When Deacon Marty asked me to write about being a father, and fatherhood, I was both honored and humbled that he asked me. As I was thinking about what to write, in a limited amount of words, I began to put my thoughts together.
As I began to compose this, I am sitting in the surgery waiting room at St Charles Hospital after just kissing my daughter Ivana good bye as she went into surgery. And two thoughts came into my mind; fatherhood is sometimes when you have to make choices and put those you love dearly in the hands of professionals, who are Gods helping and gifted hands here on Earth.
Today, Friday, Ivana has surgery and Kyle graduates from grammar school. How I wish I could split myself in two but that is not possible. So, one of the characteristics of being a father is making choices. I so wanted to see Kyle walk down that aisle, after learning how to walk after 10 years, and being a successful recipient of a kidney transplant almost 4 years ago. Thank God for technology!!
I can probably be most effective about my experiences of being a father by telling you my story. Next week it will be 36 years since I married my childhood sweetheart, Barbara. Together we have 23 children. 6 biological children and 17 adopted special needs children. But we never make any distinction between the two. They are all Mongillo’s. I love being a Dad. I never imagined that I would be a father to this number, but if I had to do it again, I would do it all again the same way.
My Dad was a traditional Dad. He was the breadwinner and Mom was the nurturer. I am completely the opposite of that. I love being a part of the everyday lives of my children. I love sharing in their triumphs and always support them and sometimes have to get them back on their feet when the chips are down.
I always try to see the good and positive in each one of them. I also strive to give them wings so they can too can become better Moms and Dads. And, soon becoming a Grandpa for the sixth time, is a gift.
Both Barbara and I try to plant a seed in each one of them. And we are blessed to see the fruit of these seeds in their actions and words. Being a Dad is a true gift from God. There are not enough words to describe this role. Being successful in my career was important, but far less important than being a good father. God has been good to me and blessed me. He has helped us in our time of need. When three of our children were called home to God, He gave us, and continues to give us, the strength to cope with loss. So, as we set aside this special day to honor Dads, I wish all the Dads blessings today and every day.
Deacon Bob Mongillo is currently a deacon at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Patchogue, NY. He was Born in Woodhaven, Queens, NY and married Barbara in June 1980. He is the father of 23 children. He lived in East Meadow for 22 years before moving to Patchogue. He was ordained a deacon in May 2001 from St Raphael’s, East Meadow. He served as Deacon, Business Mgr and Director of Parish Social Ministry, St Rosalie parish in Hampton Bays, NY for 10 years.