I am once again on the road. I presented a Merton Centenary Pilgrimage in Assisi, Italy with Marianne Hieb, a sister of Mercy, and Helen Owen, a Franciscan, from October 26 – November 4th. I have been residing in Rome since November 4th, visiting well-known and loved places, especially churches, especially Santa Maria di Trestevere which I consider my home church while in Rome.
I depart for Sweden on Monday, November 30th where I’ll reside with monks of the Ecumenical Community of Bjara-Saby forty miles out of Stockholm. I’ll deliver four talks at a Merton Centenary Symposium they are sponsoring December 4 -6. For the rest I’ll be in their unique community of women and men who represent inter-denominational Christian traditions, including Pentecostalism. The Prior is Peter Halldorf who is also editor of their magazine The Pilgrim. I’ll live with the community for seventeen days until December 17th.
On December 18th I’ll arrive in Dubai, UAE as the guest of a friend who works there. I intend to frequent the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding informally and as a pilgrim. I’ll return to Stockholm on December 30th and remain in the city until January 4th, when I’ll return to Italy and Assisi, where I’ve rented an apartment for the month of January to work on a writing project that I’ve tentatively titled Called To Be Merciful: Thomas Merton’s Witness to Compassionate Transparency and Loving Kindness in All Our Relations: Reflections on Courageous Contemplative Living by Jonathan Montaldo.
In February I’ll travel to Milan and reside with Father Mario Zaninelli, a Merton scholar who translates Merton’s work into Italian. We have projects together until April, one of which is my joining Professors Antonio Montanari and Paolo Trianni in presenting at a conference to be held at the Pontifical Atheneum of Saint Anselm in Rome. Dottore Montanari’s talk will be on a theme from Merton’s Contemplation in A World of Action and Dottore Trianni will speak to Merton’s inter-monastic dialogues. My topic is tentatively titled “Always Stretching Forward Toward Christ: the Lived Theology that Grounded Thomas Merton’s Restlessness.”
I’ll return to the States in early April to travel to Louisville, Kentucky where I’ll assist once again in the 2016 Festival of Faiths whose theme this year is Non-violence. I’m scheduled to be in New Jersey June – September. In October I return to Kentucky to present a five-day retreat for the priests of the Owensboro, Kentucky diocese. In late October I’ll return to Assisi with my colleagues to present with them at their annual retreat in Assisi on the theme of a Pilgrimage to Celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. Depending on circumstances, I intend to remain in Italy for a prolonged visit from November, 2016 forward.
I can only be reached by email at <email@example.com> during this period of travel but I am available for corresponding.
These are my current plans. Inshallah!