Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day or Festa del Papa

“Happy Father’s Day” or in Italian we say, ”Festa del Papa" Mostly Roman Catholic households in Italy celebrate Father’s Day on March 19, which is St. Joseph’s Feast Day. This day is celebrated to honor Saint Joseph, the foster father of Jesus Christ, a fatherly symbol of love, compassion, kindness, generosity and acceptance. This is a day when families show their gratitude to their fathers with favors, gifts and family gatherings.

But, here in the United States we celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. The thought for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington the year was 1909, when Senora Smart was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. Her Mother had died and was raised by her father along with her siblings. She wanted to tell her father how special he was especially being courageous, selfless and a loving man. So since her father William was born in June she chose that month to hold the first Father’s Day on June 19th, 1910. The National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City in 1926 and recognized a permanent national observance of Father’s Day in 1966.

A day to celebrate fatherhood and male parenting for all fathers, whether it be dads, step-dads, grand-dads and even foster dads “You don’t have to have your own children to be a great Dad,” which is a very meaningful and moving quote.
My Dad & me
(1959-1960 ? )

So, today as I wish my Dad a Happy Father’s Day, and I also wish my son Paul, a Happy Foster Father’s Day as well.

My son Paul, is a foster father. He and Stacey (his wife) are foster parents. They met when they were both 21, on Oct 4, 1996. Their love and commitment continued and on January 6, 2007 they were married. As life would have it, they were not blessed with children so they decided to foster a child or possibly adopt.

Through the Department of Social Services in their town where they live, in upstate New York, they were able to go through the steps to become foster parents. They took the courses and became certified to provide a temporary, safe home for children in crisis. Foster parents are part of the child’s support and care. They are partners with the child’s case/social workers, teachers and doctors. Becoming a foster parent is not just the opening of one’s home and providing food, clothing and shelter. Foster care is a dedicated advocacy of love and nurturing for children. The goal of the foster care system is to reunite the children with their biological families. If this is not possible which sometimes happens, the county will begin to look for an adoptive home. The courts in that case usually ask the current foster parents if they are interested in adopting the child.

Since, my son and my daughter-in-law have been certified to foster, they have had many children come and go. From infants to older children, they were there to open their hearts and home. As they began to foster more children, and return them to their biological parents or other responsible relatives, their hearts began to break. They decided that letting the children go was a very hard adjustment and didn’t want them to leave their lives. I, for one, give Paul and Stacey so much credit for doing this in the first place. It really takes a special person or people to have such room in their hearts. Through their commitment, they finally decided they wanted to adopt a foster child. So, one day this sweet little girl was sent to them for foster care. She was 2 1/2 years old when she came into their lives. She will be 5 in August and they are trying to adopt her through the court system. Paul and Stacey have a wonderful relationship with this little angel that was sent to them, and shower her with love, respect and understanding.  
Paul, my son

As I watch my son Paul interact with this little angel, I wonder what makes a good father? Using respectful words and tone of voice, taking time out to play and listen when there is a problem, taking family vacations and camp outs. Being a good husband to his wife, this shows respect and understanding. Reading to the children and teaching children to work with their hands so they understand a job well done. Sticking to your principles and promises a father plays a role of a guide, supporter, motivator, protector and most of all shows love. I think that is what makes a good father and I see that in my son Paul, all of the above and much more.

There are so many children separated from their families and there is always a need for foster parents, just like Saint Joseph was a foster father to Jesus. There is always a need for loving families to provide temporary or permanent homes to children in need. Please consider contacting your local Catholic Charities or Division of Family Services about becoming a foster parent. Celebrate the roll of fathers in the lives of children and show that you don’t have to be a biological father to make a difference in the life of a child.
Paul & Stacey

My son Paul, has a favorite recipe that I would love to share with you, Corn Fritters. My mother taught me how to prepare this recipe when my son was young. He always enjoyed this dish and every time he visits he asks me to make it for him. I know that on Father’s Day it is a weekend for BBQ‘s, so what a delicious, simple and quick dish to have on the side with hamburgers, hot dogs and steaks. So again, I hope that everyone enjoys their Father’s Day. To my son, Paul and my Dad, I love you and I am very lucky to have you both in my life.
Corn Fritters


2 cups of corn (1 can of creamed corn)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 /8 teaspoon of pepper
1 egg
1 teaspoon melted unsalted butter
1 /2 cup of milk
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Vegetable oil

Heat oil in pot or deep fryer to 365 ° (185° C). In bowl combine corn, salt/pepper, and a well beaten egg. Then add butter, milk, baking powder and flour. Mix together (will be lumpy)
Drop fritter batter by spoonfuls (tablespoon) into hot oil, and fry until golden. Drain on paper towels.
You can eat then just the way they are or put some pancake syrup on them or even powdered sugar. (optional)
Yields: about 12-15 corn fritters
Till next time………
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