Adult Religious Education
St. Mary's has several groups that meet on a regular basis for the purpose of encouraging our spiritual growth. We're in the process of collecting the information about these groups on this web page, so please check back often if you don't see what you're looking for now. All people, parishioners and non-parishioners are welcome at all of these groups.
Thomas Merton Study Group
For the past eleven years a small group of Thomas Merton enthusiasts and readers have met at St. Mary’s Pastoral Center to read and discuss books by Thomas Merton. In the beginning the group met in the evening but for the past eight years the meetings have been during the day. The group has read and discussed Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation which explored the contemplative pathways to one’s deep spiritual center. The group has discussed Peace in the Post-Christian Era, a treatise on the issues of war and the nuclear threat during the 1960’s which, of course, resonates with us in today’s world.
For the 2006-2007 year the group read and discussed Thomas Merton, Spiritual Master edited by Lawrence Cunningham. This book is an anthology of the many Thomas Merton writings, primarily about spirituality. For the 2007-2008 year the group continued with the book, Thomas Merton, Spiritual Master and added the celebrated book by Merton titled, The Seven Storey Mountain, in 2008-2009. Since some members of the group have read the book many years ago, the focus was new insights gained by the readings—in a sense it was The Seven Storey Mountain revisited. During the 2009-2010 year the Group read Mystics and Zen Masters by Thomas Merton. For the first session of the 2010-2011 year we finished the book, Mystics and Zen Masters as well as our new book for the year titled, The Inner Experience by Thomas Merton.
For the 2011-2012 year the Merton Group will have two sessions—a day session and a night session. The night session is designed for people who cannot make the day session and want to enjoy reading and discussing Thomas Merton and at times other contemporary authors as they have impacted Merton. The Merton Group will continue meeting on the second Tuesday of the month except for the month of December. The day session will meet from 9:30-11:00 AM and the night session will meet on the same second Tuesday from 7:00 -8:30 PM. Both sessions will meet at the Pastoral Center. This coming year the book for the program is titled The Life You Save May Be Your Own authored by Paul Elie. This book interweaves the lives of four Catholic writers: Thomas Merton, Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy Day. Please read the first six chapters of the book during the summer. Also an added discussion feature will be the sampling of the writing of the four authors. The first sampling will be the novel The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. I am requesting that the participants read this short novel over the summer.
For the 2012-2013 Program we are using the following 3 books: The New Man by Thomas Merton; Mystery and Manners by Flannery O’Connor; we will continue using The Complete Stories by Flannery O”Connor. The reading assignment for our first meeting in the Fall/2012 (September 11) is as follows: Read Chapter 1 of both books: The New Man; Mystery and Manners; read the following 2 stories in The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor: “Circle of Fire” and “You Can’t Be Any Poorer Than Dead.”
Meetings times are the same as the past year-2nd Tuesday of the month. Meeting place-Pastoral Center at St. Mary’s.
Everyone is welcome to join the group including people of other faiths and other parishes.