The Autumn Clergy Retreat

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Mid-October found our clergy in Mundelein, Illinois, for the an-nual retreat. With neither scorching Summer heat nor bitter Winter cold, the days spent at Cardinal Stritch Retreat House usually provide a time for the retreatants to take strolls in the wooded surroundings, or amble along the paved circuit of roadway around the lake, in between the scheduled times of reflection and introspection.

The site, familiar to our clergy, offers glimpses at flora and fauna as the changing leaves are starting to present a colorful backdrop—and occasionally deer saunter through the area, along the paths or even in the parking lot.

This year, the director of the four-day retreat was Bishop Paul (Chomnycky, OSBM), Eparch of Stamford. His Grace delivered meditations throughout each day, and during homilies in the context of the Divine Liturgy. Most of the themes presented were encapsulated thoughts gleaned from a retreat attended by the Eastern Catholic Bishops in June, delivered by Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, as a guide to the bishops to be more effective in their role as Shepherd of an eparchy. The ideals and ideas were delivered to the deacons and priests with the intention of bringing out the best of each minister's talent and ability.

Within that framework, Bishop Paul devoted the remaining talks to particular scripture lessons, as an aid to effective pastoring.

There was ample time to reflect upon the words of wisdom delivered. It turned out that the iffy weather in its own way cooperated with the purpose of “detachment from distraction by worldly concerns”, as it remained dreary, damp and drizzly, Staying inside the building was an option chosen by many. The rooms, all furnished with a bed, a Bible, a cross, lamps, chairs a desk and a washroom were cozy—a place to retreat. The chess board was quite busy, too.

No gathering of clergy gets away from some necessary instruction. Subdeacon Petro Rudka presented information on updates in compliance with child protection policies, as well as some specific details on procedures to be folowed in filling out forms for the Kennedy Cath-olic Directory and the myriad forms that must be filed with the Bishop's Chancery.

Lunch on Friday was the last event scheduled. Those who did not have to leave early to catch a flight were able to enjoy one last chance to share camaraderie—looking forward to our next big gathering, the Chrism Conference in June.

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