ohn Buerlein works the crossword while old women confess the sins of their husbands and the homeless sleep it off in quiet pews--just another day at St. Mary Magdalen’s Downtown Catholic Church where he is the overworked, underpaid pastor.His shift is nearly over when a beautiful call girl enters, Linda, to confess a sin she hasn’t committed yet:
“I’m going to kill myself. On my birthday. And I’m Aries, Father, so I don’t have a lot of time.”
Then she disappears and Fr. John sets out to find her.Along the way he befriends an ex-prizefighter, a street-smart librarian, a renegade street-whore, an omniscient cab driver, and a moody pimp who quotes Robert Frost. Together this ad-hoc congregation sets out to save a life…and possibly redeem their own.Fr. John is hit, hit-on, held at knife point, treated to a peep show, and informed by the archdiocese in no uncertain terms that his career is in jeopardy if he doesn’t cease and desist.Then his first love turns up after 20 years, as beautiful as ever, to tell him she is divorced and that she never stopped loving him. He was her first. She was his only. Shockingly, John’s mother encourages the reunion.
When John emerges from his descent into the world of pornography and prostitution to stand again before his congregation, he is a profoundly changed man, as are the members of his church who now hang on his every word.