Internationally-known priest Thomas Keating to speak at Wake Forest University

Rev. Thomas KeatingThe Rev. Thomas Keating, a Cistercian Trappist priest, monk and former abbot, will lead a program April 5 to 6 in Wake Forest University’s 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 School’s 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 that’s 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 one’s being,” Keating said in a 1996 interview. “If you think of prayer as just words or songs, it’s very limited. Prayer is primarily, in essence, a relationship.”

Keating, who resides at St. Benedict’s 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

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 university’s 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.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Events, School of Divinity, Speakers