Saturday, July 27, 2013

Conducting a Holy Retreat for Priests

I arrived from Zamboanga the other day after conducting a retreat for 37 priests belonging to the diocese of Romblon. The retreat which was held at the seaside hotel of Lantaka near the old fort of Pilar started on Monday afternoon and ended Wednesday evening.

This is the seventh clergy retreat that I have given so far. I have given 3 retreats for priests from 3 Mindanao dioceses (Tandag, Pagadian, Dipolog), 1 Visayas diocese (Borongan) and 3 Luzon dioceses (Infanta, Baguio and Romblon).

As usual, the focus of the retreat was their life and ministry as priests with special emphasis on building and leading the parish as a network of Basic Ecclesial Communities. The framework that I used is based on the Vatican II and PCP II vision of the ordained ministry: the ministry of communion (koinonia) and pastoral leadership, the prophetic ministry, the liturgical/sacramental ministry and the social ministry. I also added the last topic: facing the darkside and the call to conversion.

Each session has a three-fold component: a) a talk/conference by the retreat director (that's my part), b) a period of individual reflection/meditation, c) a time for small group sharing (by vicariate).

The aim of the retreat is to make the priests aware that a Renewed Church requires a Renewed Clergy, and that a New Way of Being Church (BECs) requires a New Way of Being Priest.

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