Diary of a Mountain Priest: Reading Marathon

Fr Vince Kuna, CSC reading

Some people run marathons; others read marathons … at least according to our monthly blogger, Fr. Vince Kuna, C.S.C., as he shares with us this month about his fundraiser for the youth group of his parish.

I read. A lot. Well over a one-hundred books a year, in fact. I mix fiction and non-fiction while sprinkling in a little theology here and there to stay updated professionally. Previously, it all added up to an impressive (yet perhaps ministerially irrelevant) intellectual stew. Inspired by fellow Holy Cross priests who run marathons to fundraise for parish and school, I decided to use my powers for the forces of good. Last summer, I proposed a reading marathon to the parish: churchgoers would sponsor me $1 per book I read over the course of the year with the proceeds subsidizing youth group expenses to the National Catholic Youth Conference in the fall of 2011.
I also justified the marathon as a tool to improve homiletics, in effect, edifying the listening audience. Not only did I glean ideas and anecdotes to help illustrate Scripture, but the very crafting of the language of my homily often took the form of the literary genre I was reading. If poetry, then my homily sounded poetic. If reading lives of saints, some parts of my homily read as a litany.
The outpouring from parishioners has been generous. I’ve read 78 books at the half-way point. So between per book sponsors and those who’ve offered a flat-fee donation, I stand to raise $5000 for the youth group. More importantly, parishioners noticed a marked improvement in my homiletics…on a couple of occasions older parishioners have said I’ve preached the best homily they’ve ever heard!
With the beginning of the new year, I’ve just turned the corner on the halfway mile-marker. Through parishioners continued prayers and by the grace of God, I hope to continue my torrid pace and finish the race well.

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