On June 1, 2012 a group of students from Global Ministries University and San Jose City College gathered with students and faculty from several colleges and universities in the San Jose area to discuss the topic of mysticism from several points of view. The seminar included presentations on the psychology of mysticism within the thought of Carl Jung, the philosophical aspects of mystical experience first developed in the writings of William James such as found in The Varieties of Religious Experience, and discussion of the mystical traditions of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.
We hope to develop similar seminars in the future which will allow online participation. If you are interested in participation in such seminars please contact us at Global Ministries University with your contact information.
This live URL link will take you to the (Unedited) Audio recording of this seminar. The file must be downloaded before it can be played. File (MP3) size is 116MBs - run time is 1Hr 20 Min.
Maryknoll Embraces Dialogue with Muslims in Bay Area - February 17-19, 2012
At a weekend retreat in their Western Regional Mission Center in San Lorenzo, CA, the Maryknoll staff led by Deacon Matt Dulka and Kris East, welcomed a group of Catholics and Muslims for a prayerful dialogue based upon a common reading of the Orbis book, In the Spirit of St. Francis and the Sultan: Catholics and Muslims Working Together for the Common Good. One of the unique spiritual texts presented to the Catholic participants by the Muslims was the classical book of Muslim prayer called the Supplication of the Prophet Mohammad, Al-Jawshan al-Kabir, which focuses on the names and attributes of God/Allah and is often used by Muslims as part of their daily prayer.
This gathering took place over the weekend of February 17 to 19 and included opportunities for participants to experience each other’s forms of prayer and worship, sharing of common meals, dialogue about common themes and symbols found in the Bible, Qur’an and other sources of spiritual growth in each tradition. Some of the common symbols discussed included the sharing of food, light, water and faith as a spiritual journey or path to God/Allah.
The Muslim participants came from members of the Pacifica Institute in Sunnyvale, CA, a Turkish cultural center which is affiliated with the Gulen or Hizmet Movement founded by the Imam and theologian, Fethullah Gulen. The Catholic participants included two Catholic deacons, a Holy Family sister, Maryknoll Affiliates and Maryknoll staff at the Center. The Hizmet Movement emphasizes interfaith dialogue and service and it exists now in over 100 countries of the world. The centerpiece of the retreat became the times of sharing each other’s spiritual journey through joint prayer sessions, partaking of common meals prepared by members of the Pacifica Institute and discussion of Muslim and Christian efforts to serve humanity through education, promotion of social justice throughout the world and opportunities to reach out to those who are less fortunate in service projects such as those sponsored by Maryknoll and the Hizmet Movement in Africa and Asia. The retreatants also reflected on the movie, Of Gods and Men, which featured the life of a monastic community living within a largely Muslim population in Algeria.
The retreat concluded with the participants taking part in Mass at the parish, where the Western Region Mission Center is located, St. John the Baptist Church in San Lorenzo, CA. The pastor of the church, Father Michael Lacey, introduced the participants in the retreat to his congregation and drew upon the common Abrahamic roots of the Christian and Muslim faith communities. The participants felt that the experience brought them together into a common spiritual community that could plant the seeds for a future of peace and justice in the world. Everyone who participated in the retreat felt that it was a first step in a long journey together that will have historical and spiritual significance for both faith communities and for the world. One of the participants even stated that he was leaving the retreat with the feeling that we were of “one heart” through this spiritual experience.
Gerald Grudzen, PhD
Global Ministries University was a cosponsor of the Common Bond Institute’s Sixth International Conference at Santa Clara University, entitled Engaging the Other: The Power of Compassion. Following is a summary of the conference: Engaging the Other Conference December 1-4, 2011 Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA
Unexpected events unfolding in the Middle East and the US (Arab Spring and Occupy Movement) were a main focus for the Engaging the Other Conference at Santa Clara University jointly sponsored by the Common Bond Institute, Pacifica Institute, Global Ministries University and Santa Clara University.
Featured speakers included Doctor Huston Smith, world renowned author on comparative religion, Doctor Mohammad Qayoumi, President of San Jose State University, Jim Harrington, Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project and authority on international human rights issues and Marita Grudzen, Deputy Director of the Stanford University Geriatric Education Center which specializes in the needs of immigrant elders and their families. The opening event of the conference took place at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church in downtown San Jose and the remainder of the conference occurred at Benson Memorial Center of Santa Clara University. The conference featured interactive panels with students from San Jose City College and San Jose State University who participated in the Soliya course, a dialogue program with students from the Middle East and Europe. Other panels featured student leaders from Jordan who discussed efforts underway in the Middle East to develop a culture of understanding and dialogue uniting students from the monotheistic faith traditions.
Doctor Huston Smith’s address stressed the need for compassion and understanding among the diverse religions and cultures of the world. Doctor Smith has been a pioneer in the development of interfaith understanding and his writings are among the most read of any author on the subject of comparative religious studies and interfaith dialogue. Now well into his nineties, Doctor Smith still continues to write and speak about the issues facing humanity today and the role that faith traditions can play in resolving the various clashes that separate human beings from one another.
