I'm honored to interview Father Donald Calloway MIC about his newest book, Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest. I met Father Calloway a couple of years ago at a Catholic conference at which we both presented. Father gave a inspirational talk at the conference. He had quite an incredible story to tell.
As a priest in the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Donald has completed advanced studies in Mariology and strives to share his own love of Mary. Currently Fr. Donald is the House Superior of the Marian House of Studies in Steubenville, OH, and Vocation Director for the Marians.
Father Calloway, your book, Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest is fascinating. I had a tough time putting it down the day it was delivered to my mailbox. I also love the soft images of the Blessed Mother throughout the book. Can you tell us the inspiration behind the book? Why did you feel compelled to write it?
After I published my conversion story in 2010 (No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy) I began to receive tons of requests to speak at parishes, conferences, and other events. For the last three years I have been speaking all over the country and internationally, as a result. As part of my talks, I always give teachings about such things as the Eucharist, the Church, the Papacy, Confession, the Priesthood, Prayer, Divine Mercy, and Masculinity and Femininity. The cool thing is that all of these talks have a very strong Marian aspect and I always weave Our Lady into all my presentations. People seem to really like that Marian aspect of these talks and I got so many requests to publish them in book form so that others could benefit from them. So, that is exactly what I’ve done in Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest. It contains my nine most requested talks in written form.
Would you be able to tell us when your personal relationship with the Blessed Mother began?
I fell in love with Mary when I read a book about her that my parents had on their bookshelf some 20 years ago. My parents are converts to Catholicism and had purchased a book about Marian apparitions and put it on their bookshelf. After I lived a very sinful life, getting into all kinds of trouble (that’s an understatement), that book could not have come at a better time. Reading that book, I became fascinated by this beautiful woman I never knew and wanted to know more about her. What that ultimately did was lead me to fall in love with her, God, Jesus Christ, and fall in love with Catholicism. Without Mary, I really would not know Jesus. Without Mary, I certainly would not be the man I am today.
Why do you feel it is important to write about one’s relationship with the Blessed Mother?
That’s simple. Mary is a princess. All girls want to be one, and all men want one. I’m a man, so I write about my princess. She is my beautiful lady and I see myself as a Knight for her, and I want to honor her in any way that I can. One way is to write about her.
What can the average Catholic do to deepen their devotion to Mary?
I highly recommend that people pray the Rosary. The Rosary is such a powerful prayer. It can change hearts quickly and effectively. It changed mine. I don’t go anywhere without my Rosary. Praying the rosary is like holding Mary’s hand. I also highly recommend that people make a Marian pilgrimage. There are so many Marian Shrines all over the world. I lead one every year, and this year I’m going to Fatima, Spain, and Lourdes from June 19-28. Most importantly, people just need to talk to Mary in prayer. Share the joys and pains of life with her. She loves us so very much and wants to be close to us, and we get to know her best through praying to her.
You include “Marian Gems” to the end of each chapter. Can you tell us about them?
I love the Marian Gems section of my book. It has taken me almost 10 years to collect all of them. They are quotes about Our Lady from Saints, Blesseds, Venerables, Servants of God, and Popes. They are profound statements made about Our Lady that go along with each section that they follow. I have gotten so much good feedback about them and can’t wait for others to read them and meditate on them.
What are your hopes for this book?
My greatest hope is that people fall more in love with Jesus and the Catholic Church through reading this book. That is what Mary would want, and so that is what I want, too.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
I highly recommend that people read the book slowly. There is a ton of material in it, and if it is read too fast they might miss key things. I also think it is a great book for parish book clubs because it gets people discussing important topics about our faith.
Do you have any special speaking events coming up?
Yes, my pilgrimage to Fatima, Spain, and Lourdes this summer! It’s going to be a great pilgrimage during the Year of Faith. I can’t wait.
Finally, Father Calloway, where can our readers get this book?
People can purchase my book and find out about the pilgrimage by going to my website: www.fathercalloway.com
Thank you very much for your time for this interview, Father Calloway. I hope and pray that your book will inspire many hearts.