The Thomas Merton Center's Spiritual Education Committee plans and presents quality programs that are informative, timely, provocative, and broadening. These programs attract Catholics and non-Catholics alike. 


Fall 2011
Megan McKenna
Wisdom from the Community of the Beloved Disciples.....A Walk With Jesus
September 11, 2011, 4-6 PM
Menlo Park Recreation Center, 701 Laurel Street
Menlo Park, California
Don't miss the opportunity for two hours with theologian, story-teller, author and lecturer Megan Mckenn. Megan's topic is"Wisdom from the community of the beloved - The Great Catch, Breakfast on the Beach and a Walk with Jesus." Delve into the last chapter of John's Gospel to look at power, authority and how to cope with the failure of deciples (leaders) to respond to terror, torture, death and suffering.
More about Megan McKenna

Spring 2011
Informational Lecture
Intervention and support for vulnerable women and children in Kenya
Catherine Wanjohi
Executive Director
LifeBloom International Services of Naivasha, Kenya
March 27, 2011
4:00 pm
OLR Hospitality Center
1095 Channing St
Palo Alto, CA

Guy Cosolmagno, S.J. at St Ann Chapel, April 2003
Brother Guy Consolmagno
Astronomy, God, and the Search for Elegance
Friday Evening February 3, 2011
Lucie Stern Community Center Ballroom
7:00 p.m.
1305 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA
By looking closely at a handfull of astronomical images , brother Guy will explore the way that one proceeds from an emotional appreciation of the beauty of the stars and planets, to a deeper understanding that satisfies both reason and emotion. Ultimately, this link between "elegance" and rational truth has profound theological implications. 
More about Brother Guy at Wikipedia

Fr. Daniel Kiriti
Our Lady of the Rosary Meeting Room (OLR)
3233 Cowper, Palo Alto, CA
October 16, 2010, 7 pm
Photo by karen Ande
Fr. Kiriti and Toleo
Fr. Kiriti is Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Naivasha, Kenya. He will renew frienships and report on his various projects, particulrly those supported by the Thomas Merton Center.

Save the Date
TMC Advent Retreat
December 4, 2010
Embracing the Greatest Commandment
Presented by
Susan Cabrera
Susan Cabrera has her master's degree in counseling from Stanford University. A researcher, executive manager, author and lecturer, Susan's siminars and lectures combine her educatinal background, personal and professional experiences, and spiritual beliefs to help participants reach a deeper understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ and to grow closer to God.


We hope you didn't miss the following events:


Sister Kathleen Deignan - Multifaceted Retreat Sprituality/Nature/Environment
A Dialogue Between Thomas Merton and Thomas Berry
September 10 - 11, 2010

January 23, 2010, 3 pm
Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois on women's ordination and other issues of women in the church.
Palo Alto Art Center
1313 Newell Rd (At Embarcadero)
Palo Alto, CA
Click on Fr. Bourgeois' image above for a wikipedia biography and more information on his current activities.



Annual Walt Gill Memorial Science and Religion Talk:
Ursula Goodenough Ph.D, Washington University cell biologist and author of the widely regarded book, The Sacred Depths of Nature
Saturday Evening
November 14, 2009
Community School of Music and Art, Tateuchi Hall,
Mountain View, CA



The Apostolic Visitation of U.S. Women Religious: Canaries in the Church’s Mineshaft?

Hear theologian and lawyer, Sister Eloise Rosenblatt, R.S.M speak about Women’s Voices in the Church and the implications of the Vatican-initiated apostolic visitations of American women religious orders. Sister Eloise Rosenblatt presentation is at 3 P.M., on Sunday, September 20th, at the Palo Alto Art Center , 1313 Newell Road , in Palo Alto. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about this hot-button topic and what Catholic lay people might expect following the Vatican summons to women’s congregations. Sister Eloise Rosenblatt has been a professor of Biblical studies and publishes in the areas of Biblical interpretation, women’s studies and law.

Link to NY Times article on the subject
Sister Rosenblatt's Bio.
Eloise Rosenblatt is a Sister of Mercy of Burlingame, California since 1967. She holds a Ph.D. in theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a J.D. from Lincoln Law School in San Jose, California. She has held positions as college administrator, graduate school professor, and university academic in biblical studies. She has published in the areas of New Testament, feminist theology, biblical spirituality and law. For the last fourteen years she has served as editor of The MAST Journal, the publication of the Mercy Association in Scripture and Theology.


