Category Archives: Fatherhood

The Birth of Mary and the Protoevangelium of James by Deacon Marty McIndoe

If we asked most Catholics who Mary’s parents were they would probably answer Anna and Joachim. But if we look in the Holy Bible there is no mention of Mary’s birth or the name of her parents. So how do we know their names? The simple answer is through tradition. As Catholics, we believe that God reveals His truths to us through the Holy Bible AND through tradition. Tradition was sacred to the Jews (we all know that great song from Fiddler on the Roof) and is also sacred to us. St. Paul tells us to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15).
On September 8th we celebrate the birthday of Mary. This is exactly nine months after we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. This feast was celebrated no later than the 6th century. An eastern Saint, St. Romanos, a deacon who composed numerous liturgical songs, wrote a hymn celebrating the birthday of Mary. The hymn was quite popular and used in liturgies to celebrate the birthday of Mary which helped lead us to the feast day. The Eastern Churches first celebrated it and then within a century the Roman Church celebrated it. St. Romanos relied heavily upon the apocryphal writing, The Protoevangelium of St. James, in composing the lyrics to his hymn on the Nativity of Mary.
As an apocryphal writing, we must realize that the Church decided that this book was not inspired as scripture and it was not placed in the canon of the bible. However, this writing has been seen as a good source of tradition from the earliest times of the Church. Most scholars believe that it was composed around 145 AD. Because of this, and the language structure, we know that St. James did not write it. However it came from an area where St. James had followers and there may be some things passed on from him in the writing. In view of all of this, and with a certain amount of caution, I would like to share some of the points covered in the Protoevangelium concerning Mary and her birth and upbringing.
The Protoevangelium does repeat many items found in the scriptures concerning Mary and the birth of Jesus. But it adds details prior to that not mentioned in the sacred scriptures. It tells us that her parents were named Joachim and Anna and that Joachim and Anna were unable to conceive for many years and that both of them became depressed at not being able to have children. It tells us that Joachim became so depressed that he went out to the desert to live in solitude in a tent where he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights pleading with God. At the same time, Anna grieved not having Joachim with her and not being able to become pregnant. She prayed that God would bless her as He had blessed Sarah with Isaac. The Protoevangelium tells us that an angel appeared to Anna and told her that God had heard her prayer and that “you shall conceive and bring forth; and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world”.
About the same time, an angel appeared to Joachim and told him that God had heard his prayers. He was told to go to Anna and that Anna would conceive a child. Nine months later Anna gave birth to a little girl and they name her Mary. The Protoevangelium tells us that at the birth Anna said, “My soul has been magnified this day.” The writings go on to say that Mary walked at six months old. When she was one year old, Joachim held a great birthday feast for Mary and invited the priests, scribes and elders and all the people of Israel. The priests blessed Mary saying, “O God of our fathers, bless this child and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations”.
The Protoevangelium tells us that at the age of three Joachim and Anna took Mary to the temple to be raised there hoping that her heart would be captivated by the Temple. When they gave her to the priest he kissed her and blessed her saying, “The Lord has magnified your name in all generations. In you, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel.” The priest put her down on the third step and the grace of God came upon her and Mary danced with joy and the people loved her.
The Protoevangelium goes on to tell us that Mary stayed in the temple until she was 12 years old. At that time the chief priest received a visit from an angel while in the Holy of Holies telling him to assemble the widowers of the people and that God would give a sign as to which widower He chose for Mary. When all of the widowers assembled the High Priest again prayed to God for a sign to show which widower would receive Mary as his wife. When a dove appeared and landed on Joseph’s head, the high priest declared him to be the one who was chosen. At first Joseph declined saying that he had children and was an old man and it wasn’t good for him to take such a young girl. The chief priest reminded Joseph that it was God’s will and Joseph said to Mary, “Behold I have received you from the temple of the Lord; and now I leave you in my house and go away to build my buildings, and I shall come to you. The Lord will protect you”.
As interesting as all this is, we must remember that the Church refused to recognize the Protoevangelium as sacred scripture. We cannot be sure of any truth found here, but as I said earlier, this is a very early writing that passes on at least some of the tradition handed down about our beloved mother, Mary. It might help us imagine a little better the life of the most significant woman who ever walked the earth (and rule in Heaven). Hail Mary full of grace…….
As Saint Augustine said, “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER MARY….WE LOVE YOU

 

3 EASY THINGS EVERY DAD SHOULD BE DOING – By Adam Minihan

AdamAndFamily

 

Full disclaimer, I am a “new dad”.  I don’t have 5, 10, or 15 years of experience under my belt. I have 4 children, a 3 year old son Luke, a 1.5 year old son Jude, one baby in heaven, and one baby on the way! I am constantly learning how to be the best dad I can be, with many of these learning moments coming from my faults. With that being said, I am not writing this attempting to fool anyone into thinking I have this whole dad thing figured out (I mean, we haven’t even hit the rebellious teenage years yet.).  Nonetheless, I write this with conviction as I have witnessed many authentic, God-fearing, wife-loving, child-raising fathers in my life, my own father being a prime example.

Here’s 3 easy things every dad should be doing:

1. Love your wife. Children are so observant. I am constantly amazed when I hear one of my boys attempting to hum a song I was humming 2 minutes ago.  Or after dinner when I start taking dishes to the sink, being followed by Luke and/or Jude, with a cup in hand, hurling his cup into the sink attempting to do his part. Our kids watch and replicate so many of our actions which is why they need to see their dad loving their mom.  My sons will learn how to treat women by observing how I treat their mother.  Likewise, if I am blessed to have a daughter(s), she will learn how she should be respected and the inherent dignity she has as a woman by the amount of respect and dignity I show her mother.

2. Have family prayer.  Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton famously said, “The family that prays together stays together”.  If you don’t have a family prayer routine, start small and continue building up. As the spiritual leader of the home, lead your family in prayer before meals. At first it may seem awkward and uncomfortable but typically that discomfort is only on your end. Push through that discomfort and it will soon become as natural as breathing.

When it’s the kiddo’s bedtime, we all have nightly routines. Take a bath, brush teeth, comb hair, get pajamas on, and maybe a bedtime story. Before that bedtime story, you, your wife and children kneel down by their bed and have a bedtime prayer. It can be as simple as, “Now I lay me, down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” It’s quick and easy but sets an example of praying before bed… an example that I carried on from when my parents taught me.

3. Bless your children. Before my boys go to sleep or any time I have to leave for a couple days on business, I make the sign of the cross on their forehead while praying, “May almighty God bless and keep you and may you always stay under the protection of our Mother Mary.” It’s quick and simple. Takes me all of 5 seconds. Our Lord ordained men as heads of the Domestic Church, which is a miniature of the Universal Church. This means each man is a priest of his home. A great way to embrace the role as a priest of your family is by blessing your children. My boys have come to love and expect this nightly ritual and always give me a happy grin as I pray it. (For a great book on this topic, Click here.)

 


About Adam Minihan:
Adam is the Vice President of an award-winning local Catholic radio station and the host of The Catholic Man Show. Adam and his best friend/co-host, David Niles, had 0 experience in the radio business before being presented with the opportunity to start a Catholic station in 2014. Taking a leap of faith, they launched St. Michael Catholic Radio and it has now grown into covering the whole Tulsa Market, airing multiple local programs, and carrying EWTN content.  Adam is married to his beautiful bride Haylee and they have 2 young boys Luke and Jude. They live in Tulsa, OK where they are active in many Catholic bible studies, church functions, apologetic groups, and Cursillo. You can follow Adam on twitter
 or like St. Michael Catholic radio on Facebook!

 

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.