Saturday, January 25, 2014

MY WINTER FUN

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In the New York metropolitan area the media and the merchants are pushing only one thing right now: Superbowl XLVIII.  I enjoy watching the game with friends every year, and just ignore all the hype and the crass commercialism leading up to it. (This is easier for me since I don't watch television.) The fact that this year's game is being played only a few miles from my monastery doesn't particularly excite me, but let me tell you something that does have me enthused and excited these days.

Proposed new cover
A few months ago Morehouse Publishing asked me to come up with a revised edition of my 2006 Lenten book Pilgrim Road  to appear in time for Lent, 2015. They left to my discretion just what the "revisions" would consist of, and I knew right away what I wanted to do.

Each year I've become more aware of the growing group of people who go back to the book every year and read the daily meditations each day during Lent. I've begun to look at these folks as making up a large community of pilgrims traveling the "pilgrim road" together. It bothers me that these faithful travelers don't get to see that they are each a part of a great group of like-minded Christians who are walking the same road at the same time as themselves. So, the revised edition will leave all the stories and daily reflections untouched, but will add features to emphasize the communal aspect of the Lenten Journey.

First and most important, I'm writing a set of discussion questions for each week of Lent specifically
Canterbury Pilgrims
designed for use by groups. I'm also including a suggested hymn, a psalm and a different "Prayer for Pilgrims" for each week as well, for groups that want to add an element of praying together the way pilgrims usually do.

Second, I'm writing some new material to be placed at the end of the book. There will be an interview with the author discussing  everything from my monastic vocation to how the book got written.I'm also thinking of putting in some unedited pages from my travel journal to give people a glimpse of the descriptive material I had to work with when writing, and, if space permits, I'll toss in some additional drawings from my sketchbook. If I have the time before the March 1 deadline I want to include a hand-drawn map of the major pilgrim roads of Europe that would include many of the towns mentioned in the book.

But the most exciting part of the whole project doesn't involve the revisions in the book but rather providing a way for the various solitary "pilgrims" to talk to one another and form a pilgrimage group during Lent via a dedicated Facebook page. Morehouse will be in charge of setting up and supervising the page (I'm not on Facebook myself and at present have no intention of joining). The plan is to have the page up and running for this lent (2014) so that it will be well established before the revised version of the book comes out next year formally inviting people to join the Facebook page. I'll let the readers of this blog know the address of the page when it comes out in case you'd like to help get it started.

I know that readers of this blog don't usually make comments, but I would enjoy hearing your reactions and suggestions regarding my plans for revising Pilgrim Road.

But in any case, at least I have a built-in cure for the "February blahs" this year.
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7 comments:

  1. I am in awe of your continued efforts to develop new ideas for this blog. Thanks Father Albert.

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  2. I like your revision ideas. I will use my copy of the book to have a more prayerful Lent. I also like the idea of a Facebook page since having small children makes it difficult for me to attend a formal prayer group. I think the Facebook page would need a moderator to stimulate discussion and prayer though. Any changes to the book that will help me in my prayer life are most welcome.

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  3. Your creativity continues to amaze! I've worn out my old dog-eared edition of "Pilgrim Road" so I'll be delighted to have a freshened revision with the added emphasis on our communal journey. I'm not on Facebook, but the new format sounds perfect for my prayer group... the discussion questions will guide us in unwrapping the meditations together. Too often I feel as though I'm slogging along my personal pilgrim road alone in the cold and rain of the world; contact with, and encouragement from, faithful fellow travelers is always most welcome.

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  4. Thanks for the encouraging feedback. I'm glad to hear that you think I'm on the right track with the revisions to "Pilgrim Road." I have to have the new changes in to the publisher by March 3, 2014. I'll keep you posted about the Facebook page, which is due to start for this lent, 2014.
    - Fr. Albert

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  5. I look forward to following the Facebook program. I have used your Advent meditations for a few years now and always feel somewhat when the book is finished. Great ideas for your proposed changes.

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