In honor of Father’s Day, we asked an assortment of Catholics — including a musician, a Franciscan sister, kindergartners and high schoolers — to share what they love about their dads.
From rebels and role models to jokesters and teachers, these are the men who tend to us when we are small and often shape and inspire us decades after they leave this earth.
I come from an Italian family, and Italians are outwardly expressive. Dad was the opposite. He was reserved but loved people. He was gentle — no big hand-waving or gestures.
My dad loved the rosary, and he suffered silently for a long time from various illnesses, including Parkinson’s and eye problems. He never complained. My dad had great dignity.
— Ron Oliver, parishioner of The Madeleine Parish in Northeast Portland
I’m always comfortable with my dad. He never makes me feel awkward about anything. He’ll always say yes when we ask to play soccer in the park with him — except if it’s like 10 o’clock at night.
— Olivia Combe, sixth-grader at St. Rose School in Northeast Portland
Dad is really patient and kind. He’s also a rebel. He lets me stay up late when our mom is out of town.
— Evelien Pham, St. Rose sixth-grader
I don’t get to see my dad that much because he gets home late from work. But when we hang out we go to the movies together. He’s really nice and funny. And he knows lots of good jokes.
— Amanda Le, St. Rose sixth-grader
One of the best things about my dad is he taught me how to ride a bike. He’s strong, kind and caring. But he’s also strict. He wants me to be the best I can be.
— Halena Mai, St. Rose seventh-grader
He’s sarcastically funny.
— Jackie Ruff, St. Rose seventh-grader
My dad hangs me upside down and the room looks much different. I always say, “I want to do that again, Dad!”
— Oliver Timm, St. Rose kindergartner
I know he loves me because he hugs me. He also plays baseball with me.
— Boden Scott, St. Rose kindergartner
I have run track and field for eight years, and my dad has almost never missed one of my track meets. Every meet he wears his wide-brimmed hat, and I can always spot him in the crowd as I get set at the starting line. He is my pep-talk-giver, coach and largest supporter who is always proud of my races. I love my dad for being the most supportive father a son could ask for.
— Joey Biever, senior at Valley Catholic High School
I love my dad more than any words could ever possibly describe. He is not just a father to me, but a role model and best friend. I’m so thankful for his constant love and support; life would be a very different journey without him.
— Noelle Mannen, junior at Valley Catholic High School
My dad is one of my biggest role models. I love him because he is so caring and forgiving. He offers love when it is needed, and he pushes me to be my best self. He works two jobs to support his family and is always loyal.
— Ace Calcagno, senior at Valley Catholic High School
He knows my sense of humor because it is the same as his. He is always there to help me with anything, and he makes a lot of sacrifices for me. My dad is one of the most important people in my life because he brings so much value to it — and I wouldn’t exist without him.
— Noah Olson, junior at Valley Catholic High School
My fondest memory of my dad was when he taught me to fly-fish for the first time. I was terrible and couldn’t get the technique down. I even hooked him in the arm once. Despite all of that, though, he never got mad at me and always encouraged me with a smile on his face.
— Chris Rapp, senior at Valley Catholic High School
My dad immigrated to the United States when he was 18, and from day one he felt: I’m staying, so I need to learn English, learn the laws and how business works. For 37 years he’s run a dry-cleaning business in Los Angeles. I don’t think he’s taken a sick day in 37 years. I try to emulate his work ethic.
I was at a party in Portland. People started talking about customer service, mostly about how awful it usually was. Then this one young man started talking about a business, and he starts telling this wonderful story. Finally, I started to realize he was talking about my father 1,000 miles away. I looked at him and said, “Wait, are you talking about Joe at the Mini Cleen Dry Cleaners in West Hollywood? That’s my dad.”
My dad is jovial but also cerebral. He’s a big proponent of learning. His love of the written word and poetry and certain speeches and letters are something I really carry with me.
— Rodolfo (Rudy) López, Catholic musician, composer, producer and guitarist
My dad was a really solid presence growing up. I didn’t have this boisterous time with him — he’s a very quiet and laidback person — but he always provided this deep sense of security, and I knew that he loved us and my mother. He was a rock from which we could grow. He was very protective, which was a lifesaver when I think of all the things I would have done.
My dad spent 46 years at a job he didn’t really like — a huge sacrifice — and he wanted his kids to have a different experience. He had a keen sense of what we’d love and was very supportive of my vocation.
— Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist Jacinta Coscia, teacher at
Franciscan Montessori Earth School