What he should be and what he should do.
Benzinger Brothers, 1883

The appearance of "The Christian Father" in an English dress we hail with sincerest pleasure, and we doubt not that it will meet a warm welcome from the English speaking community. Its companion volume, "The Christian Mother," has met with well-deserved favor, and has found its way into many a Christian home, to cheer and to bless it. "The Christian Father" must be equally popular and equally beneficial, for it is equally admirable for its practical good sense, winning simplicity, and deeply religious lessons. It is no mere ideal father we have here, aspiring after unattainable or fanciful saintliness. It is a father such as God intended all fathers to be, such as should and might be found at the head of every Christian family. It is a genuine Christian father faithfully discharging the obligations of his state and sanctifying himself in the ordinary every-day duties of life.

If in the family and in society God's holy providence has allotted to the mother a place which only the Christian mother can fill, with much more reason may we say the same of the father. A father, becoming under God the principle of existence to others, shares with the great Creator and Father of all the noblest prerogative of which a creature is capable, that of paternity or fatherhood. The father actually holds the place of God, and exercises an authority subordinate only to that of God, over his children, and in return he rightfully challenges and instinctively receives respect and honor approximating the honor paid to God Himself. With inborn reverence and confiding trust the child looks up to the father as the sum of all power, knowledge, and perfection. Great indeed, then, must be the responsibilities, most sacred the duties, which God and nature impose on the father. He must try hard to realize the child's ideal and put on the character of Him whom he represents.

It is a mysterious but undeniable fact that children are left entirely in the hands and, we may say, at the mercy of the parents who beget them, for life, physical constitution, native character, and moral training. To the father, as head of the family, and invested with God-like powers and divine rights, it is given to exercise a controlling influence; he shapes the destinies, he moulds the characters of his offspring. As a general rule, children are what their father makes them. Like begets like. But the father not only transmits to his offspring a great resemblance to himself in form and feature, temperament, constitution, and natural disposition, he moreover unconsciously communicates to his children his own habits of thought, his likes and dislikes, his religious sentiments and moral principles, whilst his children in after-years recall his examples, his actions, and his words, by which to rule and square their own conduct and lives.

The Christian father will naturally instill Christian habits, impart a moral tone, and infuse a religious spirit into his family; and as the family is the foundation of society, we must make the father truly Christian would we reform society, Christianize the land, or make the people moral. How can Christianity flourish; how can public or private virtue prevail; how can morality exist among the people, if fathers who have the moulding of the future generations, the training and education of children, under their almost exclusive control, are unprincipled or immoral men, unchristian, irreligious, or sensual? Give us, on the contrary, Christian fathers, and we shall soon have well-reared families, happy and virtuous homes.

None are more alive to the pressing need of good Christian fathers than the ministers of religion, whose calling brings them so often into contact with wretchedness and sin. This, doubtless, it was that impelled the Rev. W. Cramer, a holy and learned man, who for years has been the educator, counsellor, and guide of the Clergy of the Diocese of Munster, to publish the excellent little work " The Christian Father" now for the first time given to the English-speaking public. He draws a life-like portrait of the true Christian father, shows the sublimity of his calling, explains his duties and obligations, the difficulties and dangers to which he is exposed, the graces which he needs for the sanctification of himself and his house hold, and the means which he must employ in order to secure those needed graces. May God bless the good Priest for this little gem of a book! May it find its way into every Christian home in the land, and may every Catholic father in America exemplify in his life "The Christian Father"! --Pages 3 - 6

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A Prayer to St. Joseph

O holy Joseph, thou faithful companion of the blessed Mother, thou who didst protect her and her divine child with such care, and didst devote thy whole life to them; I beseech thee to be also my and my children's protector and advocate with Jesus thy adopted Son. Obtain for me the grace to fulfil my duties to my children as thou and Mary have done to Jesus. St. Joseph, pray for me. Amen.


A Prayer to the Guardian Angels

O holy guardian angels, ye heavenly friends of my children, full of confidence I turn to you. Those whom the Lord has entrusted to me he has also entrusted to your love and care. Obtain for me by your intercession, that animated with the same sentiment which animates you towards my children, I may do all things to bring them up for God and heaven. O may I be such a father to them that I may be not unworthy of your love and friendship. Obtain this for me by your powerful intercession. Amen.


A Prayer to the Patron Saints of the Children

Holy patrons of my children, St.___________ and St. ________, take an interest in me their father; pray for me that through your intercession I may receive the grace that I may by word and example exercise a salutary influence over my children, and that they, by imitating your virtues, may grow up good members of the Church and be received one day into your happy society. Amen.


