Father Tiso is a priest of the Diocese of Isernia-Venafro, Italy, where he now serves (since September 6, 2009) as pastor of the parish of St. Michael in Fornelli (IS)
7) What is a Catholic Buddhist scholar doing in a village in Italy? Whereto from there? Do you teach meditation in your parish?
Since September of 2009, I have been trying to bring peace and reconciliation to a deeply troubled faith community in the hills of south-central Italy. In practice, most families are secularized in the sense that they do not regularly attend church events or training programs, but only look to the church for life-cycle celebrations such as weddings, baptisms, and funerals. There is very little interest in socially engaged Catholicism, religious education, works of charity and justice, study of the Bible, and other features typical of contemporary Catholic life. The town has a history of poor hygiene (smoking, alcoholism), unemployment, illiteracy, youth delinquency and political divisiveness. However, thanks to a core group of collaborators who are aware of the problems, there has definitely been a changing of the guard and a turning of the tide. The challenges, which are also administrative and economic, are being met with great determination by those who know that they and their children will benefit from an authentic Catholic parish life.
I teach meditation weekly in private at my home, which is 16 km away from the parish. I also teach traditional forms of Christian prayer and contemplation monthly in the parish. People are welcome to use my extensive interreligious library over more than 5000 volumes, one of the largest private libraries in the region.
Next year, I expect to be teaching two or three courses in the Interreligious Studies Program at the Gregorian University in Rome.http://francistiso.com/Interview.html