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Lead Me, Guide Me: The Life and Example of Father Dan Begin

by Kathy Ewing

Print (softcover) $18.95


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Father Dan Begin spent thirty-five years ministering among those who lived in the poorest neighborhood in one of the poorest cities in America—Cleveland, Ohio. He was one of thirteen children, full of stories of growing up in the fifties and sixties in a hardscrabble household of thirty-seven people on Cleveland’s West Side. He was a white priest who was welcomed into the homes (and church communities and funeral homes) of African-American families, as well as those of celebrities and athletes. Father Dan was irreverent, articulate, and wise. When he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2016, at the age of sixty-seven, the meaning of his life and ministry came into sharp focus. “Watch me through this,” he told his family, friends, and parishioners. Just as he had always showed us how to live, at the end he showed us how to suffer and die with grace. In Lead Me, Guide Me, author Kathy Ewing describes the friendship she had with Father Dan and the profound effects his life had on her and hundreds of others by simply being an ordinary man who possessed extraordinary goodness and love.

RELIGION / Christianity / Catholic

ISBN: 978-1-951651-27-5 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
ISBN: 978-1-951651-28-2 (digital)

LCCN: 2020938052

Released 5-29-2020

180 pages

Author Biography

Kathy Ewing has written on education, books, women’s issues, and dogs, for such publications as America, National Catholic Reporter, Belt, The Bark, Brevity, The Millions, and Great Lakes Review. She teaches Latin at Cleveland State University and writing at Case Western Reserve University. Her memoir Missing: Coming to Terms with a Borderline Mother (Red Giant Books) appeared in 2016. She has two grown children and lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, with her husband, John Ewing. She blogs at


“Lead Me, Guide Me is a fabulous book: uplifting, generous, and wise at a time when we need to remember what is most important in this world”
Linda Carroll, author of Love Skills: The Keys to Unlocking Lasting, Wholehearted Love

“He didn’t always keep the rules, but Father Dan Begin always lived and ministered by the light of the Gospel. His spiritual freedom, deftly captured by his dear friend, Kathy Ewing, was pure grace. It should liberate us all. Ewing’s tribute to Dan Begin is both moving and challenging. With his good friend and mentor, Father Jim O’Donnell, I am both humbled and proud to stand with him as a priest of the Church of Cleveland”             
Father Donald Cozzens, author of The Changing Face of the Priesthood and Notes from the Underground: The Spiritual Journal of a Secular Priest

“Kathy Ewing forges a compelling encounter with Father Dan Begin.  She carefully captures moments of a life that are teachable moments for daily life.  Father Dan’s life bears the markings of an existential Gospel. It is evidence that we walk amongst saints every day.”
Rev. Dr. Derrick McQueen, Pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church, Harlem, New York

“A beautiful, touching memoir that captures so well the essence of Father Dan Begin, a bodhisattva, a laughing Buddha. I remember his bringing small groups of homeless gentlemen to Cleveland Public Theatre. I knew he was coming because I could hear his distinctive laugh coming up the stairs. What a blessing it was to know him and to be in the shadow of his presence. What a blessing to have captured this generous, complex, and wise soul in this eloquent, nuanced work. Thank you, Kathy! ”
James Levin, Founding Director, Cleveland Public Theatre.

“Kathy Ewing does a marvelous job of bringing Father Dan Begin to life! He had a unique way of bringing people together (almost always with a meal!) and loved working with people experiencing poverty in the inner city. In his last church assignments, he demonstrated both how to live the faith and how to die. He was sent to lead us and guide us! ”
Most Reverend Roger W. Gries, O.S.B, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Cleveland

Articles and Reviews

Robin Koslen, Ewing describes an exemplary life in new book, Heights Observer (July 30, 2020)

David C. Barnett, “Book Remembers Father Dan Begin's Quest To Bridge Divisions,” (June 5, 2020)

Anne Nickoloff, “New book honors life and teachings of Cleveland’s Father Dan Begin,” (June 16, 2020)


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