Anna Lopez, San Jose City College,
on issues regarding undocumented workers and immigration
Check back for Date, Time and Venue.

2008 Events
Advent Morning of Reflection
Nancy McGaraghan
Sat. Dec 6, 2008
9 AM to 11:30 AM
Our Lady of the Rosary Hall
3233 Cowper
Palo Alto, CA


AA morning of prayer and reflection to celebrate the gifts of the advent season.

Free, but donations for the work of TMCwill be accepted.


Summer/Fall 2008


Bo Caldwell 

Driving at Night: Writing and Faith

TMC Religion and Literature Lecture July 27

Bo Caldwell, author of the national bestseller,The Distant Land of My Father (2001), will speak on Sunday, July 27, at Mitchell Park Community Center, 3800 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, at 4:30 p.m.

Born in 1955 and educated at Stanford where she majored in English with a concentration in creative writing before going on to become a lecturer, Bo Caldwell has written both fiction and non-fiction essays for the Washington Post Magazine, and her short stories have appeared in Story, Ploughshares, Epoch, and other literary journals. The Distant Land of my Father, a story of love, betrayal and reconciliation, is her first novel. Ms. Caldwell is married to (Deacon) Ron Hansen, also a best-selling author, and has written extensively about her conversion to Catholicism.

Admission to the lecture is free; donations are gratefully accepted.



Saturday September 6, 2008

Hidden Villa, Mt View, CA

Kathleen Deignan, CND, PHD
    Mark your calendar for an inspirational retreat conducted by noted theologian and musician Kathleen Deignan. 


Spring 2007

Rosemary Radford Ruether

 Rosemary Radford Ruether


March 18, 2007
4:00 PM
Our Lady of the Rosary Church's meeting hall,
3233 Cowper Street
Palo Alto, CA
Pioneer Christian feminist theologian, to speak on "Healing Ourselves, Healing the Earth: Justice and Third World Women"

Ruether links oppression of women and impoverishment of the earth. She popularized the term "ecofeminism" over a decade ago. "The basic idea behind ecofeminism is that there is some symbolic and social connection with how woman and nature have been treated and how they're often symbolized in a similar way," she has said. "Once you get that idea across, the big question is what you do with it." She will explore this connection, which can be made on both the ideological symbolic level (often the focus of western first-world women) or the socio-economic-political level (addressed by third world women). She argues that western women need to learn from third world women that women's impoverishment is linked to ecological destruction. The awareness of privileged westerners can push forward an agenda of healing that impacts all humans on the planet.

Ruether's interests reach beyond the limits of feminist theology. With wide-ranging scholarship and a penchant for finding the hidden connections among seemingly disparate fields, Ruether has written and edited over thirty books and hundreds of articles and reviews. She is at home in such diverse fields as patristics, the historical and theological roots of anti-Semitism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the history of women in American religion, liberation theology, the mythology of the ancient Near East, and ecology.

Ruether, born in 1936 in St. Paul, Minnesota, attended Scripps College as an undergraduate (1954-58), married political science student Herman Ruether in her senior year, and continued on to earn a Master's and doctoral degree in classics and patristics at Claremont Graduate School (now University) in the early 1960s, finding time to raise three children along the way. The daughter of a Catholic mother and an Episcopalian father, she describes her childhood milieu as religiously ecumenical, humanistic and free-thinking as opposed to parochial or 'ghetto-ized' Catholicism.

Ruether recommends two of her books related to the topic of the March 18 talk: Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing and Integrating Ecofeminism, Globalization, and World Religions (Nature's Meanings). Her book, Sexism and God-Talk, a classic in the field of theology, gave her hall-of-fame-like status among her peers; it remains the only systematic feminist treatment of the Christian symbols to date. Ruether is Professor Emerita at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

"Healing Ourselves, Healing the Earth: Justice and Third World Women" is part of the Thomas Merton Center of Palo Alto's programming of spiritual education for adults. For program information for the general public, contact Kay Williams at 650.328.2781.

