ANNUAL CLERGY RETREAT – AN IMPORTANT TIME OF RENEWAL
September 22, 2016
ANNUAL CLERGY RETREAT – A TIME OF RENEWAL
Canon 54 of the Particular Law of the Ukrainian Catholic Church stipulates that “Clerics are obliged to take part in annual spiritual retreats, in accord with norms established by the eparchial bishop”. However, in most cases there is no need for a law about this. Every member of the clergy - be he bishop, priest or deacon - looks forward to the annual spiritual retreat and any additional retreat that he is able to arrange for himself with great anticipation. The pastoral ministry of clergy within the Church is such that it would remain empty and would end in utter failure if continuous prayer were absent and if times of renewal were neglected.
This year the clergy were able to “get away” for four days of prayer, reflection, discussion and personal renewal. Bishop Bohdan Danylo, the bishop of Parma, Ohio, was invited to be the director this year and was able to come to Manitoba to share his insights and inspiration with the clergy of Manitoba. The Bishop and eventually Metropolitan of Winnipeg has been organizing an annual spiritual retreat for all clergy for almost a century now. Since his appointment to the Metropolitan See of Winnipeg, Archbishop Lawrence Huculak has personally been joining his priests and deacons for the annual retreat. Unfortunately, a number of the clergy were unable to attend this year due to personal and pastoral commitments, health concerns, etc. Also the religious (i.e. monastic) clergy - although part of the presbyterate of the Archeparchy - sometimes don’t attend the annual retreat. They have such retreats organized for their particular religious orders at different times during the year and naturally attend those. However, all Manitoba clergy were remembered in prayer throughout the week.
At the heart of each day was the Divine Liturgy and other liturgical prayer from the Divine Office and a variety of additional services. One evening, there was a panakhyda (requiem) service for the all the deceased members of the clergy that ever served in Manitoba. Special mention was made of the clergy that had died over the last year – Father Ernie Hafichuk and Deacon Nicholas Kohuch. At the panakhyda service, Metropolitan Lawrence also mentioned the Superior of the sisters’ home in Mundare, Alberta, Sister Martha Mary Zulyniak, SSMI, who had recently died and who had served in Manitoba at one time.
The retreat will soon be over and this Sunday the clergy will return to their parishes. May the Lord Who loves all, watch over them and the faithful entrusted to their pastoral care. May the inspiration and wisdom that they gained at this retreat be reflected in their continued pastoral work among the People of God in Manitoba. Pray for them. Support them. May God’s Will for each of them be fulfilled in every way.