Mike Aquilina

Fathers for Father’s Day

Monday June 11th 2007, 3:05 am

Our friends at Our Sunday Visitor have done something foolhardy. The newspaper turned over almost half of the editorial space in its June 17 edition to Yours Truly.

It’s all for Father’s Day. So they invited me to write a four-page pullout section titled “Fathers Know Best,” which is my best attempt at a pew-level introduction to patristics. Just a few hours after it appeared in the mail, an author I respect called to tell me it was the best popular intro he’s ever seen. So find yourself a Church that keeps a stack of OSV for distribution. Or call up with credit card in hand (1-800-348-2440) and ask that your own subscription begin with the June 17 issue.

Publisher Greg Erlandson makes an ardent pitch for patristics in his opening column:

Aquilina — who is well-known to many readers for his appearances on EWTN as well as for his numerous books and articles — helps us to understand the importance of the Fathers: who they are; what impact they have had on the Church; what wisdom they offer us today.

The Fathers (and the Mothers too) of the Church deepen our appreciation of the Bible and of our faith. They also give us some perspective on these times we live in.

Greg was OSV’s editor-in-chief when the company published the first edition of my book The Fathers of the Church. In fact, he’s encouraged me through four books on the early Church, all published by OSV.

Later in the same issue of the paper, my byline appears over the newspaper’s more traditional Father’s Day feature: “Lessons I’m Still Learning from Dad.” It’s a reflection on my pop’s virtuosity at fathering, and it includes a rare photo of the host of this blog, from younger, thinner, beardless days. In one of my books, I explain how my love for my father prepared me to appreciate the Church Fathers — even though I’m fairly certain that Pop’s only reading in patristics was in his youngest child’s books. Still, it was by living with him that I learned to look fatherward for good example, guidance, and wisdom; and that lesson served me well when I began to ponder the life of the Church.

I include many reminiscences about my dad in the book Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life. OSV had asked me to extract material on Pop from that book for their Father’s Day feature; but, after a couple of hours at the task, I found myself writing something new.

I hope you can lay hands on a copy of the June 17 OSV.