Father Pat Cheyne, an unkempt, middle-aged priest on a lone canoe ride reflects on how these solitary meditations in his beloved canoe have marked his life. His thoughts reach back to his boyhood rejection of the boisterous ways of his father, just home from the war, to the memorable evening when he first prayed, eyes open, floating in a silent magic space with stars drenching the sky above and mirror lake below him. Even now, the canoe remains his own vehicle for understanding solitude.
The Father Pat Stories chronicle the Anglican priest and former member of Parliament’s pattern of engagement and disengagement as he very actively applies tolerance and forgiveness to his parishioner’s difficulties in a world where religion often stands for intolerance and exclusion. The fast paced adventures engage a tight trio of friends Father Pat, his public relations pal, Terry, and their mutual big city reporter friend, Deirdre. The odd trio get all too intimately involved with each other and in problems, personal and institutional in Ridgewood, Father Pat’s suburban parish.The yarns, almost parables, present a good man through a lifetime of friendships and loves.
About the author
Patrick Gossage lays no claim on being a good man, but forty years ago the young University of Toronto graduate felt he indeed had a calling to become a priest and spent a year at Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Mass. finding out he was not cut out for organized religion. The idea of what it might have been started him exploring thoughts for this book over three years ago. Drawing on his seminary year, and experiences as diverse as his years as a television producer at CBC and CTV, as press secretary to Pierre Trudeau, and as head of his own successful public relations company, Gossage found creating Father Pat, Terry and Dierdre drew down his life in a unique and satisfying way. Gossage's well-received memoirs of his years with Trudeau, Close to the Charisma was published in 1986. He is also a prolific book reviewer and commentator on politics and the media and a regular television panelist. His own red canoe rests at the family cottage at Lake of Bays, Muskoka.
[Gossage's] canoeing scenes are first-rate and as delicately realized as any of Hemingway's shoreline settings. From his canoe, Father Pat stares at a natural world that resonates with the presence of The Divine. It is an association that recalls the work of 19th century British Jesuit poet Gerald Manley Hopkins, who also felt God's presence in as small an object as the beating of a bird's wing.