Joseph has two feasts in the Church's liturgical cycle - on March 19th "Patron of the Universal Church" and on May 1st he is honoured as "St. Joseph the Worker". "There is a feast, two in fact, for Jesus' foster father but there's not even one for the real Father. Might not this be time to fill the gap?" (1)
A feast for God the Father will be the fulfillment of Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman: "the hour is coming, and is now, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him." (Jn 4:21-23)
Efforts to inaugurate a feast honouring God the Father were made as long ago as 1657 and 1684 but theological objections were raised and no further attempt occurred. Interestingly at that time the philosophical lie of Deism spread. This philosophy reduced God the Father to a "cold, distant Creator". If, at that time, a feast for God the Father had been introduced it would have served as a bulwark against Deism.
Over the last century some theologians have again put forward the idea of a liturgical feast in honour of God the Father.
"The true object of the special feast [for God the Father] becomes plain: to honour the Father and to thank and praise Him for giving us His Son....At a time when the world is troubled by the doctrines of laicism, atheism and modern philosophies and no longer knows God, the true God, would not this feast help many come to know the living Father, the Father of Mercy and Goodness as revealed to us by Jesus?" (2)
"The Church likewise must deepen her awareness of having come forth from the Father and of advancing toward him. The liturgical feast of God the Father would express this awareness with greater clarity......Such a feast could not be considered an ornamental devotion. It is not a superfluous manifestation of piety, but intrinisc to the liturgical cycle of which this feast is the pinnacle..........The purpose of a liturgical feast is to draw attention to a particular person or mystery. The person of God the Father and the mystery of the divine fatherhood deserve more than an implicit veneration or a mere mention in other feasts. We can adequately celebrate and thank God our Father only with a special feast in his honour." (3)
"Many feasts were created to answer particular needs of an epoch...today the threat is against the very core of the Christian faith and that is the revelation of God as Father...now it is the Father and no longer the Holy Spirit who is 'the divine unknown'.........Feasts are a living catechesis and today there is an urgent need for a living catechesis on the Father." (4)
"For the first time in history churches have been built in His honour and a special feast is envisaged to God the Father. Will this serve to diminish attention to God the Son incarnate? On the contrary it will enable us to come closer to the mystery of His sonship.........a spirituality orientated to the Father enhances, amplifies, deepens intimacy with Jesus." (5)
And at the Fourth General Congregation of the Synod of Bishops to 'foster ecclesial communion' Patriarch Joseph Arnaouti stated "I will read the signs of the times.....I suggest the following proposition: The institution of a liturgical feast of the Father. The 'Our Father' is the ecumenical prayer par excellence." (6)
Never before in history has society experienced such a "crisis of human fatherhood". A feast honouring God as our Father would be an occasion to develop the theological dimension of the natural fatherhood of husbands and the spiritual fatherhood of priests and thus "turn the hearts of the fathers to their children." (Malachi 3:24)
A feast for God the Father would help souls in today's culture experiencing confusion and disorientation in direction. "The Father is at the origin and at the conclusion of the mystery [of salvation]. The entire work of sanctification results from his paternal love and tends to produce, as its ultimate fruit, the return of humankind to him. His paternal role which is absolutely primordial and decisive, deserves to be recognized and venerated by a special feast." (7)
A Feast for God the Father would see the Body of Christ imitate Jesus in His relationship with His Father. The whole mission of Jesus on earth was to make the Father known. "Christ's example invites us to utter the name of "Father" more often......If we compare many of our prayers with the prayer of the Gospel, we are struck by the absence of the name "Father", the name that gives such warmth to Jesus' prayer and reveals his deepest emotion as well. Many prayers have remained at the stage of the Old Testament in their way of addressing God." (8)
The Feast of Divine Mercy has now become an official feast within the liturgy of the Church. God the Father is the Source of that Mercy and allows His Mercy to flow to us through the Heart of His Son, Jesus. A feast would honour Him for this Gift.
The ultimate destiny of humanity is a return to the Father: "Then the end will come, when He'll deliver the kingdom to His God and Father." (1Cor 15:24)
In the parable of the Prodigal Son "the young man being embraced by the Father is no longer just one repentant sinner, but the whole of humanity returning to God. The broken body of the prodigal becomes the broken body of humanity." (9) A feast for God the Father would serve as an analogy of the feast in the parable of the Prodigal Son.
"The Divine Master invites us to recognise, first and foremost, the primacy of God the Father. Where He is not present, nothing good can exist. He is a decisive priority in all things." (10)
A feast for God the Father would be a fitting recognition of His primacy.
Compiled by Maree Triffett Copyright 2012
1. 'Life in the Lordship of Christ' Father Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M CAP - p. 115
2. 'Life for the Glory of the Father - The Message of God our Father given to Mother Eugenia Elisabetta Ravasio' p 73 - Bishop Alexander Caillot's testimony of support.
3. 'Abba Father we long to see Your Face' Jean Galot SJ - p. 226
4. 'Life in the Lordship of Christ' Father Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M CAP - p.115,116
5. Foreward of "God our Father, Consecration and Feast Day for the Father of All Mankind" Fr. Michael O'Carroll C.S.SP p V
6. L'Osservatore Romano 3rd November, 2010.
7. 'Abba Father we long to see Your Face' - Jean Galot SJ - p. 225
8. ibid p. 222,223
9. 'The Return of the Prodigal Son' Henri Nouwen p. 58
10. Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Angelus 17th July, 2011
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