Minnesota author Pat McGauley’s fifteenth novel finalizes his five generational Moran family saga. The end of the lineage is Father Mickey, a wayward and winsome priest who is considering the process of being released from his sacred vows. For years he has been in love with, and now wants to marry his high school sweetheart, Mary Reagan. Once he is released from the priesthood his life becomes even more complicated than before. Tensions between Mickey and his bishop become so acrimonious that the Vatican needs to intervene.
Due to COVID-19 I have no events or book signings scheduled. Please check back for future events & book signings.
My dilemma as the calendar turns to August tomorrow. Decisions have to be made.
Backdrop: my new novel, ‘The Last Chapter’ is ready to go to formatting and then to my publisher. The editing of the manuscript has been completed to my satisfaction . . . not necessarily to perfection. Whatever, I must decide whether or not to have the story published or wait until next year when ‘things’ have settled down. The Corona virus has changed all our lives and many of our plans for the remainder of the year — and possibly, longer.
Under ‘normal’ circumstances, I would have the new book ready for marketing sometime in mid-October which would leave me the month of November for the November craft sales here in Hibbing and other locations on the Iron Range.
I have not learned of event cancellations yet so the pessimist in me is of the mind that they will be cancelled. If not, attendance will likely be considerably less than normal. My bottom line is simple, my company’s budget will not afford me the opportunity to publish ‘The Last Chapter’ and a new story 2021.
The obvious question might seem to be; why is the marketing period so confined? My answer is simple, I spend much of the winter in Florida. And that reality is another part of the dilemma. I’m beginning to realize that my personal budget may require me to sell my place in Florida. (Or, sell my place in Hibbing). I have no bookstore outlets in the area and I’ve taken my books off of Amazon as well. Locally, I have two Hibbing outlets: the Sunrise Deli and Sullivan’s R&T Confections on Howard Street.
Further, I have asked my website manager to suspend the site until further notice. I love the site you are on if you are reading this post, but . . . the budget constraints. The site has not been effective in terms of readership or sales. So this message may be my last for a while.
Finally, the new book will be the last of the Father Mickey adventures. I like the story and how it ends. Writing it was a new experience for me as I wrote in the first person for the first time. So I had the experience of being Mickey while writing over these past several months. Until next time if there is one, nothing is set in stone; thus the question mark in the title of my post.
Feel free to comment.
For most of my adult life, the news has been as much a part of my every day as eating and drinking. Essential. I would place only reading behind the news as vital parts of my daily regimen. Up until the past few years the pronouncement, ” . . . it’s true, I read it in the paper . . .” held validity. (As did “I saw on Walter Cronkite.)” Not so anymore.
News has become commentary with a kernel of reality — reality being what the network considers to be true. Mostly it’s not even subtle commentary. And if it’s the truth, and it’s positive at the same time, it somehow becomes unnewsworthy. If you watch CSNBC and I watch Fox News we might as well live on different planets. OK, I watch Fox and, on rare occasions, one of the three major networks. All as liberal as CNN. And, I listen to Rush when I’m free between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. But I can change my mind on issues. For years I didn’t buy into the climate change debate. Now I do.
Despite my admissions, I consider myself to be a solid American citizen and still get goose-bumps when I hear the National Anthem, and tears with a good rendition of God Bless America. Yes, I’m generally conservative on moral issues like abortion, and I believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I’m liberal on all of our basic civil rights — including peaceful demonstration. Race, religion, gender don’t matter a bit to me. I’m Catholic but accept, and respect, your beliefs or lack of. We’re all different in a thousand ways.
I abhor violence and those who engage in it. The media loves it. And skillfully put their own spin on it.
