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Book of reflections continues Thorp's legacy


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David Thorp, who passed away in 2011 after three decades of service to Catholics in Boston, left written reflections that have been compiled into a new book. Friends and family say the book, "Encountering the Living God: A Journal of Prayer and Discovery," continues his legacy of encouraging others to draw closer to their Creator.

Over the years, David Thorp served as the director of the Catholics Come Home campaign, director of the Office for Evangelization and the liaison to the Charismatic Renewal community. For a little less than a year, he was the Director of Faith Formation at Holy Family Parish in Concord; the church has hosted several memorial lectures since David Thorp's death. He also wrote for several publications, including The Pilot.

Part book and part journal, the new publication features 100 reflections with space for readers to record their own thoughts. It encourages meditation on the Lord's Prayer, the Holy Spirit, Christmas and other topics.

Father Frank DeSiano, CSP, president of Paulist Evangelization Ministries, edited the hardcover volume and added some questions to enhance the reflections. Father DeSiano also knew David Thorp; together they served on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Evangelization.

Father DeSiano told The Pilot that the work will continue to bring people closer to God, which was David Thorp's passion.

Anyone who works through the meditations will be changed. "Something deeper is going to happen in your life," he said, adding that the book assists readers in evaluating how they respond to the presence of God in a culture that constantly bombards them.

"The nature of modern life is to be distracted," he said.

Father DeSiano also noted that the reflections included in the work were created as part of his ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston. Father wrote in the book's introduction, "The seeds sown for evangelization by David's ardent following of Christ still bear much fruit in Boston and beyond."

Father DeSiano called Boston a "wonderfully exciting and vibrant city -- a city of real conversion and real searching."

According to his daughter, Catherine Thorp, David Thorp had great hope for the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Boston in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis. She said her dad viewed our current age as a springtime for the Church.

"He really felt that there is something new coming, that there was a lot pruning and there was a lot of new birth," she said.

Catherine discovered the material that would later become her father's book on an external hard drive. Her dad had stored talks, Bible reflections and letters, including files that dated back to the 1980s.

"It was just like a treasure of my dad's, and I didn't know it was there," she said.

She added that his reflections were a tremendous blessing to her personally. They invited her to draw closer to God when she was grieving the loss of her father.

David Thorp's wife, Barbara Thorp, said the whole family is glad to see his reflections once again invite others to grow in friendship with God.

"David was a wonderful teacher and a wonderful writer," she said. "[The book] really is a continuation of David's great passion for sharing the Word of God and for inviting people into a deeper relationship and awareness of God's love for them."

On Nov. 1, Holy Family Parish in Concord will host another memorial lecture in honor of David Thorp. His family and Father DeSiano will be there; the latter will speak on the topic of conversion. The event is open to the public, and copies of David Thorp's book will be available.

Ken Meltz, the parish's director of faith formation (the position previously held by David Thorp), is organizing the event. He has known the Thorps for over 25 years and outlined the gifts of his friend David.

"He was very smart, very diligent. He was a holy man. He had a great reverence about him," Meltz said of David Thorp. "He always brought a great kindness and insight to anything he did here."

To view excerpts from "Encountering the Living God," visit www.pemdc.org.

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