.Tony Lorenzen taught theology in Catholic high schools for 8 years. He is now a Unitarian Universalist parish minister. Saint Somebody is his first novel.
Lorenzen grew up in Leominster, MA and graduated from Leominster High School and Fitchburg State College (now University), where he was an English major. “When I was in college, I wanted to be a writer for Rolling Stone,” said Lorenzen. “I wrote Arts and Entertainment pieces for The Fitchburg-Leominster Sentinel & Enterprise and the now defunct Montachusett Review. I also published pieces here and there including a feature in Worcester Magazine.”
There’s a couple of nods to Leominster’s well known author Robert Cormier in Saint Somebody Central Catholic . A family of characters in the book is named after the young adult novelist and they live in a place called Monument, the name Cormier used for the fictionalized version of Leominster in his novels.
Following college, Lorenzen didn’t head off to Rolling Stone, but instead found himself heading off to Harvard Divinity School. “When I was in college, the priest at the Newman Center submitted my name to a program in the Diocese of Worcester called ‘Called by Name.’ I was invited to have dinner with the Bishop of Worcester to talk about becoming a priest. When I called up to RSVP, the phone was answered by a woman with a frail, scratchy voice. To this day I assume she was an elderly nun. When I asked if my girlfriend could come to the dinner with me since this decision would affect our dating relationship, the woman told me to stop joking and hung up on me. I never went to the dinner.”
Upon graduating from Harvard Divinity School, Lorenzen taught classes in New Testament, Moral Theology, and Sacramental Theology at three different Catholic high schools: Lowell Catholic High School, St. Bernard’s High School in Fitchburg, and Cathedral High School in Boston. When he could no longer reconcile his liberal theology with the Catholic Church, he had to leave. He joined the Unitarian Universalist Church in Leominster, MA and began to write a story based on his experiences teaching. He also began to pursue the ministry. Encouraged by Rev. Susan Suchocki-Brown, the Unitarian Universalist minister in Leominster, he began the ordination process.
Lorenzen was ordained by First Church in Leominster, Unitarian Universalist in June of 2007. Since then he has served congregations in Billerica, MA; Weston, MA; Southlake, TX; Huntsville, TX; and Houston, TX. He currently pastors Hopedale Unitarian Parish in Hopedale, MA.
Lorenzen recalls, “The sermon at my ordination service was delivered by Rev. Dr. Thomas Wintle, the minister at First Parish Church in Weston, one of our Christian Unitarian Universalist churches. It was titled ‘Take Joseph’s Bones with You.’ The church was full of many Catholic and ex-Catholic family and friends. Rev. Wintle encouraged me, and all of us, to take the things of value from our religious pasts along with us on our faith journey. I like to think I heeded Rev. Wintle’s advice. I’m still Christian in my spirituality and still love liturgy and the movement of the Christian liturgical year.” Lorenzen is well known in Unitarian Universalist Christian circles and has served on the Board of Directors of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship and as editor of their journal, The Good News. “Writing this novel was one of the ways I processed leaving the Catholic Church,” said Lorenzen. “I wrote it as a thank you to my students and as a way to thank the Catholic tradition for the good things it gave me.
In-between writing sermons, Lorenzen is working on his next novel.
Contact Tony Lorenzen