We hope you didn't miss Hershel Shanks

 Hershel Shanks, Dead Sea Scrolls Authority, to Speak on "The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls" in Palo Alto, Octber 21

Psalm Scroll

Shanks Broke Secret Control of Scrolls, Bringing Them to Scholars and the Public

Palo Alto, Calif., September 28, 2006 -- Hershel Shanks, who first published the long-time secret Dead Sea Scrolls, will speak on "The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls" on Saturday, October 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lucie Stern Community Center Hall,, 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, California.

The Sea Scrolls are arguably the most important archaeological discovery of modern times. Written between 250 B.C. and 68 A.D., they are the oldest copies of Biblical books in existence. The scrolls' 800 biblical manuscripts contain excerpts from every book of the Hebrew Bible except Esther, and the complete book of Isaiah. They shed light into the turbulent religious era at the time of Jesus, and contain biblical commentaries, previously unknown psalms and manuscripts that foreshadow Christian doctrine.

In a rare West Coast appearance, Shanks will recount the history of the Scrolls' discovery and the decades-long quest to bring them to the public. He will shed light on their role in the development of the Bible. He will also describe the insights that the scrolls bring to what he calls "the remarkably variegated Judaism" of their era, presenting the view the scrolls provide into the development of modern Judaism, as well as a picture of the earliest days of Christianity

First discovered by a Bedouin shepherd at least 60 years ago in Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, the scrolls have consistently been the subject of behind-the-scenes machinations as scholars and Bedouin alike raced to discover more scrolls. For decades, the scrolls remained surrounded by ongoing political and academic intrigue by international scholars determined to keep the scrolls secret and unavailable to the public.

Shanks broke the hold of secrecy in 1991, when he published the first volume of a computer generated reconstruction of some of the unpublished texts, followed by A Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a two-volume folio edition of photographs of the complete unpublished scrolls. The scrolls then became available to the public and scholars alike in a breakthrough the New York Times hailed as having "broken the scroll cartel."

Hershel Shanks is founder and editor of Bible Review and Biblical Archaeology Review, the most widely read and authoritative periodical on the subject. An international authority on Jerusalem and the Dead Sea Scrolls, he has written about biblical archaeology for over 30 years.

"The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, with Hershel Shanks" is part of the Thomas Merton Center's tenth anniversary lecture series. This program is sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center of Palo Alto with additional support from the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford University and Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos.

The Thomas Merton Center of Palo Alto aims to enhance spiritual development through education, spiritual practice and social outreach. The Merton Center sponsors regular Roman Catholic Sunday and other liturgies, adult education programs and community development activities.

For program information for the general public, contact 650.328.2781

Note to editors: Hershel Shanks is available for telephone interviews prior to his appearance in Palo Alto. To arrange an interview or for further information, contact Mary Coady at 650.261.9155.

Winter - Spring 2006

Robert Blair Kaiser, June 4, 2006


Robert Blair Kaiser will speak about his latest book (cover above) on June 4, 2006 at Our Lady of the Rosary Hall, 3233 Cowper, Palo Alto, CA. He will examine important issues facing the church today. Kaiser spent ten years in the Jesuit order before leaving to pursue a career in Journalism. He was a religion reporter for the New York Times, Time Magazine, and CBS, and is now a contributing editor in Rome for Newsweek.

For more on the book and an extensive biographical sketch of Mr. Kaiser visit the website






  2006 Events

May 6 - Rev. Richard P. McBrien

Notre Dame Theologian
Catholicism in 2006 and Beyond: The Role of the Laity in the Present Church
At 7:30 p.m.
Mitchell Park Community Hall
3800 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. CA
Suggested Donation $30: (No one turned away)

 Carl Ray

    Documentary Film
    Saturday, February 25, 2006
    Haymarket Theater
    Palo Alto High School
    Embarcadero at El Camino, Palo Alto, CA
    Free Admission
    One Man Two Act Play
    Saturday, March 4, 2006, 7:30 PM
    Cubberly Theater
    4000 Middlefield Road
    Palo Alto, CA
    $30 at the door
    Benefit Performance
    There will be a Q&A session after each performance
Click here for the Carl Ray official website.


