Last updated: February 19. 2013 6:40PM - 407 Views

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Some people will stock up on batteries and canned goods, just in case they survive, while others will plan end-of-the-world bashes for their friends.

Some believers may wait patiently to be swept up in the Rapture, and at least one travel writer wants to be in Paris on Dec. 21, presumably to go out in style.

It's all because an ancient Mayan calendar appears to run out of days around the time of the 2012 winter solstice.

So, will the world end in fire? Or ice?

As poet Robert Frost suggested, either would suffice.

Most likely, University of Scranton theology instructor Will T. Cohen said, people will wake up on Dec. 22 and simply start another day.

I don't think we're led by the New Testament to think the world is going to come to an end, he said.

It's important for us always to be aware that each day is precious.

Cohen will lead a discussion on the topic The End of the World As We Know It? Closing Time & Catholicism at 7 p.m. Thursday at Costello's Restaurant in Edwardsville. The talk is part of a Wine & Spirit series of drinks-and-discussion evenings sponsored by the parish of St. Andre Bessette in Wilkes-Barre, and the public is welcome.

There should be a calm awareness that the end could come at any time, Cohen said, not a nervous anxiety.

When Cohen talks about the end, he's thinking more of each individual person's death rather than a worldwide earthquake. Though the word apocalyptic has come to mean extreme destruction, the roots of the word apocalypse are very different It means an unveiling, a revelation.

All that is hidden will be revealed, he said. The more we're the same on the inside as on the outside, the less we'll have to worry about at the apocalypse.

The ‘last judgment' is a phrase that usually inspires fear, he continued. But it can be seen as something reassuring. I'm going to try to draw on the work of (Swiss theologian) Hans Urs Von Balthasar: ‘Dare we hope that all men be saved?'

The End of the World As We Know It? is the third talk in St. Andre Bessette's Wine & Spirit series, which is designed to give adults a chance to explore faith-related topics in a relaxed setting.

It's informal with the people but formal in content, said the Rev. Michael Kloton, parochial vicar at St. Andre, who encourages adults to delve deeper into spirituality.

We are an adult church, often with a juvenile understanding of our faith, he said. What I mean is most Catholics end their religious education with the sacrament of confirmation.

That said, you needn't be Catholic to attend. It's a complete open-door policy, Kloton said.

If you go

What: ‘The End of the World As We Know It? Closing Time & Catholicism.' Part of the Wine & Spirit discussion series.

Who: Guest speaker Will T. Cohen, Ph.D., from the University of Scranton

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Costello's Restaurant, 67 S. Wyoming Ave., Kingston

Reservations: 823-4988, preferably by Monday.

Admission: $5 covers an appetizer buffet. (Cash bar.)

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