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Send comments to: JACK FRERKER

I finished your newest book, RECOLLECTIONS, last week and have been thinking about it before I sent you a feedback.

I know that RECOLLECTIONS is a novel, but I have been a Catholic for over 66 years and your book seems like a history book on the Catholic Church in the USA. I hope and pray that there are many lay people, priests, and bishops that read your book and learn from it. It has been said many times that hindsight is "20/20", well the "20/20" is your book. We Catholics must do better, we must take politics out of the church and do the right thing because it is right.

I love the way you tell the story to a young priest by interviewing a retired priest. That gives the young priest lots of things to think about, and learn from.

I loved it. When is your next book coming out and what is it going to be about?

R. Swanson, Washington

Just finished (the book) and thought about it a little. My thanks and kudos for saying the truth to power. Something needed to be said and the air cleared, gracefully. Excellent job, and enjoyable.

In our world today there remain (much) more to be brought to the attention of lazy thinkers ... and it ain't easy ... I keep thinking what they do to prophets.

T. O'Neill, Illinois

If you want to know what it was like to be a young priest in the 1950s and early 1960s, then you should read this reflection. The names are changed, but I know all these bishops and priests. They are real (as are) the housekeepers, especially, and the laity to some extent.

Where have all the priest characters gone? There is only one still active in our diocese. A character is a person who freely chooses to do certain things in a more grand way than others ...

This is a story about a young seminarian interviewing a retired priest. The reminiscences ... are obviously those of the author, even though the book claims to be fiction ...

The stories are intriguing and, as far as I know, they are all true ... I lived through those same years, the same bishops, the same scandals.

In the end, the author tries to be positive. He also tells some good stories and tries to get the reader and the seminarian to believe that the old priest's work was worthwhile.

The only motive that would get me to walk into this lion's den of a diocese is if I had no fear and felt I was answering a higher call. Fear, as the author ... tells us, is the enemy of love; it ... is also our most favorite substitute for love. Fear is alive in most places ... it helps if you are a kid from East St. Louis. Only then could I stand up to the lions and be my own man. And this, we are told, the retired priest had done, kind of.

L Hayes, Illinois

(Recollection) is a worthwhile book indeed - I'd often wished that someone would put down a picture of those years before it all gets lost and becomes even more unbelievable to future generations. You speak of my generation - I was born in 1930 ... We 1930 guys didn't usually enter minor sem until 1944 and were ordained in 1956. Also, the idea that we 1930 guys had to stay in seminary during the summer so we draftable kids wouldn't be walking the streets is a bit of a puzzle. We would not have been draftable until after the war was well over, so our presence on the streets in the summer would not have offended anyone. Actually, I was free every summer - it was guys born in 1925,1926 etc who stayed in the seminary all summer ... I also have identified all the folks (alluded to in the book) ... I was a bit surprised that you, in addition to a precis of the various bishops included (later ones too) ... It is also a tough assignment to speak of celibacy and do it justice. I recall reading ... MULDOON, by Rocco Facchini, and admiring his description of what it was like being a young priest in those days. People today would not believe, think we were writing fiction, over-doing it, exaggerating. You've done a good service.

D Blaes, Illinois

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revised January 18, 2014 @ 9:52 am