"A Killing In Choctaw" is a one-man two-act play, written and performed by Carl Ray. The play is about Carl's life growing up in Alabama. In 1962, Carl's Father was murdered because Carl responded to questions from a white man by saying "yes" and "no" instead of "yes sir" and "no sir." The Play deals with the years following the tragedy of Carl's father's murder and how Carl came to terms with it by forgiving the murderer. An act Carl says saved his life. A Poignant testimony to the redemptive and healing power of forgiveness

The Play on March 4 is a benefit performance for the work of Fr. Daniel Kiriti who operates the Mij Wa Neema (Village of Mercy) orphanage in Navaisha Kenya and for Carl's work with college bound African American youth.

Sponsored by The Thomas Merton Center of Palo Alto



Day of Recollection
Advent Day of Recollection -
With Rev.Tim Meier, S. J.
December 3, 2005
12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM
St. Marks Episcopal Church Hall and Chapel
600 Colrorado Ave,
Palo Alto, CA.

Please join us for an afternoon of recollection, calling on the spirit of Advent, with Rev Meier's reflection entitled "What Are We Waiting For?" Light refreshments (not lunch) will be provided. Admission is free. Donations will be accepted.

We hope you didn't Miss

Darwinism Vs. Evolution:
The Intersection of Science Religion and Politics

A talk by Peter C. Reynolds


Dr. Reynolds received his PhD in anthropology from Yale University. In the 1980’s, he did participant observation in the computer industry in Silicon Valley, a project that culminated in a book on contemporary technocratic culture: Stealing Fire, published by Iconic Anthropology Press.

Published in 1980, his first book, on the Evolution of Human Behavior, explored the relationship between human ethology and social science and was published by the University of California Press.

Dr. Reynolds is curently working on a book on the cognitive transition from apes to humans.

August 28, 2005, 7:30 P.M., St. Albert the Great Hospitality Center
1095 Channing Ave.
Palo Alto, CA


Second Event of Religion and Literature Series

Spirituality In Contemporary Short Fiction

Fr. Tenny Wright, S.J., will lead a discussion on the short fiction of three contemporary masters - Andre Dubus (of House of Sand and Fog and We Don't Live Here Anymore fame) Flannery O'Conner and Tobias Wolff. Fr. Wright has suggested one story by each of these writers, which we'll read prior to the program. He will guide us in a discussion of their work and links to spirituality.

Fr. Wright teaches the courses "Literature and Theology," Religious Imagination," "The Catholic Novel" and "Catholic Themes in Literature," at Santa Clara University.

May 7, 2005, 7:30 pm - First Luthern Church, 600 Homer Ave. Palo Alto, CA.
MAP to First Lutheran
Buy the referenced books online at Keplers and TMC will receive 5% of the sale. Please click on the links below to make the purchase. NOTE: Buying online outside of this site will not credit TMC with the purchase:
Andre Dubus - Selected Stories
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories
In the Garden of the North American Martyrs
If you buy over the counter at Keplers, mention that you support the Thomas Merton Center and TMC will also receive 5% of the price.
Directions to Keplers in Menlo Park, CA.
Kepler's Bookstore
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025


  Is there salvation within the Church?

A Seminar Presented by Drs Tom Sheehan and John Van Hagen
Saturday, April 9, 2005, at 10:00 a.m.
Building 200, Room 200-002
History Corner, Main Quad, Stanford University

 Drs Sheehan and Van Hagen examines the questions, "What purpose does the Church serve today?" and "Who defines what it means to be Catholic?" in an interactive program. They will explore current studies that document the gap between official church teaching and the "lived Church" of contemporary Catholics. We'll hear young adults in a first hand discussion of their spiritual views as Tom Sheehan moderates a question and answer session with a panel of Stanford University students. Also scheduled are break-out sessions for small group discussion.

Dr. Tom Sheehan teaches at Stanford University in the Department of Religious Studies and is the author of The First Coming, a widely acclaimed and controversial account of Easter. In his academic life, Sheehan has focused on the philosophy of religion, 20th-century European philosophy, and classical metaphysics.

Dr. John Van Hagen is a psychologist in San Francisco who is also a consultant to the San Francisco Archdiocesan Tribunal and to St. Patrick's Seminary. For the past eight years, Dr. Van Hagen has had an ongoing dialogue with Tom Sheehan regarding the recent research on the historical Jesus and its implications for a believing community.

