Praying the Scriptures — New Book from Father Demetrius

 The fourth book by Saint Vincent Seminary faculty member Father Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B., has been published by Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. Entitled Praying the Scriptures, the book has received praise from several reviewers.

Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, noted that “Father Demetrius Dumm demonstrates his skills as an outstanding teacher and retreat master in this very helpful book. He writes in an attractive style, clearly and to the point. As befits his Benedictine heritage, he enriches the reader’s liturgical understanding. Most helpfully of all, he leads us beyond settling for superficiality in prayer to help us find God’s presence in his revealed word. Even more, he challenges us to be changed in and by that word. His treatment of the Psalms alone makes this book a valued aid for all who pray the Liturgy of the Hours.”

Praying the Scriptures is more than a book about biblical prayers. It sets such prayers in the larger context of biblical revelation so they are seen primarily as celebrations of God’s great saving deeds of the Exodus and the Resurrection. They bring us to the very heart of the experience of salvation in that ultimate prayer-event, the Eucharist. In this context, prayers of petition become acts of trust in the goodness of the God who entered our world definitively in the person of Jesus Christ, while prayers of gratitude convert the lives of believers from fear and guilt to courage and joy.

Other books by Father Demetrius include Flowers in the Desert, A Spirituality of the Bible and Cherish Christ Above All, The Bible in the Rule of Benedict., both recently reprinted by Saint Vincent Archabbey Publications and A Mystical Portrait of Jesus: New Perspectives on John’s Gospel, published by Liturgical Press.

Praying the Scriptures, which retails for $8.95, plus shipping, and Father Demetrius’ other books, are available by mail from Archabbey Publications, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, Pa., 15650-2690 or at the Basilica Gift Shop on the Saint Vincent Campus or the Campus Book Center. For a free catalogue, call 724-805-2601. The books are also available via Saint Vincent Archabbey’s new online store,

Father Demetrius has taught at Saint Vincent Seminary since 1952. He served as its Rector from 1963 to 1980 and as its Vice Rector from 1955 to 1963, in addition to serving as Director of Spiritual Life from 1989 to 1993.

He received a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Saint Vincent College in 1945, and attended Saint Vincent Seminary from 1943 to 1946. He received a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree in 1950 from the Pontifical Institute of Sant’ Anselmo, Rome. He studied at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem from 1950 to 1952, after which he received a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Commission, Vatican City.

He entered the Benedictine Monastic Community of Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1942. He made simple profession of vows on July 2, 1943, and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1946. He was ordained a priest at Subiaco Abbey, Italy, by the Most Rev. Lorenzo Salvi, O.S.B., on December 7, 1947.

Father Demetrius has given a series of lectures in England to the Union of Monastic Superiors, comprising all the abbots and abbesses of the Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries in Great Britain, Ireland and Scotland, and has given a number of retreats in England, Ireland and Taiwan. He has given retreats to most of the Benedictine monasteries in the United States and for bishops of thirteen states. He is a major contributor and one of the editors of the Collegeville Pastoral Dictionary of Biblical Theology. He has also contributed to the New Jerome Bible Commentary. He has written numerous articles for The American Benedictine Review and The New Catholic Encyclopedia.

He has served as a member of the Commission for Christian Unity of the Diocese of Greensburg (1963-80); as charter member of the East Coast Rectors’ Conference (1964-80) and as past-president (1972-74); as a member of the Council of the Abbot President of the American Cassinese Congregation of the Benedictine Order (1973–85). He also served as a professor in Duquesne University’s Institute of Formative Spirituality (1978-85); as a representative to the Pennsylvania Conference on Interchurch Cooperation (1981-90) and chairman of its Committee on Theological Consultation (1982-90); as a member of the Board of Incorporators of Saint Vincent College, Inc. and as a member of the Board of Directors of Saint Vincent College.