Internationally-known priest Thomas Keating to speak at Wake Forest University
By Jacob McConnico
The Rev. Thomas Keating, a Cistercian Trappist priest, monk and former abbot, will lead a program April 5 to 6 in Wake Forest Universitys Wait Chapel focused on Prayer, Peace and Dialogue. The program, sponsored by the Wake Forest Divinity School, is open to the public.
Keating, an internationally-renowned leader in the centering prayer movement and founder of Contemplative Outreach, an organization that teaches centering prayer and provides a support system to its practitioners, will lead two, two-hour programs on April 5, coinciding with the Christian Holy Week.
The first session starts at 2 p.m. and focuses on prayer, peace and interfaith relationships. During a 7 p.m. session, Keating will share his experiences in how silent prayer can lead to dialogue and friendship among world religions.
On April 6, Keating will lead a two-hour session starting at 9 a.m. on the richness of Christian contemplative prayer. He will also lead the Divinity Schools regular Tuesday worship service at 11 a.m. The worship service is free and open to the public.
Keating established Contemplative Outreach in 1984 to encourage the renewal of interest in the tradition of Christian contemplative prayer. Although Keating is Catholic, the contemplative method is not limited to one denomination or group.
Centering prayer is a consenting and thats all it is to what is, that is to say to the existence of God within us and love, and so one is moving toward that presence of love at the deepest level of ones being, Keating said in a 1996 interview. If you think of prayer as just words or songs, its very limited. Prayer is primarily, in essence, a relationship.
Keating, who resides at St. Benedicts Monastery in Snowmass, Colo., is the author of several books, including Open Mind, Open Heart, Invitation to Love, Intimacy with God and The Human Condition.
The cost for the program is $20 for individual sessions or $50 for all three. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Divinity School at 336-758-3522 or visit the Web site for the program at www.wfu.edu/divinity/keating.html.
Keating is visiting Wake Forest at the invitation of the Divinity School and of his friend, Winston-Salem resident Betty Haywood. The program is offered as part of the universitys theme for the 2003-2004 academic year Fostering Dialogue: Civil Discourse in an Academic Community. The theme is dedicated to the exploration of how free people with passionate interests and beliefs can communicate openly without turning dialogue into discord.