How you know me: I am the Parochial Vicar of Holy Family Parish in Peoria, IL.
Why I love reading: I can’t imagine not reading. Reading is like eating– It is a necessary part of my life, but I definitely like some things more than others.
What I’m reading now: Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald. For the last year or so, I’ve been fascinated by Fitzgerald—especially his short stories, letters, biographies. He had an amazing gift for observation and story telling from an early age. His writing has a clear Catholic worldview and moral sense, despite his gradual departure from the Church as a young man. So many great artists grew up Catholic– I think Martin Scorcese said something like “you can leave the Church, but the Church never leaves you.”
My favorite book: So many favorites. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was probably the first book to have a real impact on me. In adulthood, the stories, essays and letters of Flannery O’Connor completely altered my perspective on the nature of grace and its operation in our fallen, yet redeemed, world. Walker Percy’s novels and essays have really helped me to better understand, as he would say, our common predicament. I’ve been really influenced by the theology and cultural criticism of Romano Guardini. So, too, by the writing and homilies of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI—he was like a modern Church Father.