Excerpted from "Father are an Esssential Part of the Human Environment" in Catholic New Times.I always knew I'd be a father. I don't know how I knew, but as far back as I can recall, I knew I would grow up and have children. I remember the day my wife told me that she was definitely pregnant. We were sitting outside on a hot August day. I remember the green grass, the leaves on the bushes, the breeze, and the agitation in my body. I remember sitting back--this I remember best of all--and feeling that the axis of the universe had shifted; I was almost dizzy from it. From that moment on, nothing was the same. I was a new man. The concerns of the old man were irrelevant--important in their day, but that day was done. Everything I would do I would now do as a father, as a man responsible for bringing a new world to birth. I felt a powerful need for some kind of purification ritual, something that symbolized the end of the old universe and the beginning of the new. But there is no such ritual. It's been almost 11 years since then, and I am now a father three times over. I was right that day. The universe did shift on its axis, everything was new, the old world was gone, and a new one was born. My experiences are what most fathers experience: the unparalleled joy of holding your new child; the terrible certainty that you will make mistakes; the longing to protect; the regret of missed opportunities; the shameful pain of admitting to failure--again; the desperate fear that your sick child might die; the wonder of realizing that your bond with your wife will last not only as long as you both live but beyond.