Fr. Carl Arico is a founding member and current Governing Board member of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. Since Contemplative Outreach's beginnings in 1984, Fr. Arico has been an integral part of the organization's growth and development. As a Governing Board member, Fr. Arico considers himself as the "middle linebacker" of the organization, ready as needed to perform various duties.
Among his many contributions throughout the years, Fr. Arico served on the Board of Trustees from 1984 to 2000 and has been on the Board of Advisors since 2001. Fr. Arico has traveled extensively in the United States and internationally to present workshops and direct retreats for both priests and laypeople. In addition, he has been continually involved in the enrichment of Contemplative Outreach chapters and in the conception and implementation of many of the organization's programs. He has been part of the Lectio Divina Service Team since its beginning in 1998 and is a participating team member for the Contemplative Life Program and the Heartfulness Program. He also is currently serving on the Gift Committee, which is dedicated to ensuring the legacy of Fr. Thomas Keating. Fr. Arico oversees the production of the Contemplative Outreach Annual Conference videos and the United in Prayer video series. He also recently served as the co-chair of the 20th Anniversary Fundraising Tour (2002-2007), during which enrichment programs were presented to over 30 chapters across the country and 2.5 million dollars were pledged to the Contemplative Outreach ministry. In the 1990s, Fr. Arico was the main editor of the first Resource Manual, known as "the red book," which offers details about giving workshops on various topics related to Contemplative Outreach's mission. Fr. Arico takes great joy in helping provide such resources to people in the network, empowering them to carry on the vision of Contemplative Outreach.
Fr. Arico is known for his humor and his ability to bridge the linguistic gap between the clergy and laity. He credits this ability to the positions he held following his ordination as a diocesan priest for the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ in 1960. From 1960 to 1969, Fr. Arico served as a parish priest at a suburban church in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. He also served as a part-time teacher from 1960 to 1971 at Union Catholic High School, an all-girls school in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, where his students officially recognized him as an "honorary one-of-the-girls." Between 1969 and 1979, Fr. Arico was actively involved in the marriage and family ministry in the Archdiocese of Newark and the Province of New Jersey. He returned to life as a parish priest in 1979 and soon was named the Director of Priest Personnel for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1980. In 1986, he took a sabbatical for further studies and to co-author a book, Living Our Priesthood Today, with Fr. Basil Pennington. When he returned from his sabbatical, Fr. Arico accepted the full-time responsibility of becoming a staff member of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. at the request of Fr. Thomas Keating and with the permission of Archbishop McCarrick.
Fr. Arico is honored to have known Fr. Keating since 1969 and believes whole-heartedly in the purpose of Contemplative Outreach, which Fr. Keating has outlined. As testament to his faith in the power of contemplative prayer, Fr. Arico has practiced Centering Prayer since 1975 and taught the prayer since 1978. He also was present for the first intensive Centering Prayer retreat that Fr. Keating offered at the Lama Foundation in San Cristobal, New Mexico in 1983, which many founding members of Contemplative Outreach attended. Fr. Arico has seen Contemplative Outreach develop from a wish to the organization it is today. "The growth that has taken place in Contemplative Outreach," he observes, "is a miracle of God's grace and the power of prayer."
Fr. Carl Arico is a co-author of the book Living Our Priesthood Today (Our Sunday Visitor, 1987) with Fr. Basil Pennington, and the author of Taste of Silence (The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc, 1999), a guide to the fundamentals of Centering Prayer.
Q&A with Fr. Carl Arico
The following are links to articles that are accumulations of questions and answers from Fr. Carl Arico on these general subjects: