Grapefruit Moon – Geoff Wood, requiescat in pace
Tom Waits’ 1973 song, Grapefruit Moon, was one of the favorites of my friend Geoff Wood who recently passed into the mystery of his Lord’s presence. Born in Philadelphia to an Irish and Italian family in 1928, Geoff was drawn to the Graymoor Franciscan order in New York and was ordained a priest. He studied in Rome where some of his instructors lectured in Latin. He was one of the early Catholic biblical students to be trained in the historical and textual study of sacred texts, writing his doctoral thesis on the Gospel infancy narratives. Even so, he was exposed to the explosive power of the letters of Saint Paul, especially the letter to the Romans, that propelled him in trajectories that were unexpected. Geoff left the priesthood in the 1960’s to be married and raise a family, finally settling in the town of Sonoma in his retirement where he offered his gift for storytelling and interpreting scripture at his local parish of St. Leo the Great to any who wanted to hear the liturgical texts brought to life in surprising and creative ways. The fruits of these weekly reflections were published in the early 2000’s as a three volume series on the Sunday liturgical readings entitled, Living the Lectionary – Links to Life and Literature.
One of those exposed to Geoff’s learned lectures was Gil Bailie who had been developing his own unique approach to some of the foundational texts of Western literature. Sometimes when I listen to Gil’s early presentations I seem to hear Geoff’s voice.
St Leo the Great Catholic Church in Sonoma has posted PDF copies of Geoff’s weekly reflections as well as a few YouTube videos of talks he gave on themes from the liturgical calendar. I encourage readers to follow the link to experience for themselves the grace given to this gifted teacher.
Requiescat in pace