Graymoor friars re-elect Puglisi as leader

The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement have re-elected Father James Puglisi to a second term as minister general. The boss.

Puglisi has been based in Rome since 1973, serving at the Centro Pro Unione, the friars’ ecumenical research center there. He’s been director since 1991.

He was first elected as minister general in 2004, becoming the first friar to oversee the community’s worldwide ministries from outside New York state. The friars are, of course, based on Graymoor mountain in Garrison.

Since one of the friars’ main objectives is to promote Christian unity, it made sense to have a leader who focuses on this most difficult, but important, subject all the time.

Puglisi, 62, is from Amsterdam, N.Y., northwest of Albany.

The friars have been planning a major renovation of their Graymoor headquarters — including a new residence for the friars, who live in old dormitories that were not meant for long-term living.

But planning has slowed because of the economy.

Anyway, here is Puglisi (in the middle) and his General Counsel (left to right): Brother Kevin Goss, Father Elias D. Mallon, Father Timothy MacDonald,  and Father Paul Ojibway.

Tomorrow night: How to improve interfaith relations

A reminder: The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement at Graymoor will host a forum tomorrow evening (Thursday, May 7) on enhancing interreligious cooperation in the Lower Hudson Valley.

The 7:30 program is to mark the start of the pope’s trip Friday to the Holy Land.

I’ll be the moderator, so come on out.

The panelists will be: the Rev. Anthony Falsarella of the St. Basil Academy in Garrison; the Rev. James Gardiner of the Graymoor friars; Dr. Mahjabeen Hassan of the Westchester-based American Muslim Women’s Association; the Rev. Adolphus C. Lacey, pastor of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Peekskill; and Rabbi Lee S. Paskind of First Hebrew Congregation of Peekskill.

Graymoor is located in Garrison on Route 9, not far north of the Westchester-Putnam border. Once you drive in, follow signs for the Spiritual Life Center.

On the eve of pope’s trip, an interreligious forum at Graymoor

Next Thursday evening (April 30), on the eve of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the Holy Land, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in Garrison will host a forum on the always interesting and complicated subject of interreligious relations.

It’s at 7:30 p.m. Open to all.

Every step the pope takes and every word he says will be immediately scrutinized by Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims and others. For reasons obvious and not-to-obvious.

Talk about interreligious relations.

The friars are committed to promoting ecumenism and interrreligious understanding, so this is a good opportunity to explore where things stand in the Lower Hudson Valley.

Participants will include:

Father James Gardiner of the friars;

Father Anthony Falsarella of St. Basil Academy in Garrison, a Greek Orthodox residence for children in need;

Dr. Mahjabeen Hassan of the Westchester-based American Muslim Women’s Association;

The Rev. Adolphus Lacey, pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Peekskill and president of the Peekskill Area Pastors Association;

And Rabbi Lee Paskind of First Hebrew Congregation in Peekskill.

The moderator will be me.

For information, call 845-424-2111. Graymoor is located on Route 9, just over the Westchester/Putnam border.

The program will be at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. Follow the signs to the top of the hill. (NOTE: They always have real good cookies.)

By the way, I talked about my life as a religion reporter on Sunday at Maryknoll, and I thought things went quite well.

We had a nice audience for a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon in APRIL.

Everyone at Maryknoll was very nice and accomodating and I got to answer a lot of thoughtful questions. My thanks to everyone who asked them.

One-woman play on Dorothy Day

Interest in Dorothy Day only seems to increase.

I’m always hearing about lectures and writings about her life and influence. Even Cardinal Egan often mentions her as being among Catholic role models when he speaks in churches.

It’s understandable. What a story she was. A newspaper reporter who became an anarchist before focusing on social justice and becoming a Roman Catholic.

There’s something for everyone in her bio.

On Sunday (Jan. 11) at 6:30 p.m. at Graymoor, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement will present a one-woman play, “Fool for Christ, the Story of Dorothy Day.” Sarah Melici, a New Jersey-based actress, will play Day.

According to Graymoor: “Written by Donald Yonker, “Fool for Christ” opens with Day, at the age of 75, looking back at her life while in jail after having been arrested for picketing with César Chávez and the California grape growers. Melici portrays Day at various ages and also takes on the roles of other important people in her life.”

Open to the public. A $5 donation is requested. Graymoor is on Route 9, just north of the Westchester/Putnam border.

I’m talking about Christian-Muslim relations at Graymoor tomorrow

It’s been about a month since I went to Yale to cover a major gathering of Christian-Muslim leaders from around the world.

The conference was a response to “A Common Word Between Us and You,” a open letter released last year to Christian leaders from 138 Muslim leaders and scholars. The letter called for a new era of understanding between the two great faiths — focusing on their shared belief in one God and their common commitments to love God and love thy neighbor.

Tomorrow — Thursday, Sept. 4 — I’ll share my impressions of the conference (and what may happen next) at Graymoor, home of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement.

I’ll speak at 7:30 p.m. in the Pope John XXIII Parlor on the 5th floor of the friars’ main building. Directions are here.

I’ll share a bit about my recent correspondence with the chief justice of the Palestinian Territories, who had some qualms with what I wrote about the conference. I’ll blog about it, too, one day soon…