The following comes from a February 16 Southern Cross article by Juan Villa:
Rev. Don Calloway’s trip to California’s Central Coast this week includes three mornings of surfing and two nights of speaking, just like he loves it.
Thursday, February 25, the speaker and author known as the “Surfer Priest” will be speaking at Madonna del Sasso Catholic Church in Salinas.
“I’m going to be speaking about my conversion story. I used to be a pretty messed up guy. I went to jail, I was in rehab, I got kicked out of a country and had hair down to my waist,” he said. “It was pretty crazy.”
Before his conversion, Calloway said he was also a high school dropout. After his conversion, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree, Master of Divinity, Bachelor of Sacred Theology and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology.
“This isn’t just for Catholics only, it’s open to everyone so they can listen to how this person changed his life,” Fely Garden, a volunteer at Madonna del Sasso, said. “He said to us during a talk that he should be dead, his brain should be fried because of all the drugs he took. Somehow he survived that because of the faith in God and our Blessed Mother Mary. There’s still hope for some of the people creating this violence if they just turn to God and pray.”
Calloway is currently a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in Ohio but speaks about once a week across the country.
Calloway said it was a book on Marian apparitions that completely changed his life when he was 21.
“The Virgin Mary was appearing in Europe, and I read this book on that, and it totally blew me away,” he said. “…[the talk] is great for people who are suffering from addictions, family issues or things like that. I usually try to give people a message of hope and letting them know there’s mercy.”
Father Don Calloway will be speaking at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25 at Madonna del Sasso Catholic Church, 320 E. Laurel Dr. in Salinas. The talk is free and open to the public.
A day before speaking at Madonna del Sasso, Calloway will be at Shrine of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer in Santa Cruz. The Wednesday talk is titled “Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest.”
For more information, contact Fely Garden at 831-229-8655 or visit www.fathercalloway.com. Information on Calloway’s nine books can also be found on his website.
I remember when the “surfer priest” was Father Dennis Mongrain in Ventura during the 1980s.
He’s still around.
It is good that this priest is seeking to help convert others. However— I would prefer a more dignified, mature, and fatherly approach, that correctly shows others he is a True Priest, not the image of a troubled juvenile, who lacks priestly character, virility, and discipline, and who surfs– to impress troubled teens, hoping to then tell them Christ’s message! That’s silly and unnecessary! Teen-agers need a fatherly, paternal figure, a man of virile strength, Christ-like character, and wisdom– who is warm and compassionate, and really cares about them– and has authority and competence, to truly lead them to the True Christ! Everyone is always attracted to true, Christ-like priests!
After John Corapi, this would give me pause.