‘Holy Mark’ explores priest’s dark secrets _lowres

'The Holy Mark' by Gregory Alexander

“The Holy Mark. The Tragedy of a Fallen Priest” by Gregory Alexander. Hill City Press, 2014. $14.99.

“But we can’t keep our true selves bottled up forever. They’ve got to come out.”

Native New Orleanian Gregory Alexander introduces us to Father Tony, originally born Joe Broussard, the only son to an Italian mother and a Cajun father. Alexander takes us on the journey of Father Tony, from birth when he came into the world with a port-wine stain birthmark on his head that his grandmother dubbed “The Holy Mark” destining his path to the priesthood, to the discovery of his secret life of pedophilia.

In a cunning way, the book initially reads as story of Father Tony’s life as a young priest and his work with troubled boys. It slowly reveals how he began his horrible crimes. Stating that he was “devoted” to his work and that he was “important” in their lives, he tries to convince us by making us feel that he is helping them and in some way, justifying what he does.

At times, the book can be difficult to read, but engrossing in how the story develops from Father Tony’s perspective as if to make us forgive him.

— Anna Guerra, Denham Springs