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Fr. Donald Calloway to speak in Pine Bluff Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Fr Richard Heilman, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
fr. calloway
On the day of his ordination as a priest, Fr. Donald Calloway hugs his mother, Mrs. LaChita Calloway (above). Like St. Monica, she never gave up on her son. At right is Father Calloway, who will speak at St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff on September 8. (Contributed photos)

PINE BLUFF -- I’ve come to know Fr. Donald Calloway over the course of the past few years. His conversion story is amazing, and not unlike many of us priests today, in that our worldly lives were, by the grace of God, completely transformed into a life totally dedicated to God.

The similarities come, especially, as his mother never gave up on him; trusting in Our Lord and Our Lady that her son would turn his life around some day. Now, Fr. Donald Calloway and I serve on the Board of the Holy League together, with Cardinal Raymond Burke as our spiritual adviser.

Modern-day St. Augustine

Father Calloway has been called the modern-day St. Augustine, as his story begins with a life devoted to finding the next party.

This “surfer dude” was a high school dropout, a run-away, a druggy, in and out of rehabilitation centers, jailed, and was even deported from Japan for criminal activity.

Of course, church was completely out of the question during those rebellious teenage years. His church was the beach and his god was his surf board.

Through it all, like St. Monica, his mom, Mrs. LaChita Calloway, never gave up on him. She kept taking him back, and she never stopped praying to Our Lady and Our Lord for her son she loved so much.

Hit by ‘Divine 2 X 4’

One night in March of 1992, he was hit with what Father Calloway calls a “Divine 2 x 4.” For whatever reason (divine intervention?), he declined persuasions from his friends to go out partying (again). He decided, instead, to stay at home in his room.

Then, for whatever reason (divine intervention?), he decided to peruse the bookshelf in the hallway. It was then that he grabbed a book that set his life on a completely different path: The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorie.

As he flipped through the book, he saw foreign-sounding words like “Eucharist,” “Blessed Virgin Mary,” “Rosary,” and “Scapular.” He was intrigued by the message that Our Lady was sent by God as a mother to all, especially to sinners.

Then he found a card in the book that read, “You don’t have to change to love me; loving me will change you.” That was the moment he decided to love Our Lady. He would turn to the Lord and never look back again.

The very next morning, he asked his mom to put him in touch with a priest. She began calling priests at 6 a.m., as she feared this moment may pass. “When Father Donald announced he wanted to talk to a priest, I was shaken at first,” admitted Mrs. Calloway. “But not really surprised. I never once gave up hope and faith in Our Lord.

“I have loved both of my children more than life itself from the very moment I was blessed to have children. So for me, it was as if I was shielded by mercy and grace in practicing my faith daily, knowing in my heart that we were all, as a family, going to be okay.”

Fr. Donald Calloway went on to become a priest of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. He gained national recognition with his very popular book that recounts his conversion story, No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy.

Love for Our Lady

Father Calloway’s love for Our Lady has only increased over the years, and so he was inspired to write what is probably the most comprehensive book ever published on the Rosary.

In fact, my brother-in-law, Joe Balistreri, helped Father Calloway with the artwork for the cover of this amazing book, Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon. Father Calloway published his book a year ago on the Feast of St. Dominic, August 8, 2016.

Father Calloway now plans to produce a video on the Rosary, and he has chosen St. Mary of Pine Bluff as the location for producing this video. WOW! So, Father Calloway told me he wants to give the best talk he has ever given when he comes to speak at St. Mary’s on Friday, Sept. 8 (Nativity of Mary).

Night of Knights

This incredible evening will be the first of our monthly “Holy League Night of Knights” that are held every first Friday at St. Mary of Pine Bluff, from September to April. This is sponsored by the Knights of Divine Mercy and the Ladies of Divine Mercy. All men and women are invited to attend.

The “Holy League Night of Knights” (September 8) includes:

6 p.m. -- Adoration and Confession

7 p.m. -- Father Calloway’s talk

7:45 p.m. -- Benediction

8 p.m. -- Social and book signing with Father Calloway

 


Fr. Richard Heilman is pastor of St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff. He is the founder of the Knights and Ladies of Divine Mercy and state chaplain of the Knights of Columbus.

 
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