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Retreat for the Clergy of the Melbourne Eparchy

June 17, 2024, 10:46 24

From June 10 to 14, the St. Clement’s Retreat and Conference Centre in Galong, New South Wales, hosted a spiritual renewal retreat for the clergy of the Melbourne Eparchy. For five days, priests and deacons from all over Australia had the opportunity to pray, socialise, and grow spiritually together.

Retreat for the Clergy of the Melbourne Eparchy

“Retreats are primarily a time for spiritual renewal. They play an important role because they give priests the opportunity to immerse themselves in a special spirit of prayer without the interference of the daily workday,” said Fr. Simon Ckuj, Protosynkellos of the Melbourne Eparchy. “For us priests, retreats are of great importance. The retreat leader is most often a priest from another eparchy, and during these days, he is available to the clergy so that we can communicate with him, share our pains and difficulties, and ultimately, go to confession to another priest.”

This year’s preacher was Fr. John Hodgson, CSsR, Provincial of the Redemptorist Province of Oceania, who delivered teachings on the vocation and tasks of each person, on Christ’s love for people, and on how to love our neighbours by imitating Christ. “Using the example of the parable of the Good Samaritan, Father John showed how we can help our neighbour and how we can hurt him. He also emphasised that everything in this world does not belong to us but is a gift from the Lord,” said Fr. Yuriy Tychenok from Geelong.

During the retreat, Father John paid special attention to the war in Ukraine, particularly how pastors can support their faithful who are wounded by this conflict. “For me, one of the most interesting teachings was when the preacher talked about trauma. Trauma that we may be experiencing but don’t even realize. We may say that we are fine, but we are actually suppressing this pain, not allowing ourselves to express it or share it with anyone. Fr. John explained in great detail the psychological aspects of trauma and how our faithful, especially those who came from Ukraine, might feel. This will make it easier for us to recognise and ease their pain,” said Fr. Stefan Sapun from Brisbane.

Participants noted that the retreat’s great value lies in the restoration of the spirit of brotherhood among the clergy through joint prayer and communication. A priest from another eparchy provided new perspectives on difficulties and problems, offering alternative solutions and approaches to pastoral work. Everyone returned to their parishes spiritually enriched and inspired to continue their work in Christ’s vineyard.

Press office of the Melbourne Eparchy

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