Franciscan theology professor delivers advice on Christian parenthood


“You can’t talk about the Lord enough in the home,” said Franciscan University theology professor John Bergsma, who holds a doctorate in theology.

Such poignant quotes characterized the semester’s final Theology on Tap function, presented by the Graduate/Non-Traditional (GNT) Outreach on Thursday evening, April 21.

The event commenced at the Ohio Valley Room of the Best Western University Inn at 7:00 p.m., after a social hour of informal discussion.

Bergsma, a father for 21 years, presented a talk titled “Christian Parenthood: Fatherhood & Motherhood,” primarily to an audience of graduate and non-traditional students.

“Your whole lifestyle has to be soaked in the love of God and communicated by words and actions to your children,” said Bergsma, stressing the importance of conveying the vitality of faith to all members of the family.

The conduct of the family, said Bergsma, stems from that which it believes to be true.

Bergsma also addressed the incorrect societal comparison of Catholicism to fanaticism, and he alluded to a local sports franchise for reference.

Bergsma said, “If we pray with our kids, if we read the Bible with our kids, people will probably think we’re fanatics. But if it were the Steelers? No one would raise an eyebrow.”

He continued, “Sports fanaticism doesn’t raise eyebrows. If you do it for your religion? Fanaticism. That’s disordered; it’s ok to be fanatical for that which we were made.”

To emphasize the superiority of Catholic worship to cheering on a sports team, Bergsma said with a chuckle that “the Steelers, as great as they are, won’t lead you to eternal life. Heinz Field is not the beatific vision.”

Bergsma also said that weekly Mass with the family “should be a given,” one-on-one time with each child must be intentionally scheduled, and joy should pervade all aspects of family life.

“Catholic families have to be joyful,” said Bergsma.

Occasions of celebration, he said, include baptismal anniversaries, confirmation anniversaries and liturgical feast days. Large Catholic families, he quipped, rarely have days without celebration.

The event concluded after the floor was opened for questions.

Nestor Cayanan, a graduate student, commented on the value of the evening.

“It was great,” he said. “I’m about to graduate and start a family life, so it was a great topic to get insight from. It’s nice to see that professors have a family life.”

The GNT Outreach’s final event of the year, a tailgating social, was held April 23 at 2:00 p.m. on the rugby fields.