Park in the Stanford University Oval at the end of University Avenue, or nearby. Walk toward the Quad. History corner is the building on the left outside corner of the Quad to the left of the oval. Room 200-002 is downstairs, accessible by elevator or stairs.

First Event of Religion and Literature Series


Fr. James Torrens S.J., talking about his book, Uphill Running: a Jesuit Life, a collection of his poetry. Fr.Torrens is a prolific writer, literary critic, and former editor of the catholic weekly magazine America.

March 12, 2005, 7:30 P.M., St. Marks Episcopal Church
600 Colorado St.
Palo Alto, CA






    An exhibit of Karen Ande's stunning photographs of some of Africa's children who have been affected by an unfolding tragedy. Karen's work speaks not of hopelessness and despair but of cultural richness and great beauty .
December 5, 2004
Reception 2-4 PM
Saint Marks Episcopal Church Hall
600 Colorado St., Palo Alto, CA.


Sponsored by The Thomas Merton Center of Palo Alto, and the FireLight Foundation (

A special thanks goes to the staff and congregation of St. Marks Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, for hosting the exhibit.

Father Michael Buckley, S.J.

Fr. Buckley is Professor of Theology, and former director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College
Saturday May 22, 2004
Our Lady of the Rosary Hall
3233 Cowper st.
Palo Alto, CA
Click the Yahoo icon below for an online map.

Atheism and Contemplation. The Illusions and Validity of Religious Experience."

Fr. Buckley's book--"At the Origins of Modern Atheism" investigates the rise of modern atheism, arguing convincingly that its roots reach back to the seventeenth century, when Catholic theologians began to call upon philosophy and science - rather than any intrinsically religious experience - to defend the existence of God. One reviewer called it "A work of great lucidity, significance, and historical understanding."

The Aids Orphans of Kenya.
A presentation by Journalist Ruthann Richter and Photographer Karen Ande.


Sunday May 16, 2004, 2:00 p.m.
St Marks Church,
600 Colorado Ave
Palo Alto, CA

In Kenya, where an estimated 30% of the population is HIV positive, children whose parents have died of AIDS have become outcasts. Fr. Daniel Kiriti, long time friend of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and the Thomas Merton Center, offers a lifeline to these children, supporting them and their education through an orphanage and school in his parish in Naivasha, Kenya.

Karen Ande and Ruthann Richter visited Kenya and Father Kiriti recently. In words and pictures, they will tell the stories of these children and of the extraodinary work of people like Father Kiriti.

Don't miss this gripping report on the children of AIDS, and of the work of of a few outstanding community projects in Kenya.


In 2004 We presented

Fr. George Coyne S. J.

Fr. Coyne is the distinguished Director of the Vatican Observatory, with locations at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and Castel Gandolfo near Rome.
He will speak on the best scientific understanding of how the vast variety of objects in the universe came to be, and, from the simplest (quarks and protons) to the most complex (the human brain), whether they are all related to one another.
  The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Chance and Destiny Embrace

Walter Gill Lecture on Science and Religion.

Saturday, April 24, 2004, 7:30 p.m.
Our Lady of the Rosary
Hospitality Center
3233 Cowper St.
Palo Alto, CA.
Admission is Free and Open to All
To read more about Fr. Coyne
Click here.



Dr. Thomas Sheehan

Tom Sheehan teaches at Stanford University in the Dept. of Religious Studies. In his academic life, Sheehan has focused on the philosophy of religion, 20th-century European philosophy, and classical metaphysics.

Dr. John Van Hagen is a psychologist in San Francisco who is also a consultant to the San Francisco Archdiocesan Tribunal and to St. Patrick's Seminary. For the past eight years, Dr. Van Hagen has had an ongoing dialogue with Tom Sheehan regarding the recent research on the historical Jesus and its implications for a believing community.

Call for registration information

Mary Coady (650) 261 - 9155
Jim Davis (650) 704 - 8002
Kay Williams (650) 328 - 2781

Christianity in Crisis with Dr. Thomas Sheehan and Dr. John Van Hagen.

March 1, 15, and 29, 2004

A series of three seminars.

7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Venue Change!

