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Fr. Graf to Deliver December First Friday Lecture

November 20, 2018

Dr. William Graf, associate professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at St. John Fisher College, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of noted American Trappist monk Thomas Merton at the December First Friday Lecture.

William Graf

Free and open to the public, the lecture begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, in Cleary Family Auditorium; breakfast will be provided. A Mass will precede the lecture at 9 a.m. in the Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great.

Graf, who has read and studied Merton since his teenage years, will discuss the prolific theologian’s writings and philosophies. According to The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, Merton is “arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century.” The Center said he wrote more than 60 books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics including spirituality, civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race. Graf’s talk will connect Merton’s writings to the College’s history and mission.

Graf holds advanced degrees in pastoral counseling, theology, and education. His specialties include social ethics and the theology of marriage and sexuality. His latest research interests have focused on the use of power in leadership positions in schools.

The First Friday Lecture Series, sponsored by the 1948 Society, is designed for individuals who are interested in hearing learned perspectives on a variety of topics from members of the St. John Fisher College and greater Rochester community. Parking is available in Lot A or in Lot S (shuttle service will be provided to and from the Mass and lecture locations).

Register online for the lecture, or for more information, call the Office of Institutional Advancement at (585) 385-5292 or email