A Father of 23 Children Looks at Father’s Day – by Deacon Bob Mongillo

DadMongillo2Deacon Bob and Barbara Mongillo and their family

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.

DadMongilo familyBob and Barbara’s children in their home.

DadHookedOnA very special gift.


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.

4 thoughts on “A Father of 23 Children Looks at Father’s Day – by Deacon Bob Mongillo

  1. Being a dad, a mom, being a parent, is a gift from God. You, Barbara and your beautiful family are so inspiring to me and Denis. Your heart-felt article is an example of how you take every day and every moment and give it your best and do it with commitment and love for what is important. To you, to Denis and to my Dad (who I miss every day), and to all fathers out there…..God bless you and keep smiling!

  2. Happy Father’s Day Deacon Bob and Deacon Marty. May God continue to bless you and your families. Thank you for sharing your story and your gifts with your community.

  3. To all the wonderful Fathers out there that allow the Lord to direct their path in life, we applaud you and appreciate you. I would like to thank the Lord for Deacon Marty (my oldest Brother) who has always been such a positive inspiration in my life.

  4. As a sister of a special needs brother and educator for many years, I am in awe of your faith in action. We never met but for a brief time I worked with joy at Holy Angels. I am still so saddened by not being there anymore. But God had a lesson to give me about others. One of the most important gifts a dad can give a child is the gift of faith through actions. Showing them how to pray but also letting the child see them pray and doing all acts of mercy should be as automatic as breathing. Church should be a non negotiable as Faith is the most important aspect of life! Catholicism is so life- giving! It should not be relinquished to a school or a teacher. Living with a woman before marriage is not a godly way to be. Only going to Mass on Easter, Christmas, a baptism or funeral is not showing true Catholic identity. Our church has many research studies of a father’s effect and affect on our Catholic faith… I thought this was a good one. God bless you and Deacon Marty in your work.

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