new oxford notes
Father Corapi Speaks NOR: Did you lose the faith along the way?
Fr. Corapi: Well, I never renounced the faith. But I
We recently had a chance to chat with Fr. John had a bad orientation toward life, living the phony exist-
Corapi, the dynamic, inspirational preacher of the Gospel, ence of the world: parties, drugs, money, and the like.
whose talks are among the most popular on Catholic radio NOR: And then came the downfall.
and television. We discussed a wide range of topics, in- Fr. Corapi: Yes. I fell deep into drugs and lost all the
cluding his return to the faith from the grips of the Devil, wealth and success I had amassed. My friends abandoned
his charism as an apostolic preacher, the challenges facing me, and I wound up a homeless drug addict on the streets
the Church today, and the theme of his upcoming confer- of L.A. It was a rapid, rapid decline.
ence on the Holy Spirit, “Lord & Giver of Life.” NOR: So it was primarily the drugs that led to your
>>> Fr. Corapi: Yes, absolutely. Drugs are straight out of
NOR: Father, your conversion story is simply as- Hell. Drugs are major — major — weapons of Satan and
tounding. It’s a true testament to the working of God’s his minions in their warfare against souls. I know it; I’ve
grace in the lives of everyday people. Give us a brief ac- been there, lying in the gutter as a result.
count of your story. NOR: But then something happened.
Fr. Corapi: My conversion story, if it can be called Fr. Corapi: Something did. Jesus said He came to
that, is really the radical re-conversion of a typical small- “set the captives free.” In fact, that’s the motto of the
town kid who found great success in the world and lost Army’s Special Forces: De Oppresso Liber — “To Free the
it all. Oppressed.” My mother managed to contact me, and she
NOR: Take us through your early life: home, educa- convinced me to pray one Hail Mary each day. That led to
tion, career. praying the Rosary daily.
Fr. Corapi: I grew up in a typically Catholic Italian NOR: So your mother was instrumental in your re-
family: We attended Mass and received the sacraments conversion?
regularly. I went to a Catholic grade school for a while Fr. Corapi: Very much so. She brought me back to
before transferring to public schools. My life followed a live in her house, which was somewhat like living in a
routine path. After high school I enlisted in the Army, and Catholic shrine. It was full of holy pictures, Rosaries, holy
then went to college and received a B.B.A. (Bachelor of water, and other sacramentals. I began praying the Rosary
Business Administration). I moved to Las Vegas and in earnest. I was there for 30 days. It was 30 days of hellish
worked as an accountant, then as director of internal con- oppression.
trol for one of the major casinos there. I then worked in NOR: Wait a second. How can living in a house full
law enforcement for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. of religious objects be a “hellish oppression”?
From there I went to Los Angeles and worked in the real- Fr. Corapi: Because it was a difficult place for the
estate business. A good number of my clients and friends Devil to operate. When you’ve lived “dead” in mortal sin
were part of the entertainment industry — movies and for 20 years, you don’t just casua