Fatherhood began for me on May 31, 2001. This was the day my first son, Aidan, was born in Fairfax, Virginia. I will never forget the moment or the amazing experience of holding my son for the first time. It was a surreal, miraculous and joyous occasion

to say the least. I have been blessed with four other children since that day (with others in heaven as well).

I am blessed in knowing that I had a wonderful father, Donald Gavin, who was very dedicated to me, my three siblings and my mother.

Though I know I am not a perfect father, I hope my children know how precious and unique they are and how much I love each of them. Though, at times, they require much work and sacrifice, the joys far outweigh any inconveniences and challenges. Experiencing and guiding them through their joys and triumphs, as well as their frustrations and failures is a great honor and blessing. The fun memories of

fishing, hiking, basketball, soccer, vacations, board games, watching our Capitals, Redskins, Nats and Wizards lose year after year together, are just a few of the fond jewels that God has given me in addition to a promise of God’s providential love and blessing, freely and generously bestowed upon me as a father.

I want to encourage all couples to embrace life and to be open to having a large family. Though, at times, it is challenging, I would never trade our large and full

dinner table for the world.

Finally, I want to thank my wife for encouraging, challenging and prayerfully supporting me in my role as father to our five beautiful children. I would not be

the father I am today without her love and support.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, grandfathers and godfathers!

—Bill Gavin, director of youth and young adult ministry, Diocese of Burlington

Originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.