Contemplative Outreach of Northern California

500 De Haro St.  San Francisco, CA 94107-2306     Tel.(415) 252-1667

Centering Prayer and the

Transformation of Divine Love

The ultimate purpose of every kind of prayer is to give ourselves to God, and to make it possible for God to do what he always wanted to do in the first place, which is to give us the divine life. Deep prayer is the condition that God is waiting for in order to communicate his divine life and holiness to us. Such is the purpose of our creation in the first place.

One of the things that Centering Prayer, as it deepens, will affect is our intuition of the oneness of the human family, and indeed, the oneness of all creation. As one moves into one's own inmost being, one comes in contact with what is the inmost being of everyone else. Although each of us retains his or her own unique personhood, we are necessarily associated with the Divine-human person who has taken the whole human family to himself in such a way as to be the inmost reality of each individual member of it. And so, when one is praying in one's inmost being, one is praying,  so to speak, in everyone else's spirit.


In the Eucharist, we are not only joined to Jesus Christ present with his whole being under the symbols of bread and wine, but we believe we are joined with every human, and indeed with the whole of creation. Jesus Christ in his divinity is in the hearts of all men and women and in the heart of all creation, sustaining everything in being. This mystery of oneness enables us to emerge from the Eucharist with a refined inward eye, and invites us to perceive the mystery of Christ everywhere and in every thing.


It is not so much the length of time that one spends in prayer but the quality of it that is transforming.  The most effective prayer takes place when one is not even aware of praying - when one has merged and lost one's own identity in the mystery of Christ. This union is the ultimate goal of the Eucharist. This interpenetration [of Christ and ourselves] is designed to further our evolution  and our assimilation of the eternal values that Christ has brought into the world through his incarnation and communicated to us in all its fullness by his passion, death, resurrection and ascension. The purpose of our historical lifetime is to provide us with space to complete this transformation of body, soul and spirit.

Father Meninger in Northern California in September, 2002

Father William Meninger, one of the original founders of the centering prayer movement, will teach in the San Francisco bay area and in Sacramento in early September.  Please save these dates. 

 San Francisco, on Saturday, Sept 7 from 10:00—3:45. Father Meninger will speak on the topic of forgiveness at St. Gregory’s Church, 500 De Haro St at Mariposa St. Father Meninger will present an orientation to forgiving grounded in Scripture, the experience of people who forgive and are forgiven, and the findings of modern psychology.  “When we refuse to forgive for any reason, we create around ourselves an unloving, unforgiving world. We subject ourselves to low self esteem, victimhood, anger and a cycle of repetitive abuses. Some people spend years, even whole lifetimes, inflicting these ills on themselves,” writes Father Meninger in his book The Process of Forgiveness.  Discover how to extricate yourself and to live in the freedom to which God calls you.  Advance registrations are welcome by sending your suggested contribution of $45 to the address at the top of the newsletter.

Questions?  — call Mark at (415) 252-1667 or email

San Francisco, on Sunday, September 8 from 2:00— 7:00, Father Meninger will present on the topic of The Cloud of Unknowing.  Suggested contribution: $20.     

Sacramento, Friday, Sept 6 at Trinity Cathedral, in the Great Hall from 6 to 9 pm on the Cloud of Unknowing.  Contact Libby Kovacs, area coordinator for more information at (916) 452-0483. 

Berkeley, at the Franciscan School of Theology, 1712 Euclid Ave, Thursday, Sept. 5  from 9:30 AM—1:00 on forgiveness. Contact Lynda Grasser-Ross at (510) 235-1149.  Free will donation. 

Father Meninger may also present in the San Jose area. 

Christ lifting Adam and Eve out of hell

Unless otherwise indicated, all events will be at St. Gregory’s Church, 500 De Haro St off Mariposa, San Francisco.  Questions? —  contact Mark Lodico at (415) 252-1667 or email  To register in advance, mail contributions  to the letterhead address.  To be removed from the list or update your address or switch to the email list, call (415) 252-1667 or email   

Saturday May 11       9:15— 12:30

 Introduction to Centering prayer and “unloading.” 

St. Perpetua’s Church Chapel

3453 Hamlin Rd, Lafayette.

Led by Lynda Grasser-Ross, commissioned presenter of Centering prayer. Voluntary donation welcome. 

Contact Mary Gregory (925) 938-6712.

Saturday May 18 12:00 —3:00  

Reconciliation is the opposite of war:

A day of meditation and dialogue.

 $20 suggested contribution.

 Contact Mary Ciofalo at (415) 824-4623


Presenters from Afghanistan, Laos, USA, and South Africa will share what they are learning about reconciliation — “improbable pairs” who once fought each other are learning  to reconcile. There will be opportunity for sharing, silence, ritual, and meditation.  Glenda Wildschut, former commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission will comment.

Co-sponsored with American Friends Service Committee, Jhai Foundation, Veterans for Peace, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and others. 

Saturday, June 29 10—3:45


Father Bruno Barnhart, OSB Cam.

 The Encounter of East and West and the Rebirth

of Christian Wisdom.


Fr Bruno, former prior of the Benedictine Hermitage, Big Sur is deeply familiar with Bede Griffiths and Thomas Merton and will speak of their pioneering efforts in contemplative inter-faith dialogue. 

Christianity — a contemplative wisdom? Such a statement would not have seemed startling eight or eighteen centuries ago. Today there are signs of a rebirth of the rich Christian wisdom tradition, stimulated by interaction with the great Asian traditions

In this workshop we shall look into the origins of the Christian wisdom tradition in the New Testament and its development, followed by its eclipse with the dawn of a scientific consciousness in the West, and finally its emergence in new forms today. The non-duality which lies at the heart of the Asian traditions catalyzes a reawakening of the dimension of unitive identity in Christianity, bringing forth a new ‘wisdom consciousness.’

Saturday May 18   10 to 12


Training and support for Centering prayer group leaders.

 Star of the Sea church, San Francisco. 4420 Geary Blvd (at 8th Avenue).  

In library classroom off parking lot.

Anyone who exercises leadership within a Centering prayer group or might do so in the future is heartily invited to come. 

Please call Mary English to let her know to expect you at (415) 282-8076 or email her at

Half day Centering prayer retreats.

May 18   July 20  Sept 21  Nov 16

Jan 18 , 2003 10.30—3:30


Contact Sr. Cathy Cahur (415) 553-8776.  These retreats are sponsored by the Most Holy Redeemer church group — an excellent model for all groups.

Please note the scheduled  events for Father William Meninger on the opposite page.