Internationally Known Scholar to Lead
Hines Center’s Feb. 18 Class on Celtic Christianity
The Bishop John E. Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer will offer a course entitled “Contemplating the Celtic Way” from 6:30-9 p.m. Thursday, February 18. This course, led by internationally-known St. Patrick scholar Marcus Losack, will discuss an ancient approach to Christianity that is becoming increasingly relevant in today’s fast-paced society. The cost of the class is $80.
Celtic Christianity, an ancient strand of the Christian tradition, was practiced during the Early Middle Ages across the Celtic-speaking world that included parts of present-day England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. This form of Christianity fell out of favor when the Senate of Whitby decided in favor of the Continental (Roman) expression of Christianity in 664 A.D.
Today, many elements of the Celtic Way resonate with people as they try to find their spiritual way in a hurried and disconnected world. “The reason that the Celtic tradition is important is because it’s orthodox and yet it emphasizes some strands of Christian practice, piety and prayer that are not emphasized in Roman Catholicism and Protestantism,” said The Very Rev. Barkley Thompson, dean of the Christ Church Cathedral. “For instance, while Celtic Christianity has a potent understanding of sin and the brokenness of creation, it emphasizes a super-abundance of grace instead of judgment. Celtic Christianity also emphasizes our connection to nature and to the earth.”
Another difference involves prayer, which is embedded in everyday life in Celtic Christianity. “Ancient Celtic Christians understood all of life to be prayer. Prayer is not something you go off and do at some point during the day or go to a church for an hour-and-a-half on a Sunday morning,” The Very Rev. Barkley explained. “Prayer is rather the posture which one moves through all of life. The Celts had a prayer for the kindling of the morning fire, a prayer for the making of the bed and a prayer for the kneading of the dough. All of life was marked through these kinds of prayers that reminded one that we walk through a milieu of grace.”
The Feb. 18 class will include two 75-minute sections with a 20-minute break. The first section, entitled “The Last Apostle: Understanding the Real St. Patrick,” will focus on the key events, themes and challenges to discipleship that can be found in the saint’s writings. The second part of the class explores key themes related to major festivals in the pre-Christian Celtic tradition and how these themes became formative for the Christian understanding of faith and the Church’s liturgical year.
Losack, currently the executive director of Céile Dé Pilgrimages in Ireland, has an extensive religious background. He worked as an ordained Anglican priest for many years, serving parishes in Ireland, the United Kingdom, North Africa and Sicily. Losack also was senior lecturer and course director at St. George’s College in Jerusalem over a three-year period. In that role, he led visits to ancient, sacred and historic places in the Middle East.
The Hines Center is a ministry of Christ Cathedral Church, the seat of the Episcopalian Diocese of Texas. Grounded in ancient traditions of Christianity and drawing upon wisdom from other faiths, the Hines Center’s goal is to support the human journey toward spiritual wholeness and provide guidance to individuals as they contemplate how they identify and relate to God. In support of spiritual formation, a variety of educational and experiential offerings provide strategies to increase each individual’s awareness, acceptance and compassion.
For Immediate Release For Additional Information, Contact:
Brooke Summers-Perry, 713-569-5844 or [email protected]