Mercy Center









In August of this year, Fr. Gregory Mayers, C.Ss.R, director of the Mercy Center East-West Meditation program, will relocate from Burlingame, California to a Redemptorist residence near St. Louis, Missouri.


When Fr. Greg came to Mercy Center in 2005, the East-West program, founded by Fr. Thomas Hand, S.J., had been in existence for more than 20 years. Fr. Greg's willingness to take on the responsibilities of program director and resident teacher at that critical time allowed the program to continue and flourish. Under his leadership, the program accomplished transformative work in the lives of retreat participants, Center Day attendees, Wednesday evening meditators, and the staff and Sisters at Mercy Center. Those who have attended his retreats and shared community supper with him know his honesty and self-deprecating humor, boundless intellectual curiosity, and personal faith.


The Great Heart Sutra recited at Zen meditation speaks of "no attainment", a concept not easily grasped by the discursive mind. In our friend and teacher Fr.Greg's life, the outward attainments—professional degrees, academic posts, responsible appointments in the Redemptorist order, an award-winning book—were accompanied by the inner work of spiritual direction, Progoff Intensive Journaling, leading contemplative retreats, and Zen meditation practice and study.


In the midst of a busy working life, Fr. Greg began Zen studies with Willigis Jäger, O.S.B., who made Fr. Greg a Zen Teacher in 1991. In 1997, he was made an Assistant Zen Teacher by Roshi Akira Kubota, and in 2008 a Zen teacher in the Sanbô Kyôdan Zen tradition by Ryôun Yamada Roshi. In 2010, he was made a Zen Master in the Empty Cloud Zen lineage by Willigis Jäger, and in 2011 he was made an Associate Zen Master in the Sanbô Kyôdan Zen Tradition by Ryôun Yamada Roshi.


People of all faith traditions who seek to deepen their experience of God through the practice of Zen meditation have found a place of welcome at Mercy Center, in no small part because of Fr. Greg's personal commitment.


We bow to express profound gratitude for his presence at the center of our community.



Father Greg Mayers

Fr. Gregory Mayers, C.Ss.R., a Redemptorist priest and Zen teacher, has been director of Mercy Center's East-West Meditation program since 2005. Fr. Greg began Zen koan studies in the late 1970s, and is an Associate Roshi of the Sanbô-Zen Society, Kamakura, Japan.

In 2010, he received full transmission as an Authentic Zen Master with the honorific title of Roshi from his teacher, Willigis Jaeger, founder of the Empty Cloud Zen Lineage in Germany.

Fr. Greg has taught Zen and Christian Mystical prayer in retreats around the United States. He is the award-winning author of Listen to the Desert: The Secrets of Spiritual Maturity in the Desert Fathers and Mothers.

listen to Fr. Greg Mayers talks | watch Fr. Greg Mayers videos





Mark your calendars

Wednesday evening meditation will not meet:

April 17, June 12, June 19, August 7, November 13, and December 25.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to print Retreat, Center Day and Evening Meditation schedules.

To receive East-West program scheduling updates, contact us.





Fr. Greg Mayers will lead the next two retreats, in April and June 2019. Designated retreat leaders will guide the August Silent Retreat, November Zen Sesshin and December Year-End Silent Retreat. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.


Further changes to the 2019 East-West program schedule will be announced on the website East-West program page.


Spring Meditation Intensive April 14-19 learn more/register
Spring Zen Sesshin June 9-14 learn more/register
Summer Silent Retreat August 4-9 learn more (registration opens soon)
Fall Zen Sesshin November 10-15 registration opens Summer 2019
Year-End Silent Retreat Dec 27-Jan 1 registration opens Fall 2019





On Wednesday evenings from 7:00–9:00 pm, Fr. Greg leads the community in sitting meditation, offering visitors and long-time meditators a welcoming space in which to explore the spiritual path.

PLEASE NOTE: After Fr. Greg’s departure in August, Wednesday evening meditation will continue, led by the practice community.

Center Day will continue to meet through July 2019. Changes to the Center Day program will be announced to the communiyt and posted on this page later in th year.



Fr. Thomas Hand, S.J. ("Hando") founded the East-West Meditation program at Mercy Center in 1985, after having lived nearly 30 years in Japan. During his time in Japan, Fr. Hand taught haiku poetry, and studied Zen meditation with Yamada Koun Rosh, who encouraged Western students to learn Zen as a way of deepening their Judeo-Christian faith. The East-West program honors both traditions, and encourages meditative practices that lead to a deeper experience of Reality.

hando audio library | videos about hando | the hando letters




The Four Seasons Haiku Kai meets quarterly at Mercy Center Burlingame to share and learn about haiku. All who are interested in this fun and meditative approach to writing haiku are welcome. No pre-registration, just come to the front desk and you'll be directed to the meeting room.

Next meeting: Saturday, April 27, 2019, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. Please check in at the front desk.

learn more about haiku meetings







short videos sesshin and retreat audio  | read/listen to what is kensho?




hando letters  | audio library | videos | read crossing over together




PLEASE NOTE: The printed programs linked below will be updated later this year to reflect changes in the East-West program following Fr. Greg Mayers' departure.




Programs & Retreats

Center Day Schedule

Wed Evening Meditation