Doctor Qayoumi’s talk on the Arab Spring stressed the very positive steps that the people of the Middle East are taking to claim their basic human rights and the encouraging signs toward more democratic and just civil and governmental structures that are underway in the Middle East.
Jim Harrington’s talk discussed the growing challenges we face in the United States to preserve and expand civil rights, particularly for immigrant groups and those traditionally excluded from the centers of power and influence. Harrington has also worked internationally to promote human rights and religious and cultural freedom.
Marita Grudzen discussed the need for outreach to immigrant elders who reside now in great numbers in the Bay Area but often lack the social and linguistic skills to connect to the services they need in healthcare, transportation and linguistic and cultural literacy.
The conference featured a number of interactive tools to highlight areas of consensus and agreement on the issues that were discussed in the conference. One of the highlights of the conference was the extensive use of Skype to connect participants in Egypt with the conference participants at several points during the conference. Further summaries of the major conference presentations will be available at the Common Bond Institute’s web site and that of Global Ministries University.
GMU Dean, Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan, Among First Roman Catholic Women Priests to be Ordained in U.S. - April 19, 2009
Global Ministries University Dean of the Doctor of Ministry program, Bridget Mary Meehan, D.Min., was one of four Roman Catholic Women Priests ordained a bishop on April 19, 2009. This was the first ordination of women bishops in the United States. GMU provides seminary training and theological degrees for many of the Roman Catholic Women Priests and two of our students are also bishops: Andrea Johnson was ordained on April 19 and Dana Reynolds was ordained a bishop last year in Germany. The other two ordinands were Joan Houk and Maria Regina Nicolosi.
GMU President, Dr. Gerald Grudzen, attended the ceremony with his wife, Marita. Dean of Continuing Education, Michael Conley, and Vice-President for Operations and Development, Jean Conley, were also in attendance.
Following is an article about the ordination:
FOUR CATHOLIC WOMEN BISHOPS ORDAINED IN CALIFORNIA by Marjorie Reiley Maguire * ________________________________________________________________
On Divine Mercy Sunday, God granted the constant prayer of the Church for vocations, in a way that will bring a great harvest of priests to the Church in America. For the first time in the United States, four women were ordained as Roman Catholic bishops. The ordination took place on April 19, 2009 in a Catholic chapel in California, before about 100 people. The four new women bishops are part of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement (RCWP). They were called to be ordained bishop by the women priests in their respective regions. The ordinands are Bishops Joan Mary Clark Houk of Pittsburgh for the Great Waters (central) Region, Andrea Michel e Johnson of Annapolis for the eastern region, Bridget Mary Meehan of Virginia and Sarasota for the southern region, and Maria Regina Nicolosi of Red Wing, Minnesota for the upper midwest region. A fifth woman, Dana Reynolds of California, was previously ordained a Catholic bishop for the western region, in 2008 in Europe. Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan is a member of the Sisters for Christian Community. The other new women bishops have been married for more than forty years and have adult children. Bishop Regina Nicolosi's husband, Charles, is a retired, permanent deacon for the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. All four women have degrees in Catholic theology and extensive pastoral experience. There were three ordaining bishops, which is a requirement for the ordination of a bishop. Bishop Patricia Fresen, now living in Germany, was a Dominican sister for forty years in South Africa and taught in the Catholic seminary in Pretoria. Bishop Ida Raming is a German theologian. Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger from Austria was one of the founders of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement. She and Bishop Ida Raming were two of the first seven women priests, ordained on a boat on the Danube in 2002. Two other women who were ordained priests with the Danube 7 were also in attendance at the California ordination of bishops, Iris Müller from Germany and Dagmar Celeste, the former first lady of Ohio. The ordaining bishops, along with several other European women, received their own ordinations as20bishops, in full apostolic succession, from three unnamed male, Roman Catholic bishops who are in full communion with Rome. The male bishops believed that the time has come for women's ordination. They ordained several women bishops in recent years so that the movement could continue with full Catholic sacramental ordinations but without the clandestine participation of the male bishops. A history of the RCWP movement and personal stories by the ordained women can be found in the book Women Find a Way, edited by Elsie Hainz McGrath, Bridget Mary Meehan, and Ida Raming.
The Vatican has not recognized the ordinations of the priests and bishops in the RCWP movement. In the language of Catholic theology, these ordinations are valid but illicit. However, the women priests and bishops consider themselves in full communion with Rome. They follow the ordination rite of the Catholic Church and believe they pass on the apostolic succession that has been given to them, in the same manner as it is passed on to male priests and bishops in the Church. In Catholic theology, apostolic succession is passed on by the intentional ordaining laying on of hands by an ordained bishop. The first ordinations in North America for RCWP were in 2005, when four women were ordained priests on a boat on the St. Lawrence River. There are presently more than 70 ordained priests, deacons, and candidates in the RCWP movement in North America. A spokesperson for RCWP claimed that the new bishops were needed because20numerous women who are already qualified for ordination are applying as candidates.
