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Drawing on a biblically-based theology and a two-thousand-year-old tradition, the bishops gathered together at Vatican II did not see the Church as many of us tend to see it.  They did not see it primarily as an institution, or a hierarchical organization, or the group of bishops and priests who are called to lead it.  They saw the Church in a prophetic way as the Pilgrim People of God on a journey of trusting, hoping, and loving their way through the many blessings and challenges of the modern world.  They saw the Church as a Pilgrim People in the modern world.


This is the ever ancient yet ever new vision that still animates the renewal of the Church that was initiated by Vatican II fifty years ago.  In this series of three presentations we will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Vatican II by reflecting on some of the present implications of its prophetic vision of the Church as a Pilgrim People.


On the Road to Becoming:  Pilgrims on the Journey

Rev. Michael Fish, OSB Cam., October 26, 2013 9:30am-noon

Vatican II aired the expression "Pilgrim People" from centuries of dust and neglect.  "Pilgrimage" is part of our Judeo-Christian DNA beginning with the journey from Eden and deepened by Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the Exodus and medieval routes to Jerusalem, Rome, Canterbury and Compostela.  Drawing from his experience of walking the Camino de Santiago, Michael looks at the present phenomenon of pilgrimage and dusts off an ancient 'Way' of praying and spirituality that speaks today.


Rev. Michael Fish, OSB, Cam, is a native of South Africa, born in Johannesburg. At the age of 23 he entered the Redemptorists, a missionary community in the Catholic Church, and spent many of the 26 years he was with the community forming young South Africans aspiring to be Redemptorists.  In 1997, responding to a persistent desire for a more contemplative way of life. Michael left the Redemptorists and South Africa and became a Camaldolese Benedictine at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California.  Although he returns to the Hermitage regularly, he currently lives as a hermit, in solitude and prayer.  Solitude is only part of his calling and he offers retreats, talks and spiritual direction to his brothers and sisters in religious and lay communities.


You’re not a Noun; You’re a Verb

The Rev. Brian C. Taylor, November 16, 2013 9:30am-noon

The Hebrew scriptures tell stories about chosen people who were nomads, worshiping in a tent. The Christian ones feature a Messiah who has nowhere to lay his head. Buddhist sutras speak of impermanence as the only reality. And American gospel tunes sing “I am a pilgrim, and a stranger, traveling through this wearisome land...”


In this day of reflection, we’ll consider some of these ancient stories and metaphors. We’ll reflect on the paradox of our transience and participation in the eternal divine. We’ll sing some gospel songs, and remember how, as pilgrims, we are all in a process of becoming.


Brian C. Taylor is the author of several books on faith and practice, and served as Rector of an Episcopal parish in Albuquerque for 30 years. He is a graduate of the Shalem Institute for spiritual directors and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific for contributions to the field of spirituality. Brian enjoys collaborative and creative work with others in playing music, serving on various national church groups, and providing discernment and formation opportunities for people in the process leading towards ordination. He has been married since 1978, and has two grown sons working in theatre and film.





From a Mighty Fortress to a Pilgrim People: The Journey of Vatican II

Rev. Francis Dorff, O. Praem., September 28, 2013 9:30am-noon

During the four years that they were together, all the bishops gathered at Vatican II made a very long journey from seeing the Church as a mighty fortress to embodying it as a Pilgrim People.  In the process they radically changed the way the Catholic Church views itself, its relationship to the modern world and to all the other religions.  In this presentation we will make this pilgrim journey together meditatively before reflecting on the difference it has made for the Church as a whole.



Fr. Francis Dorff, O. Praem. is a Norbertine priest, theologian, spiritual director, and writer in residence at the Norbertine Hermitage Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  A former professor of theology and philosophy, he has been actively engaged over the past twenty five years in the ministries of retreat, spiritual direction, and religious formation and renewal.  Fr. Fran’s present work is primarily focused on experiencing and sharing a life-integrating approach to spiritual development.


He is the founder of The Center for LifeProcess Awareness and a specialist in meditative writing.  He is a specialist in the depth psychology of Ira Progoff, and the author of eight books and many articles on living spirituality.  Fr. Fran has a licentiate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in philosophical theology from the Institut Catholique in Paris.