NO TURNING BACK
A Witness to Mercy
by Father Donald H. Calloway, MIC
Marian Press, 2010
263 pages, $19.95
To order: marian.org
The opening chapter of this autobiography is like a Hollywood thriller: Japanese undercover agents and American military police stalk teenage criminals, hoping to nail them transferring illegal drugs and stolen cash. There’s a dramatic, dizzying foot chase out of Yokohama’s train station through heavy traffic and crowded markets before they collar Donald Calloway. The very next day they deport him to end his long crime spree and save more embarrassment for all concerned, including his family and the American military (his father was a U.S. Naval officer).
Back in the United States, things get worse, including drugs and alcohol, thefts and nothing but disdain for religion.
In one page-turning chapter after another, Father Calloway details his fall — and conversion. The patience and endurance of his mother is St. Monica-like and makes his eventual conversion rival St. Augustine’s.
But it was Mary who got to him first. On the one night he decided not to go out partying, he grabbed something to read. It happened to be a book on Mary’s apparitions at Medjugorje. He couldn’t put it down.
Writes Father Calloway, “As I continued to read, I said to her in my heart, ... ‘You are piercing the bubble of my world and offering me something more than I have ever heard.’”
The very next morning he dashed to the base chapel to talk with the priest. But first he had to sit through Mass — his first.
“The priest held the little white circle for what seemed forever,” Father Calloway recalls. “All of a sudden — this is difficult to explain — it was pure power. This voice said to me ... ‘Worship!’ ... In an instant, some knowledge came over me that the priest was holding Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. It seemed to me like time had stopped. Every fiber in my being was in total fixation on what I was seeing.
“I knew immediately that this was holy Communion,” he writes, “that this was the Blessed Sacrament, and I was in the presence of God.”
Father Calloway soon felt called to the priesthood and joined the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, an order devoted to Mary, the Eucharist and Divine Mercy.
His early zeal for evil becomes holy zealousness. No wonder the Marians soon sent him to tell his conversion story around the world.
From beginning to end, every golden paragraph and insight goes straight to the heart. Who can’t feel a tug at their heart when Father Calloway speaks of his mother, father and brother and what they mean to him, his family’s patience and unwavering love, and the marvels of God’s mercy and Mary’s love?
Father Calloway offers positive proof that others can become what he calls himself: the poster child for Divine Mercy.
Staff writer Joseph Pronechen writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.