State and Union: Meditation center to host Franciscan friar – Olean Times Herald

Continuing its path leading attendees to mental, spiritual and physical health, the Olean Meditation Center will soon offer the next in a series of themed presentations.

The next, titled “Contemplative Prayer: The Experience of a Franciscan Friar,” will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the center, 2275 Dugan Road, Olean. Franciscan Br. Joe Kotula will lead the talk.

“The tradition of contemplative prayer goes back to the early Christian communities, most notably to the Desert Fathers, and has been carried on in monastic practice over the centuries,” says Dr. Richard Reilly, president of the Olean Meditation Center.

The influence of Thomas Merton — a Trappist monk whose career writings, including while at St. Bonaventure University, earned international acclaim — has boosted the contemplative prayer tradition the last 50 years, Reilly says. He also credits many other faith practitioners. The tradition has become more accessible to laypeople.

“Br. Joe, a friar in residence at Mt. Irenaeus since 1989, has had a profound influence on generations of Bonaventure students,” Reilly says. “Br. Joe shares St. Francis’ love of nature and has a particular passion for hiking. Our community is very fortunate to have this opportunity to become acquainted with contemplative prayer through the lived experience of a Franciscan practitioner.”

The event will be free and open to the public, although donations will be gratefully accepted. Refreshments will be available.

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Remaining programs in OMC’s free Tuesday evening series include:

  • April 4 — Donna Mattucci on “Why Meditate?”
  • April 15 — Dr. Adil Al-Humadi on “The Holy City of Najaf”; and
  • May 23 — Richard Gardner on “The Magic Harp Rises.”

Olean Meditation Center events span topics pertinent to a broad range of religions. Most recently, the center hosted an interfaith forum titled “Compassion: When a Stranger Knocks on Your Door.”

The panel discussion, including speakers from various area houses of worship and religious organizations — from Christianity to Islam to Hinduism — addressing “The Golden Rule” treat others as you would like to be treated.

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