The Hands of Our Fathers

Close-up of a man's hands gripping a handle, his face obscured.

Our words for the chalice lighting were written from the perspective of Jessica Star Rockers. Perhaps her specific memories will elicit your own. She writes, "Every Sunday morning growing up my father would take us to mass at St. Peter’s Catholic church. I loved the hymns, and the smells and bells as they say, but the sermons were kind of a bore. So I would occupy myself by counting the cuts and scrapes and bruises on my father’s hands. My dad was an electrician and a farmer, working with his hands from before the sun came up until long after it went down. So every week I would take his large hands in my little ones, turning them over, examining, discovering new bruises, and keeping track of the healing of the old ones. I would count the wounds and whisper the tally in his ear. I loved that he let me hold and investigate his hands in this way, snuggled up next to him in the pew, in the quiet of the church with just the priest’s voice in the background. Having two jobs that demanded his attention, my dad didn’t always have time for such intimacies. Except on Sunday morning.

And I took pride in those wounds. It was evidence of how hard my dad worked to take care of his family. He was a man who was often uncomfortable with expressing affection, but I could see in those hands how much he loved me. Was my dad a good dad? Was he there for me when I needed him? Did he protect me and provide for me? Did he care about me? When I ask myself those questions, I think of his hands."

We dedicate the lighting of our chalice today in honor of the hands of our fathers. For all the ways, and all the hard work that they do, to show us we are loved.