Two Saint Vincent Seminary faculty members who collaborated on a book about spiritual direction have just released a second book, on prayer. Personal Prayer: A Guide for Receiving the Father’s Love, was published this spring by Emmaus Road Publishing.
Father Thomas Acklin, O.S.B., professor of theology, and Father Boniface Hicks, O.S.B., director of spiritual formation and of the seminary’s Institute for Ministry Formation, are also the authors of Spiritual Direction: A Guide for Sharing the Father’s Love.
“In a sense, this is a ‘how to’ book of the best sort: a simple, practical guide for learning how to pray,” wrote Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia in his endorsement. “But it’s also vastly more than that: An eloquent, intimate, and deeply persuasive invitation to seek out a personal relationship with the Father who made us, and to master the art of immersing ourselves in the love of God.”
“Personal Prayer is one of the finest contemporary books on prayer,” recommended reviewer Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, of Phoenix. “I would highly recommend this book to anyone who hungers for deeper communion with the Blessed Trinity.”
Prayer is at the heart of the Christian life, write Father Thomas and Father Boniface. “Given that we are weak and even sinful human beings, how can it be that God has anything to do with us? What does it mean to have a personal relationship with God? Why is God so silent and hidden? How do we grow in prayer?”
The book brings the depth of human experience together with the Catholic tradition of prayer to present the path to an intimate and vulnerable relationship with God. Father Thomas and Father Boniface explore the many forms of Catholic prayer and demonstrate that vulnerability is essential to growing in relationship with God.
“Rich with the wisdom of Scripture, Catholic teaching, and the writings of the saints, Personal Prayer is an exhaustive guide for priests, religious, and laity desiring to receive the Father’s love in a profoundly personal way,” the publisher notes.
Father Boniface, of State College, earned a bachelor of science degree in computer science and a master of science degree in computer science from Penn State University in 1997. A year later he entered the monastery and made his final profession of vows in 2002. He earned master of arts and master of divinity degrees from Saint Vincent Seminary, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2004. Following ordination, he returned to Penn State where he completed his Ph.D. in computer science in 2007.
He has served as a campus minister, faculty member, spiritual director and retreat master, and has also been involved with WAOB (We Are One Body) radio station, Latrobe, since its formation in 2010, presently serving as program director. Presently he is director of spiritual formation at the Seminary as well as director of the Institute for Ministry Formation.
Father Thomas, a former rector (1989-2001) of Saint Vincent Seminary, is presently professor of theology there. He is known as a spiritual director, counselor, retreat master, psychoanalyst and author. A native of Aliquippa, he received a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Duquesne University in 1971, a master of arts degree in philosophy from Duquesne in 1975, and a master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary in 1978. He professed solemn vows in 1979. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1980.
He earned a licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1980, a doctor of philosophy degree in 1982, and a doctor of Sacred Theology degree in 1983 from the University of Louvain, Belgium. Father Thomas has also received professional psychoanalytic training and formation from the Belgian School of Psychoanalysis (1980-1982); Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center (1982-1985); and the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Institute (1985-1994), and is certified by The American Boards for Accreditation and Certification of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (1985). He is also a member of the American and International Psychoanalytic Associations.
Father Thomas has written two other books, The Unchanging Heart of the Priesthood and The Passion of the Lamb, and he has given many retreats, especially to priests, Benedictines and members of contemplative religious orders. He hosted the program “Insights, Religion from a Psychological Perspective,” on WEDO Radio; was co-host on “Real to Reel,” WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, and has appeared on “The Inner Life” on Relevant Radio, and EWTN.
The book, which retails for $27.95, will be available from Archabbey Publications this spring, www.saintvincentstore.com.
“I have no doubt that no matter who you are, or how much experience you have with prayer, this book will lead you deeper into prayer and into the heart of God.”—Dan Burke, president of the Avila Foundation for Spiritual Formation.
“This practical book will serve as a valuable guide for those who wish to grow in their life of prayer toward a deeper union with God. I pray that this book will bring many souls closer to God.”—Sister Mary Grace, CP, Directress of Formation, Passionist Nuns, Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery, Pittsburgh.
“I believe this book will be helpful for all who pray and want to better understand the mystery of our relationship with God in prayer.”—Father Thomas Nelson, O. Praem, National Director of the Institute of Religious Life, Canon of St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California.