"Call no one on earth your father..." How often I hear this phrase used against Catholic priests! I have become fond of asking people to place it in context, just to see if they know what it really intends to teach. Our Lord Jesus was not against fatherhood, nor did He have anything against priesthood. Jesus wants us to keep our perspective focused on our relationship to our Heavenly Father.
Priests ought to treat our salutation "father" as a call to holiness. We are called to remind people of God. We are called to be so humble that God's fatherhood shines through us. Likewise we are to give of ourselves for the good of others even at the expense of our own well-being, just like a good father does for his children.
Ultimately, calling your priest Father is a reminder to him of his duty toward you. It is an honor he is challenged to earn by sacrificial love and paternal concern. The title Father is no mere badge of honor, but a constant reminder of the high calling priests have: to be servants and images of God our loving Father.