The event will not be held at St Patrick's Seminary. Instead It will be held at:

Our Lady of the Rosary Hall
3233 Cowper st.
Palo Alto, CA
Click on Yahoo icon below for an online map.
($25:00 Fee required for one, two, or three seminars)

Part 1: March 1, 2004

Fear and Faith, Presented by Dr. Sheehan. What is faith? how does it differ from historical and empirical Knowledge? Dr. Sheehan will look at cognitive dissonance as a tool to analyze scriptural scholarship and its challenge to us.

Dr. Van Hagen speaks will examine the Topic, Almighty God as Promise of Salvation.

Part 2: March 15, 2004

Dr. Sheehan looks at Facts and Fictions and tackles the questions, "Was Jesus God and did he die for our sins?"

Dr. Van Hagen Considers " Jesus and the announcement of salvation."

Part 3: March 29, 2004

In the final Program, Finding a Future, Dr. Sheehan examines the question "Can we save Christianity from itself?"

Dr. Van Hagen speaks to "The holy Spirit as the preserver of of salvation."


Sarah Melici as Dorothy Day

Fool for Christ packs a rich and complicated life into a relatively small span of theater time, giving attention to Day's loves spirituality and politics. She was one of the most influential figures in American Catholicism.

Fool for Christ

A one woman play on the life, loves, and passions of social activist, writer, and cofounder of The Catholic Worker Newspaper and the Catholic Worker Movement.

Friday, February 20, 2004, 7:30 p.m.
St Marks Church, Colorado Ave, Palo Alto, CA





      Sunday, January 11, 2004, 4:00 p.m.
      St. Elizabeth Seton School Auditorium
      1095 Channing Ave.
      Palo Alto, CA.
Photo Credit: Scott Braley


Anne Lamott writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus. But armed with self-effacing humor - she is laugh-out-loud funny - and ruthless honesty, Lamott converts her subjects into enchantment. Actually, she writes and speaks about what most of us don't like to think about. In her novels, Anne Lamott writes about loss - loss of loved ones and loss of personal control. She doesn't try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and dissappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. Anne Lamott says, " I have a lot of hope and a lot of faith and I struggle to communicate that." She does communicate her faith; in her books and in person all the while keeping us laughing.

A bestselling author Anne Lamott is a past recipient of a Guggenhiem Fellowship, and she has taught at UC Davis, as well as at writing conferences across the U.S.

Anne Lamott's appearance is a fundraiser for St. Elizabeth Seton School.

Admission is $25:00

Anne Lamott's novels and works of non-fiction are available at 

Traveling Mercies

In 2003 We Presented

Sister Jane Kelly, P.B.V.M.

Sister Kelly is the author of Taught to Believe the Unbelievable - A New Vision of Hope for the Catholic Church and Society. (Writers Club Press)
Her courageous, selfless, and tenacious actions to correct the egregious ills that had beset her home diocese of Santa Rosa, California in 1999, have been a beacon of hope to many who long to see the church more open, inclusive, and truer to its spiritual foundation.
Sr. Kelly's vision goes beyond the church itself, encompassing thoughts on its relationship to society at large.

Buy the book at

December 13, 2003
7:30 pm
St Albert the Great Hospitality Room
1095 Channing Ave.
Palo Alto, California

 A nun for 50 years, Sister Kelly will share her journey from mindless obedience (she rejected this notion early in her vocation) to social activism.

Fr. Tim Meier, S.J.

Fr. Meier is a research associate in the department of biological sciences at Stanford University. He has agreed to continue his reflections on the topic of stem cell research and how people of faith can evaluate and respond to this important scientific issue. Fr. Tim will present a brief overview of stem cell research (as he presented it on September 12), and there will be an expanded question and answer period.

The Biology of Stem Cells and the Challenge of a Response in Faith: Part II

Friday, Novenber 14, 2003, 7:30 p.m.
St. Albert the Great Hospitality Room
1095 Channing
Palo Alto, CA.

Bro. Guy Consolmagno S. J.

Brother Guy is an astronomer, lecturer and research scientist who is curator of one of the worlds largest meteorite collections. He is the Author of several books including - Brother Astronomer:Adventures of a Vatican Scientist - and a popular telescope guide entitled Turn Left at Orion.
  Heaven or Heat Death? Scientific and Religious Views of the End of the Universe.

