A while back, I mentioned that my aunt had called to tell me the real priest in the real St. Pete’s in the real Grand Prairie had said some not-so-nice things about The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival during Mass and in the church bulletin. Well, someone was kind enough to send me the words from the bulletin a while back and I figured I’d share.
Saint Peter Roman Catholic Church bulletin:
New Book is “a Lie”
Recently Kensington Fiction published a novel by author Kenneth J. Wheaton, Jr., a native of Opelousas. It is entitled “The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival.” In his own words, the author offers this note in the book: “[W]hile there is a St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in a town called Grand Prairie, Louisiana, and, there once was something called a Rabbit Festival, this book in no way reflects reality – or any reasearch – on my part. In other words, the whole thing’s a [expletive] lie.” Before you consider supporting this author by buying his novel, please know that the contents of this book are highly insulting to the Grand Prairie community and offensive to the Catholic Priesthood in general.
You know, it’s his right to be offended. And maybe some priests will find it offensive. But just as he takes issue with the book, I take issue with his claim that it is “highly insulting to the Grand Prairie community.” Because that, my friends, is a lie. And I don’t base this only on my respect and fondness for Grand Prairie, but also because people who are from Grand Prairie and some who still live there actually like the book.
And the truth is plenty of Catholics around the world and specifically in South Louisiana know stories about priests behaving oddly (and, yes, badly). And that doesn’t send them running to other faiths or into the cold, uncaring arms of atheism.
In fact, I found out last week that there was a priest in South Louisiana, one town over from Grand Prairie, with the last name of Sibille (just like my narrator) who left the church to marry a woman. (And thank God I didn’t know that while writing the book because who knows what I would have changed … aside from the name.)