Litany of the Christian Father

Lord have mercy on me!
Christ have mercy on me!
Lord have mercy on me!
Christ, hear me!

Thou great Father, from whom all fatherhood proceeds,
Have mercy on me. *

God, the heavenly Father of my children, *

Thou who lovest my children more than I can, *

Thou who wiliest them to be eternally happy with Thee, *

Thou who hast sacrificed Thy only begotten Son for them, *

Thou who sendest Thy angels to protect them, *

Thou who hast entrusted them to my love and care, *

Thou who willest me to support and bring them up for Thee, *

Thou who will require an account of them from me, *

Thou who will reward the father who fulfils his duty, *

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, *

Thou who becamest man for us, *

O Jesus, who by becoming a child hast sanctified the tender age of childhood, *

O Jesus, most loving child, *

O Jesus, most obedient son of Thy mother, *

O Jesus, friend of children, *

O Jesus, who didst permit little children to come to Thee, to embrace and bless them, *

Thou who hast declared woe to all who scandalize children, *

Thou who acceptest as done for Thee what is done for children, *

Thou who lovest my children and sacrificed Thyself for them, *

Thou who hast endowed Thy church with all the treasures of grace for them, *

Thou who, in the sacrament of marriage, didst bless me and give me grace to fulfil my vocation, *

Thou who in holy baptism madest my children, children of God, *

Thou without whose grace I cannot do my duty to my children, *

Thou without whose grace my children can not become good and persevere, *

Thou spirit of wisdom and understanding, *

Thou spirit of counsel and of strength, *

Thou spirit of godliness and the fear of the Lord, *

Thou spirit of wisdom and of grace, *

Holy Trinity, one God, *

Holy Mary, pray for me. **

Holy Mother of God, **

Mother of Christ, **

Thou who didst offer thy divine Son in the Temple, **

Thou who didst flee with Him into Egypt, **

Thou who soughtest Him in sorrow for three days, **

Thou who didst behold Him suffering and dying on the cross, **

Thou who didst rejoice in His resurrection and ascension, **

Thou who art now glorified with Him in heaven, St. Joseph, **

Thou patron of the Christian family, **

Thou who didst protect and cherish Thy divine foster-Son, **

Thou who hadst the happiness of living and working so many years with Him, **

Thou who didst breathe thy last in His arms, **

Ye holy guardian angels and friends of my children, who look upon the face of our heavenly Father, **

Ye who are sent by God to guard my children, **

St. Joachim, consort of St. Anna and father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, **

All ye holy fathers of the old law, **

All holy fathers, **

Ye who by fulfilling your duties to your children obtained salvation, **

All ye holy angels, **

All ye patriarchs and prophets, **

All ye holy apostles and martyrs, **

All ye holy bishops, priests, and confessors, **

All ye holy virgins and widows, **

All ye holy and innocent children, **

Be merciful and spare me, O Lord!
Be merciful and hear me, O Lord!

From all evil,
Deliver me, O Lord. ***

From all indifference to the duties of my vocation, ***

From all neglect of my paternal duties. ***

From all indifference to the salvation of my children, ***

From all unreasonable love and indulgence for my children, ***

From all anger and passion, ***

From all bad example, ***

From the demon of impurity, ***

By Thy life, sufferings, and death, ***

By Thy love for children, ***

By the rich reward Thou didst promise them who receive children, ***

By the mercy of Thy divine heart, ***

I, a sinner, beseech Thee to hear me.

That thou grant me grace to know the grandeur of my fatherly vocation, I beseech thee to hear me. ****

That thou grant me to know the holiness and importance of my duties to my children, ****

That thou grant me wisdom to know my difficult task, ****

That thou grant me zeal in prayer for my children, ****

That thou bless my teachings and admonitions, ****

That thou grant me grace to always give my children good example, ****

That thou guard my children from all frivolity and mortal sin, ****

That thou inspire them with piety and the fear of God, ****

That thou grant them the treasure of inviolate purity, ****

That thou guard them from the attack of the enemy, ****

That thou guard them from the evil influence of the world, ****

That thou keep them in Thy grace, ****

That thou lead them to eternal life, ****

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
spare me!

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
hear me.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on me.

Christ, hear us,
Christ graciously hear us.

Our Father, Hail Mary.


O God, whose mercy and goodness are infinite, I thank Thy majesty for all the gifts and graces thou hast granted me and my children and as thou grantest the prayers of those who beseech Thee I pray unceasingly to Thy fatherly kindness never to forsake me and my children, and lead us to eternal reward. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.