Roger Dubin, author of “The Coin of the Realm” and a parishioner at Sacred Heart in Prescott, will never forget his journey from living as a self-described angry, deeply anti-Christian Russian Jew to Catholicism. Recently, Dubin discussed his conversion story and his book on EWTN’s “The Journey Home” hosted by Marcus Grodi .
“I felt kind of ridiculous to be asked, given the very knowledgeable and biblically deep people that so often seem to be on the program,” he explained of the Nov. 9 appearance. “I certainly don’t qualify on either count. But, I asked for guidance and in prayer received this help. ‘Try to see your life as not your own.’ That meant a lot. Plus, the entire staff is so great, and Marcus Grodi makes you feel like you’ve known him your whole life. We went to Mass just before the show — all of which helped me to relax.”
He will never forget the day he decided to become Catholic: April 19, 2005. On a layover at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport for a business trip, Dubin noticed the television and the live feed from the Vatican when Pope Benedict XVI was announced as the newest successor to St. Peter. As the new pope emerged on the balcony, it appeared to Dubin as if Pope Benedict’s eyes met with his and his gaze penetrated his soul.
Almost immediately, Dubin burst into tears and knew without a doubt that he was going to become Catholic. He and his wife Barbara entered the RCIA program, under the direction of Muriel Rabideau, at Sacred Heart Parish that same year.
“We both had annulments to handle, so we didn’t enter the church until April 2007,” he said. “That was a very healing and learning period of time, which increased our desire for the sacraments and opened up doors in our life and relationships with others.”
His early life in New York was difficult, as most of his Jewish family lost their faith after the holocaust, believing that God took members of their family away. Dubin managed to go through his bar mitzvah, as more of an obligation to his mother, than a statement of faith.
He left home at 16 and joined the Merchant Marines, traveling to North Africa. His first novel, “The Coin of the Realm,” is loosely based upon his experience with the Merchant Marines and working as a seaman aboard a tramp freighter bound for Tunisia.
The Coin of the Realm
Author: Roger Dubin
Publisher: Tarsus Press
Length: 360 pages
“From the time I was a young reader and writer, I knew that someday I wanted to try my hand at writing novels. In the years since I came back from North Africa, I knew that when I finally buckled down to the job, my first novel would be based on that seminal voyage,” Dubin said. “My inner motivation was to show how God moves within the lives of men in ways we rarely see and understand. And even when we do glimpse a piece of the picture, it’s only a tiny fragment of the infinite, divine tapestry.”
Though Dubin admits he is a private person, not looking for recognition, his appearance on EWTN elicited a far-reaching positive response from viewers, including an interview with Gus Lloyd of Sirius Catholic Radio’s “Seize the Day.”
“Hearing from complete strangers about how you affected them is deeply humbling,” he admitted. “In addition, a lot of folks bought my novel, which is nice, because it is a good story and people really seem to enjoy the read.
Roger and Barbara are also active members of Sacred Heart. He is a member of the pastoral council and is involved with the parish’s capital campaign, and the couple attends a weekly holy hour and volunteers with the parish RCIA program.
Claretian Father Darrin Merlino, Sacred Heart pastor, finds the Dubins’ profound conversion experience inspirational.
“Roger has a giving heart, a servant’s heart and I am amazed at how Divine Providence works and how God works and brings people back to Him,” he said. “Roger and I are fans of “The Hound of Heaven” and I am amazed at how the Hound went after him that way in the airport. In meeting he and his wife, you wouldn’t know they weren’t Catholic all along. He and his wife are a great asset to our parish. I am glad he is able to tell his story and hopefully change the lives of other Catholics and Christians.”