Walter Gill Lecture on Science and Religion.

Saturday, April 5, 2003, 7:30 p.m.
St Ann Chapel,
541 Melville St.
Palo Alto, CA.
To read more about Bro. Guy,
Click here.


Women's Ordination:
A Discussion with Dr. Ida Raming
Dr. Raming, a noted Catholic theologian and women's ordination pioneer _ one of the seven women ordained in Austria in June, 2002 - will share her experience of ordination, excommunication, and the future of women's ministry.
April 13, 2003
7:30 p.m.
St. Ann Chapel
541 Melville Ave. (at Tasso Street)
Palo Alto, CA
Dr Raming's visit is part of a national tour.
For information on other venues, visit the tour Web site by clicking Here


Raming's ground breaking 1969 doctoral study of the long history of discrimination against women from early Christian writings and the Middle Ages, demonstrated that the church's exclusion of women from the priesthood was based upon the concept of the essential and ethical inferiority of women. Published first in German, then in English in 1976 as The Exclusion of women from the Priesthood: Divine Law or Sex Discrimination?, her book was influential and soon will be republished in an updated edition edited by Dr. Bernard Cooke and Dr.Gary Macy for Scarecrow Press, as the second volume of a series on the history of women's ordination.



 Everyday Heroes: Life on the Road to Social Justice

A Presentation by Human Concerns Activists.
Sponsored Jointly with the Human Concerns Committee of The St. Thomas Aquinas Parish,
Palo Alto, CA
February 22, 2003
10 am - 12 noon
Our Lady of the Rosary Church Community Hall
3233 Cowper St., Palo Alto, CA.
Participants took home concrete ideas on the many ways to help bring social justice to our world.


Human concerns activists and volunteer advocates for the needy and dispossessed shared their ministries and stories of how their involvement has changed their lives.

Left to Right:
George Chippendale, Larry Purcell, Mercedes McCaffrey, Don Jensen, and Scott Wages.

Ministries represented included: St. Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Worker House of Redwood City, CA., Friends Outside, Urban Ministry of Palo Alto, and Community Homeless Alliance Ministry (CHAM)

In 2002 We Presented


Bud Welch in 1998

  From Rage to Reconciliation

Saturday, October 12, 2002, at 8:00 p.m.
St. Ann Chapel, 541 Melville Avenue at Tasso Street, Palo Alto
A presentation by Bud Welch, father of a victim in the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building.
Co-sponsored by, Amnesty International, California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty and The Thomas Merton Center of Palo Alto

 Bud Welch's daughter, Julie Marie, was killed at the age of 23 when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building in April, 1995. Julie Marie was Bud's only daughter, a devout Catholic, recent graduate of Marquette University, interested in social justice and helping people. He and she had discussed the death penalty and agreed that it is wrong. But when she died, Bud's rage caused him to wish that he could kill Timothy McVeigh himself.

Through months of prayer and tears, Bud worked his way back to his faith-based position that capital punishment is wrong. He started to speak out against the death penalty. Eventually he met with Timothy McVeigh's father, a very private man, and Tim's sister. The three of them have maintained a close relationship.

He has testified before the U.S. Congress, many State Senate and House Judiciary Committees, and has made numerous radio and TV appearances. He is a member of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation and serves on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation.

Bud Welch is a simple man moved to do important things because of personal tragedy and the grace of God. He is just a regular guy who was raised on a farm, runs a gas station, and loved his daughter.

Free will offerings will support Bud's week of speaking engagements at local high schools.
For more information: contact (408) 257-4611 or

  Pentecost in Asia: A Vision to Mend a Broken Church

October 25, 2002, 7:30 p.m.

St. Ann Chapel, 541 Melville Avenue at Tasso Street, Palo Alto.

National Catholic Reporter (NCR) magazine publisher Tom Fox will present a vision of one way the Catholic Church has developed, a hopeful model for all, especially as we deal with the depredations of clergy sexual abuse and episcopal coverups. Fox has just published Pentecost in Asia: A New Way of Being Church; He will share an exciting view of the vitality of Catholicism when it develops in harmony with a particular culture.


Tom Fox