Raising a priest – Being the mother of a priest is humbling

Photo Special to The Record
Father David Farrell, right, is pictured with his parents Joe and Patti Farrell at the 2018 Priests’ Parents Club luncheon for newly ordained priests. Father Farrell was ordained May 26, 2018.

I would like to thank the Lord for calling our son David to the priesthood. Who could be able to make such a sacrifice? No one can answer that call without the help of God’s grace.

Joe, my husband of 37 years, and I were born and raised Catholic. So it was a natural decision for us to send our children to St. John the Apostle School in Brandenburg, Ky., where the Augustinian Sisters from Malta taught. What a blessing! We are forever grateful to them.

But St. John Paul II taught in his documents that parents are the primary educators of their children. So we tried hard to study apologetics and the church teachings.

While our four children were growing up, we would have “Bible time” with them at night, learning our faith and praying before bed. I set up a little shrine in our living room with holy pictures and candles that they loved to blow out.

A copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church helped to answer the hard questions and keep us on the right path. We attended Mass with them regularly and tried to make sure that they learned reverence for the real Presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Eucharist.

Spending time in eucharistic adoration was a great consolation. Taking them with us to the sacrament of reconciliation at least every few months was also important.

These are things they can’t find in other churches. Watching your parents adoring God and confessing their guilt teaches a good lesson in humility. But the person who perhaps taught David the most about love and mercy was his brother Steven who has autism.

There is a powerful link between Steven’s “priesthood” and David’s because each of our lives can be offered to God.

My husband Joe was always there to listen and to share his time. When he saw how much our boys loved Scouting, he became scoutmaster. At that time, David had no interest in religious retreats, but he loved hunting and fishing!

So Joe would lead the Scouts in prayer at Scouting events and help them do service projects and earn their Catholic badges. He also taught them to laugh, bringing wonderful comic relief at just the right moments.

David went to Murray State University where, to our great fortune, there was a Newman Center run by Father Mike Williams. At this Catholic student center, through warm fellowship and guidance, David was able to discern God’s call to the priesthood, even in the midst of a secular university.

Being the mother of a priest is very humbling. I ask everyone to pray for priests and seminarians, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. Together with the Blessed Mother, pray that they will be living images of Jesus, always courageous in speaking the truth in love.

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