We asked four Diocese of Orange priests about their outside interests. Here is what they said:

Classic Resurrection

Rev. Msgr. Douglas Cook’s longtime passion for fixing up classic old cars comes from his father.

“My dad worked on cars all the time,” says Msgr. Cook, rector of Holy Family Cathedral. “He was a very patient teacher and a talented mechanic.”

These days, Msgr. Cook, who was actually named after drag racer Doug “Cookie” Cook, is working on his ’54 Buick Super Hardtop Riviera, a two-door gem that he picked up in Texas six years ago. Along with a complete rebuild, “I’m stripping it down for painting,” he says. “I’m going to keep the original color: blue on blue.”

Msgr. Cook’s manner of acquiring some of the rare parts used to fix his old cars dovetails nicely with his hobby. “I go on road trips,” he says. “I’ve driven all the way to Montana for a part. It’s a little nutty, unless you enjoy the drive – and I really do.”

One swell hobby

“Jesus Christ used water as a symbol for new life and, of course, he walked on water,” Fr. Christian Mondor says. “We, on the other hand, need a board to do that.”

The vicar emeritus of Sts. Simon and Jude Church has surfed for the last 22 years, ever since he first learned as a young 70-year-old whippersnapper.

The 92-year-old – who still bodysurfs – learned to ride a longboard at Bolsa Chica State Beach with the help of a few retired LAPD officers. “I’d start at 6:30 and surf for an hour or so, then paddle in, dry off and go to work.”

He is perhaps best known in the surfing community for his involvement in the annual Interfaith Blessing of the Waves, an event he helps organize.

Happy trails

Fr. Steve Sallot fell for off-road motorcycling – at least figuratively – when he was first placed on an old Norton 650. He’s been delightedly kicking up dust ever since.

“I got my first motorcycle when I was about ten,” says Fr. Sallot, the Diocese’s vicar general. “My dad paid 30 bucks for it, all in pieces. He said, ‘Here – if you want a motorcycle, see how much you can put together.’”

In addition to local rides, he and a few friends enjoy annual off-road trips. “We go about a thousand miles, riding about 150 to 200 miles a day, and stay in cheap hotels out in the boonies.”

Despite the broken elbows, collarbone and ankle, along with countless lacerations and contusions, “I ride because I like the speed and the thrill of going fast over terrain. It makes me concentrate on what I’m doing and forget everything else. It’s mental therapy. … It also gets me out into nature. I really love that.”

Full story at Orange County Catholic.