Petey Pat Kane and Mariana Pia Pelligri have been in love with each other their whole lives. Even Father Jimmy recognized it the moment he met the little couple as their second-grade teacher at St. Regis' in Poplar Grove, Chicago. But years later, on a night that was supposed to be one of the best of their lives, Pete makes a choice that forces him to leave his city behind. Guilt over running away from Mariana and the truths he is too scared to face lead him into the Army, where he becomes Captain Kane, war hero. But thing can make him forget his humiliation. Or his love for Mariana. Then, on his third deployment in Iraq, Pete is injured in a roadside bomb attack and finds himself alive...and dead, on a spiritual journey of the afterlife so wondrous he is given a second chance at life from God Himself. Yet even a heavenly encounter may t be eugh to overcome Pete's legendary stubbornness. That task must fall to Pete's oldest friend, Father Jimmy, who welcomes the wounded soldier back to Poplar Grove. With Christmas approaching, time is running out for Pete to complete the most important mission of his life: convincing himself that he and Mariana really were meant to share a special message of love with the world.
Priest, sociologist, author and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley built an international assemblage of devout fans over a career spanning five decades. His books include the Bishop Blackie Ryan novels, including The Archbishop in Andalusia, the Nuala Anne McGrail novels, including Irish Tweed, and The Cardinal Virtues. He was the author of over 50 best-selling novels and more than 100 works of non-fiction, and his writing has been translated into 12 languages.Father Greeley was a Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona and a Research Associate with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. In addition to scholarly studies and popular fiction, for many years he penned a weekly column appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers. He was also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, America and Commonweal, and was interviewed regularly on national radio and television. He authored hundreds of articles on sociological topics, ranging from school desegregation to elder sex to politics and the environment.Throughout his priesthood, Father Greeley unflinchingly urged his beloved Church to become more responsive to evolving concerns of Catholics everywhere. His clear writing style, consistent themes and celebrity stature made him a leading spokesperson for generations of Catholics. He chronicled his service to the Church in two autobiographies, Confessions of a Parish Priest and Furthermore!In 1986, Father Greeley established a $1 million Catholic Inner-City School Fund, providing scholarships and financial support to schools in the Chicago Archdiocese with a minority student body of more than 50 percent. In 1984, he contributed a $1 million endowment to establish a chair in Roman Catholic Studies at the University of Chicago. He also funded an annual lecture series, The Church in Society, at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, from which he received his S.T.L. in 1954.Father Greeley received many honors and awards, including honorary degrees from the National University of Ireland at Galway, the University of Arizona and Bard College. A Chicago native, he earned his M.A. in 1961 and his Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Chicago.Father Greeley was a penetrating student of popular culture, deeply engaged with the world around him, and a lifelong Chicago sports fan, cheering for the Bulls, Bears and the Cubs. Born in 1928, he died in May 2013 at the age of 85.