They love a scandal, too. The belief that Trump won because of Russian intervention was just the beginning of the attempt to strip him of his allegedly illegitimate presidency. Then it was impeachment. When that failed we had the pandemic — a tragedy that wouldn’t have happened if Trump has acted quickly and decisively. When COVID was becoming a bore, George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis cop (while 3 other cops stood by). Floyd’s death had ramifications around the world leaving death and destruction in its wake. The cops involved should, and will, be put in prison for a long time. Sadly, that, however, will never change the havoc they caused. Add to all that, once again the police are the target of anti-establishment forces across the country. I can’t imagine NYC with the demands for fewer police and a slashed budgets. How can ‘reform’ become abolition? I won’t even go into the recent purging of our historical monuments or Mayor Deblassio joining the artists painting ‘Black Lives Matter’ in huge letters at the front of the Trump Tower where the first family lives.
I’ve vented. In sharing my perspective I did not intend to sermonize nor to make myself out to be a better person than anybody who reads this editorial. I am so far from perfection that I pray for a forgiving God every day. I’m 78 and a grampa to six wonderful grandkids. I worry about the world we are bequeathing to them. The debts are one problem but it is diminished by the possibility of their having to learn Chinese.
I was born a Catholic. Generations of both parents were Catholic — some devout I’d imagine, some not so much. My Grandmother McGauley was devout as were both my mom and dad. Naturally, I went through all the sacraments including marriage (later annulled by the Catholic Church) and before cancer surgery I had my last rites.
Growing up it was Mass every Sunday, and when of age, Holy Communion every Sunday. I feared what my mother would say if I didn’t receive it. I was an altar boy for years and went to Catholic School.
When I went off to college there was some slippage. But when I came home on vacation it was off to the confessional so that I could be ‘pure of heart and soul’ for Sunday. To be honest, for most of my adult life I was a practicing Catholic without any serious thought or commitment. I read Scripture at Mass for a few years but when we got new priests I didn’t volunteer. I support the church financially but I do not tithe. I have gone on retreats and joined a prayer group for a few years.
Priests have made quite a difference in my life and the lives of most Catholics. Two of the priests I was closest to and got to know the best were on the list of 47 who were on the list of ‘sexual abusers’ in the Diocese of Duluth. When I retired in 2000, I began going to daily mass. About ten years ago I had an opportunity to spend much of the winter in Naples, Florida. My daily mass routine continued. There were some priests that really inspired and some who weren’t that impressive. Sometimes the priest was more of the attraction than the message he delivered.
When I started writing my seventh novel I created a priest named Father Mickey Moran. In my story and subsequent stories, I had a priest of my own creation. I continued with Mickey for six more novels that were sequential and set in the year they were written. Now I am working on a seventh story but am doing so in the first person which I have never done before. In a literary sense, I am a priest.
I have been asked many times: “Where do you get your story ideas?” I usually answer that it just comes if I don’t try to force it. Often I surprise myself. But there is a truth that I don’t readily share. I pray before I write. More specifically, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me as I go along. I believe, therefore, that I have been given a gift. I try not to make any story what might be considered Catholic theology. Mickey could well have been a Protestant minister. Go too heavy on religion and lose your readership.
I have missed going to church mass during the COVID pandemic. So, early every morning before writing, I watch the daily mass on the Catholic TV Network. It’s good but not the same by any stretch. I look forward to returning to Blessed Sacrament Mass in the very near future — perhaps this coming Sunday?
As I get older I appreciate each day more. Being retired when some say ‘every day is a Saturday’ is a trite way to look at life. Every day is a gift. And with the Coronavirus pandemic even more so. Anyhow it’s a Monday and the last Monday of May. But, more than that, it is Memorial Day. For most it makes for a long weekend and an opportunity the go fishing, work in the garden, mow the lawn, or do a million things a day off from work allows. (For many there have been far too many days off these past several weeks. My heart goes out to those who have been furloughed or lost their jobs).
Memorial Day this year will be different in that there will be few displays of patriotism — no ceremonies at cemeteries, no parades, and few signs of appreciation for those who deserve our highest appreciation. . . the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. Think about that reality for a long moment today. They were mostly young with the dreams of youth — a sweetheart, marriage, family, a home, or maybe a college degree. Whatever their hopes may have been, they served our country first and foremost. As an American, I pray: “May God give each of them an eternal peace in his heavenly kingdom.” God bless us all, and our fallen heros in a special way.