Oblate and Franciscan to give joint presentation

Last fall, our small Oblate community was honored to host Father Richard Rohr for two nights at the cathedral rectory here in Camden while he was in town to give talks at Christ Our Light in Cherry Hill and a school in Camden city. I’ve been a huge fan of his writing for quite some time, so it was my great pleasure to meet him. And now, it is an even greater pleasure to work with him.

Last year, I brought Richard down for a quick visit to my studio and to meet Father Michael Doyle, pastor of Sacred Heart Church. The look on Richard’s face at every turn on the short tour said it all: he was mightily impressed with life at Sacred Heart with its various programs, the outdoor sculptures and meditation gardens, the Waterfront South Theater on the corner, the farm plots and greenhouse and outdoor oven for the Center for Transformation, and lastly my studio, its walls covered with images of Jesus, Mary and the saints portrayed in traditional yet untraditional ways.

Which is exactly why Richard’s work has always meant so much to me in my personal spiritual development: he honors the traditions of our church by breathing new life into them. Tradition is an organic thing: timeless, yes, but always ready to evolve and adapt to new and ever changing realities. If it doesn’t, it becomes stagnant and irrelevant.

And so I, for one, cannot wait to see what happens when we team up on Nov. 14 when Richard and I offer two presentations at Sacred Heart. The afternoon session in the theater at 1 p.m. (for $100) will afford the opportunity to meet and greet Richard over a glass of wine following our talk; and the evening session at 7 p.m. for $25 will include a different talk from the earlier one and some beautiful music.

And by the way, most importantly, the idea for the whole day was entirely Richard’s. He is generously and graciously donating his time, talents and all proceeds to the ministries of Sacred Heart Church.

Brother Mickey McGrath, an artist, works out of his studio in South Camden.

Father Richard Rohr and his work

Father Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province. He founded the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1971, and the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1986, where he presently serves as founding director.

Father Rohr has travelled to Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand teaching on such themes as male spirituality,  adult Christianity, politics and spirituality, and non-dual thinking. He has worked with influential contemporary Catholic figures such as  Father Thomas Keating, proponent of centering prayer; syndicated columnist Father Ron Rolheiser; Sister Joan Chittister, columnist for National Catholic Reporter; and political activist Jim Wallis.

He is a regular contributing writer for Sojourners, Tikkun and The Huffington Post.

“Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the 12 Step” (September 2011) is his most recent book.

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