Spirituality and Science Conference 2008 Dhaka, Bangledesh - January 7-8, 2008
This conference took place January 7-8, 2008 and was organized by the Bangladesh Center for the Study of Spirituality and Science (BCSSS)
Theme: "Spirituality and Science: Exploring the Philosophical, Theological and Scientific Dimensions of Reason, Revelation and Science"
The conference consisted of national & international forums to present papers and provided an opportunity to meet and network with professional scholars in a friendly environment at Dhaka.
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE by Gerald Grudzen, Ph.D. Global Ministries University President
Father William McIntire, MM, a Spiritual Father for Bangladesh, did not expect to be embraced by a group of Muslim scholars at the First International Conference on Science and Spirituality held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on January 7th and 8th. He told me before the conference that he wanted to play a minor role in it. . But, by the end of the conference, Father McIntire was embraced by the conference chairman, Professor Anisuzzaman of Dhaka University, as the "Father of the Conference." Father McIntire’s ability to express a deep spiritual and human solidarity came shining through in his presentations to the Conference. As a disciple and close associate of Mother Theresa, he expressed a deep sense of humility and all-embracing love through his prayerful presence and presentations to over 90 conference participants, most of whom were from the Muslim faith. He was able to communicate his message in both English and the national language of Bengali.
This first ever meeting of Muslim scholars from Bangladesh and Turkey with a small group of Christian representatives and one Buddhist scholar from Thailand’s Mahidol University led to a final statement entitled the Dhaka Declaration. The Declaration calls for the establishment of a World Council on Science and Spirituality with a second international meeting scheduled for Istanbul, Turkey later in 2008. Representatives at the conference from the Turkish Women’s Cultural Association led by Cemelnur Sargut, a noted Sufi spiritual leader, agreed to assume responsibility for conference planning.
This conference also coincided with the establishment of the Bangladesh Center for the Study of Science and Spirituality (BCSSS) of which Father McIntire is a founding member. The Center director, Doctor AKM Shamsur Rahman, stated that the purpose of the Center is to "reduce the distance between the worlds of science and spirituality and show that they are complementary and not contradictory." One of the retired (Chief) Justices of the Bangladesh legal system (Supreme Court), Honorable Mohammad Abdur Rouf, spoke of a need to explore a common human spirituality that is rooted in every race, culture and religious tradition. Doctor Kemal Aydin, MD, Senior Health Minister for the Government of Turkey expressed his desire to develop a philosophy of health and human services based upon the core principles of the monotheistic faith traditions. Other speakers explored topics on Islamic law, politics and morality as they relate to science and spirituality.
Another conference presenter, Doctor Eugene McCarthy, World Bank consultant and friend of Father McIntire for the past 30 years, expressed his support for the conference goals and its importance for the future of developing nations. Doctor McCarthy has worked directly with the highest ranking official in Bangladesh’s interim government, Doctor Fakhruddin Ahmed, and oversaw several development projects that affected Bangladesh while working with the World Bank. Bangladesh has a population of approximately 140 million with approximately 85% of the population living well below the poverty line. Over 90% of the population is Muslim. Hindus and Christians make up the rest of the population.
Bangladesh is struggling to emerge from a history of internal discord and frequent natural disasters since it achieved independence over 40 years ago.
One of the major themes of the conference was the relationship of health and healing to the monotheistic faith traditions and Buddhism. Doctor Rahman, principal conference organizer, and Doctor Gerald Grudzen, a classmate of Father McIntire, have written a book about the historic traditions of health and healing within the monotheistic faith traditions entitled,
Spirituality and Science: Greek, Judaeo-Christian and Islamic Perspectives
(Author House, 2007).
Father McIntire spoke of a new partnership between Christians and Muslims that can help to dispel the myth that religious belief is opposed to science. Recent best selling books have exploited the presumed opposition between religion and science. Historically, science and religion coexisted within a common philosophical and cosmological worldview during the first four centuries of Islam’s development in the Middle East and Spain. Jewish, Christian and Islamic scholars played a key role in the development of the medical sciences during this period along with many other scientific developments in other fields as well such as chemistry and pharmacology.
Over the past 27 years Father McIntire has formed close bonds with Muslim, Hindu and Christian families. He is the secretary to the Bishop of Mymensingh, Bishop Ponen Paul Kobi but he has had the ability to reach out beyond the small Christian community in Bangladesh. It has enabled him to be recognized as Father to many families that we visited after the conclusion of the conference. These included Muslim and Hindu families that recognize him as their spiritual father just as the Conference did. The Conference speakers helped us to explore on an intellectual level what Father McIntire has achieved in his ministry in Bangladesh over the past decades. We are all members of the same human family and we need to embrace each other as brothers and sisters and recognize the One God who is Father and Mother to us all.
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