By Barb Arland-Fye
DAVENPORT — Inspiration for a Holy Hour for Fathers came to Joe Ripslinger as he prayed one night in the Adoration Chapel of Sacred Heart Cathedral. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, he thought, to gather fathers (dads), priests, future fathers and priests together in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for one hour?
Now in its third year, Holy Hour for Fathers drew about 50 men of varying ages to Sacred Heart’s Adoration Chapel to pray before the Eucharist on Monday night, June 28. This year, Bishop Martin Amos led the Holy Hour. The service focused on praying for fathers to be spiritual role models for their children, and for future fathers and their community. The men prayed, sang, reflected and listened to a reading from the Gospel and Bishop Amos’ homily.
In his homily, the bishop reminded the men that Jesus commanded those who follow him to carry on his mission to be salt of the earth and light of the world. “So, as father, we must be an example of all things good and pure. As the standards of honesty, of diligence in work, of conscientiousness, of morality, the salt as purifier must hold aloft the standards that are in accord with the Gospel.”
Bishop Amos asked the men to reflect on their words, deeds, actions and decisions as fathers. “Look at the hats you wear: perhaps husband, father, employer, employee; you are a child of God. Which is receiving the most attention? Which is receiving the least? What would you hope your spouse, your child, your God would say about you at your 80th birthday?
“May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment,” the bishop said.
“It’s really powerful to hear all these men praying out loud together,” Karl Lantzky, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport, said after the service. “It raises the roof for me.”
“The sound of 50 men singing together, it just sounds so holy,” said Greg Hansen, a member of Holy Family Parish in Davenport. And it is affirming to know “Men aren’t afraid to pray the rosary in public.”
Ripslinger observed, “Today there are so many families without fathers or father figures. Those of us who are can set a Christian example for these families.”