Those who read my books may tire of seeing it, and those who listen to my talks may tire of hearing it. But I’ll never tire of proclaiming it: Fatherhood is the mystery at the heart of our salvation.

The Son of God took flesh and revealed God’s eternal fatherhood to us. And then he did something far greater. He shared his sonship with us. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1). We are not merely saved from sin. We are saved to become children of God — to call God “Our Father.”

The realization that I’m a child of God is fundamental to my experience of everything. I live in a world my Father created for me. I live for a better place he’s prepared for me. I trust him because he’s the perfect Father, and fathers should be trustworthy.

I am, moreover, named for him — because I am a father myself, and because I am a grandfather. St. Paul put it well: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15). If I could I would quote you the Greek, because there is no accurate and readily available English translation of those verses. The apostle speaks of the Father (patera), from whom all fatherhood (patria) is named. Patria does mean family and homeland, but its primary meaning is paternity.

So I claim this month as my own, and I claim it for my brothers in fatherhood, and I claim it for my fathers in the priesthood. Whatever fatherhood we have — all of us — is simply a share in God’s paternity.

June brings the secular holiday of Father’s Day as well as the feast when we in the Church honor our spiritual fathers and patrons, Sts. Peter and Paul.

If the month belongs to me, then it belongs more to our priests. Though I have six children and 21 grandchildren, every Catholic priest — even the most recently ordained — is more a Father than I am. My son, Father Jeremiah Hahn, is more a father than his father is! St. Paul knew this of himself (see 1 Corinthians 4:15), and it is just as true today of those who are “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1).

Those who’ve read my books and heard my talks already know that I have a profound reverence for motherhood, and I’ve written about it here in this column. I don’t hesitate to sign the other 11 months over to those women who are our spiritual, adoptive, and genetic mothers.

This month, however, I beg your prayers for me in my fatherhood, and all other dads in theirs, and all priests in theirs. I promise you my prayers for you.