Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

fr-cameron-582NEW HAVEN – When the Knights of Columbus wanted to sponsor a play about their organization’s founder, Father Michael J. McGivney, they turned to Dominican Father Peter John Cameron, a Connecticut-born playwright.

He is also the founding editor-in-chief of the monthly prayer aid, Magnificat. And he also just published his seventh book, Mysteries of the Rosary: Living Our Lady’s Graces, on the importance of Mary as seen through the mysteries and feasts of her life.

Author, editor, journalist, playwright, theatrical artistic director, professor of homiletics, preacher, retreat master – the list of Father Cameron’s titles, interests and vocational activities is extensive. The common thread is his vocation.

"My priesthood and my evangelizing … my preaching is first," he said in an interview with The Catholic Transcript.

"I’m a priest so that others can meet Jesus Christ," he said. "I met him and I realized that life doesn’t make sense without him. Every need and longing of our heart has an answer, and he’s the answer. When Christ gazes at you, your life changes. His gaze is on everyone, just waiting for our answer."

An early riser, Father Cameron often uses the predawn hours to write in the priory where he lives with his Dominican community in New Haven. He also uses his time on the train to his office in Yonkers, N.Y., to read, research or write.

"I’ve always loved writing; and when I was given permission [in the seminary] to do a graduate degree in theater, I opted for playwriting," he said. "It was a way to keep my finger in the theater.

He estimates that he’s written and produced about 10 plays through the Blackfriars (a common name for Dominican friars) Repertory Theatre in New York – the first religious theater there and the only professional-level theater sponsored by a Catholic organization in the United States. It has launched the careers of such actors as Patricia Neal, Darren McGavin and Shelley Berman.

Founded in 1940 by Dominican Fathers Urban Nagle and Thomas Carey, it closed in 1972. Father Cameron, who is its artistic director, revived it in 1998.

Of theater, he said, "It’s an attempt to see, find and experience the ultimate purpose of life in a real life experience."

He said there is a beauty about the theater that is "deeply compelling," adding that there are very few occasions when people are "together in one place, united for one reason, agreeing to keep silence together in order to share in the experience.

"Theater reminds you of God," Father Cameron reflected. "To be human is to thirst for the infinite."

He said everything he does, from writing to preaching, is about "the fact that to be human is to be in relationship with the infinite.

"For many people, Jesus Christ is an abstraction," he observed, "but he is flesh and blood. Once people encounter him, they never want to be apart from him."

Born in Providence, R.I., Father Cameron was raised in Vernon with six siblings in a family that belonged to Sacred Heart and St. Bernard parishes. He went to high school at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield.

"Of all my schools I attended, it was my favorite," he said.

"The priests were outstanding, real role models; and the teaching was unbelievably exceptional. I learned my love of Scripture through Father James Leary; my love for theater was generated there; Msgr. Charles Johnson was my Latin teacher, and I learned how to sing from Father Geoff Smith.

Father Smith speaks equally highly of his former student.

"Peter’s a wonderful person and remarkably versatile with a wonderful musical and dramatic sense," recalled Father Smith, who has been a chaplain at Yale-New Haven Hospital for the past 16 years. "I’m so glad that in his priesthood he’s able to really express in such an articulate and beautiful way what he thinks about our faith and the Lord," he noted. "He’s really been encouraged to use his real, authentic talents in the service of the Church."

Father Cameron went on to the Dominicans’ Providence College, where he earned a degree with a double major in theater arts and humanities. Completing theological studies for ordination at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., he also received a master’s degree from The Catholic University of America, where he studied playwriting.

Father Cameron also was a reporter for the National Catholic Register. His writing took a leap forward when Pierre-Marie Dumont, a French layman, tapped him to be the editor of the United States edition of the highly acclaimed Magnificat when it was launched in December 1998.

The monthly worship aid boasts a United States circulation of 230,000. After giving a retreat in Poland on preaching last month, Father Cameron flew to London to take part in discussions about the soon-to-be started edition for the United Kingdom.

Besides his current book on the Blessed Virgin, he has written books about the Sunday Gospels, the Eucharist and preaching.

Father Cameron will talk about and sign his most recent book from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Catholic Book Store, located at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. A story about Father Cameron’s most recent book appears on this Web site under the Arts and Media tab.

Father Cameron’s spirituality has been shaped in recent years by the writings of Father Luigi Giussani, founder of the Communion and Liberation Movement, which drew him "because my heart was looking for something and I wasn’t finding it until I found the movement. It gave me a new and deeper appreciation for my faith and many wonderful friendships."

From that movement, he came to see that "the heart is a place of decision, of being in encounter with God. It is the facility by which people discover the meaning of life," said Father Cameron.

He also said that the heart is objective. For example, he said, most people "look to the universal human experience for happiness, which brings disappointment. They think, ‘I expected better,’ because their heart told them that there is a greater satisfaction."

But to paraphrase St. Augustine, the heart "won’t rest until it gets it," he said. "And for us, that answer is God … it’s Christ."

