Merton_Corpus_ChristiI’ve meant to put the word out about this series here on the blog sooner (those who follow on Facebook and Twitter might have already seen this notice or perhaps you’ve already seen this advertised in Commonweal magazine or elsewhere), but things have been rather hectic lately and I’m just getting around to it. There is a great series at Corpus Christi Church on the Upper West Side (near Columbia University, across the street from Union Theological Seminary) that brings in a number of speakers and professional musicians for a liturgical, spiritual, and theological encounter each Sunday evening during Lent. This year’s theme is focused on Thomas Merton given the 75th Anniversary of his Baptism at Corpus Christi Church. I’m humbled to have been invited to be one of the presenters along with some other good friends and Merton colleagues throughout Lent. I’ll be there this Sunday, March 3rd, so if you’re around consider stopping by to share in prayer, reflection, and the life and legacy of Thomas Merton this Lent! (Click the image to the left to get a full-sized image of the schedule with all the details).



  1. I thought I read that before becoming Catholic, Thomas Merton was baptized Anglican or Episcopalian. Was it the practice before Vatican II to re-baptize Christians of other traditions coming into the Catholic Church?

    1. Great question! I can’t speak to the general practice of the pre-conciliar reception of catechumens (which has, thankfully, been totally restored with the RCIA), but in Merton’s case I can say that his maternal grandparents were indeed Episcopalian, but that I don’t believe he was ever baptized as an infant (while his parents lived in the UK/France). His mother was not a practicing Episcopalian and his father, while a very spiritual man in his own right and someone who — for a short time — worked as an organist at an Episcopal church in New York, did not rear the young Merton in a particular faith tradition. Given what I recall on the spot here, I’m pretty sure he was not baptized in any form until Corpus Christi. I’ll have to double check that.

      1. i am 65, and i was introduced to Merton in the 70’s…he became a spiritual father of sorts…his writings and the documents of Vatican II having had a great impact on my spiritual life…

        being in the midwest, i will be unable to attend the mar 3 Vespers, but if your presentation will be like your blog, you will touch many souls…peace and God’sblessing

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