The Conversion of Fr. Donald Calloway

Friday, December 02, 2005
Posted by Pilgrim

The conversion of Fr Donald
The gathering on a warm September Thursday did not appear unlike any other English Mass in St James’ Church, Medjugorje. It included some 160 souls who had arrived from Birmingham in the early hours of that morning and had managed to be up and seated on time ready for 10am Mass.The priests gathered in number on the altar and the congregation were in fine voice, packed into the pews and spilling over into the aisles. Fr Donald Calloway (pictured) was the celebrant, an American priest blessed, as he said, to be in Medjugorje for his first time and celebrating his first Mass there.
During his homily, in a clear and resonant voice, Fr Donald spoke of the boy he once knew who had started experimenting with drugs at the age of 12. By his late teens the young man had sampled every drug in the book, even heroin and crack-cocaine. He just lived for the life of ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ and dressed and acted accordingly. Not surprisingly he had been convicted and imprisoned several times, even thrown out of three countries. The stress this young man gave his parents drove them to become Catholics! Then one day, when their son came out of his teen years, he picked up a book lying on the coffee table in his parents’ home. It was titled, The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje, and it was to change the 20-year-old drug addict’s life. Encouraged to join a community and ‘clean up’ – which he did – he too joined the Catholic Church.It was then that Fr Donald’s voice penetrated every listening heart in St James church, when he proclaimed: “That young man is celebrating Mass before you today!” Applause is not encouraged during Mass, but it happened – although not in the usual way – as every heart of every person present, pounded loudly with joy. Needless to say, Fr Donald was a priest in demand after Mass as he patiently attended to everyone who presented themselves, whatever their need or desire. As a high school dropout, it took Fr Donald ten years of studies in the seminary before he was ordained a priest in the order of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception – an order by his choice, because it twice contains Our Lady’s name! “Right now we have nine men in formation back in Stockbridge and all their vocations came from Medjugorje,” says Fr Donald, who is Assistant Rector of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. (USA).Fr Calloway is not frightened about confronting or owning up to his past life. In fact, he doesn’t have to look too far back to be reminded. Just to the tattoos still on his shoulder!
Posted by pilgrim at 12:00 AM

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