 

 

Events Calendar

April 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Saint Ann Church in New Britain will present its annual Passion Play at 7 p.m. April 11 and 18 and at 5 [...]
Date :  April 11, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
05:00 PM
St. Ann Church, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Saint Ann Church in New Britain will present its annual Passion Play at 7 p.m. April 11 and 18 and at 5 [...]
Date :  April 13, 2014
14
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
Date :  April 14, 2014
15
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
Date :  April 15, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Pompeii Church, East Haven, East Haven, United States
The annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that began on March 5 continues at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at [...]
Date :  April 16, 2014
17
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
08:00 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Commemoration of the Lord’s Supper
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The Path of Transformation, a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for Men and Women, will take place April 17-19 at [...]
Date :  April 17, 2014
18
03:00 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Commemoration of the Lord's Passion
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
05:00 PM
St. Ann Church, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Saint Ann Church in New Britain will present its annual Passion Play at 7 p.m. April 11 and 18 and at 5 [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
07:30 PM
St. Frances Cabrini Church, North Haven, North Haven, United States
The Living Stations of the Cross will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Good Friday at St. Frances Cabrini [...]
07:30 PM
St. Catherine of Siena Church, West Simsbury, Simsbury, United States
WEST SIMSBURY – Christ’s Seven Last Words, proclaimed as he hung upon the Cross on the first Good [...]
12:00 AM
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The Path of Transformation, a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for Men and Women, will take place April 17-19 at [...]
Date :  April 18, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
11:00 AM
Raffia Shopping Plaza, Enfield, Enfield, United States
ENFIELD – “Baby Steps,” the annual family walk for life, will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The Path of Transformation, a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for Men and Women, will take place April 17-19 at [...]
Date :  April 19, 2014
20
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:00 AM
Date :  April 20, 2014
21
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 21, 2014
22
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 22, 2014
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06:00 PM
Mercy Hall, University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
WEST HARTFORD – The Art Gallery at the University of St. Joseph (USJ) will present the 2014 Vincenza Uccello Fine Arts Lecture featuring [...]
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Full of Grace: Gentle Yoga and Centering Prayer will meet for seven Wednesdaysat the Caritas Christi [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Pompeii Church, East Haven, East Haven, United States
The annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that began on March 5 continues at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 23, 2014
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07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Dr. Tim Gray's study of the Gospel of Luke expliains the fundamental themes of Jesus' messianic mission. [...]
07:00 PM
St. Brigid Parish, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The St. Brigid Ladies Guild annual Monte Carlo Whist Party will be held at 7 p.m. April 24 in St. Brigid [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:00 AM
St. Martha School, Enfield, Enfield, United States
St. Martha School in Enfield will hold an open house on Thursday, April 24, from 10-11:30 a.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Tours will be conducted; and teachers, students, parents of students and administrators will [...]
Date :  April 24, 2014
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06:30 PM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
An international food, wine and beer tasting will be held to benefit Immaculate Conception Shelter and [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 25, 2014
26
04:00 PM
Connor Chapel, University of St. Joseph
HARTFORD – Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus will join the combined choirs of St. Patrick-St. Anthony [...]
06:30 PM
St. Mary School, Newingtonn, Newington, United States
St. Mary School in Newington will host its annual wine and beer tasting event from 6:30-9:30 pm. March 1. [...]
06:30 PM
St. Mary School, Newingtonn, Newington, United States
St. Mary School's annual wine tasting and auction will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. April 26. The event will be hosted by NBC TV personality Brad Field.  Some of the items to be [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
07:30 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, will present music and prayer for the Easter seaso at 7:30 p.m. [...]
09:00 AM
St. Monica Church, Northford, Northford, United States
NORTHFORD – St. Monica's Rosary Society will have its spring craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 26 [...]
09:00 AM
St. Mary-St. Michael School, Derby, Derby, United States
DERBY – Back by popular demand, organizers say, St. Mary-St. Michael School will sponsor a community shred day from 9 a.m. to noon April 26 at the school, located at 14 Seymour Ave.  Eco Shred [...]
09:30 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
"Making Friends with the False Self," a contemplative prayer program, will be presented by Father Bill [...]
Date :  April 26, 2014
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02:30 PM
St. Ann Church, Bristol, Bristol, United States
St.  Ann Church in Bristol will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday on April 27 with a Mass at 2:30 p.m. [...]
03:00 PM
Mary Our Queen Church, Plantsville, Southington, United States
Divine Mercy Holy Hour - Mary Our Queen Church, Southington, 3-4 p.m. April 27th.  Benediction, Homily, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Veneration of relic of St. [...]
03:00 PM
Legion of Christ Seminary, Cheshire, Cheshire, United States
A Divine Mercy Holy Hour will be held at 3 p.m. April 27 at the Legion of Christ Seminary in Cheshire. It [...]
04:00 PM
St. Michael Church, Litchfield CT
HARTFORD – Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus will join the combined choirs of St. Patrick-St. Anthony [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:45 PM
Charter Oak Cultural Center/Riverfront Mortensen Plaza, Hartford, United States
NEW HAVEN – The Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) of the Archdiocese of Hartford, in [...]
Date :  April 27, 2014
28
29
07:00 PM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
09:00 AM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
Date :  April 29, 2014
30
07:00 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
HAMDEN – Caritas Christi Center will sponsor a day bus trip to St. Joseph the Worker Shrine in Lowell, [...]
07:00 PM
St. Anthony Parish Center, New Haven, New Haven, United States
The St. Anthony Society of St. Anthony Parish will have its 37th annual raffle and card party at 7 p.m. April 30 in [...]
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Full of Grace: Gentle Yoga and Centering Prayer will meet for seven Wednesdaysat the Caritas Christi [...]
09:00 AM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
09:00 AM
Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Plainville, Plainville, United States
Our Lady of Mercy Parish will offer a five-part program for lay Catholics titled “We the People of [...]
Date :  April 30, 2014

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