(ugcc.org.ua) - From Monday, September 18 through Thursday, September 21, the priests and deacons of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia gathered with Archbishop Stefan Soroka, Bishop John Bura and Bishop Andriy Rabiy at the San Alfonso Retreat House here for their annual spiritual retreat. The retreat director was Rt. Rev. Mitred Msgr. Martin Canavan, a priest incardinated in the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, who presently is spiritual director at St. Basil’s Seminary in Stamford, Connecticut. Msgr. Canavan, a priest vocation from the first Ukrainian Catholic church in the United States, St. Michael’s parish in Shenandoah, Pa., for many years was incardinated in and served the faithful of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

During the retreat, Msgr. Canavan offered reflections for spiritual renewal with inspirational conferences based upon Scriptural passages from the Old and New Testaments, emphasizing the beauty of the entire creation of Almighty God. He stressed how each individual is a unique creation of God.

The clergy participated in daily liturgical services, including matins, vespers and the Divine Liturgy. Bishop John Bura, Bishop Andriy Rabiy and Archbishop Stefan Soroka were the main celebrants during the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Divine Liturgies respectively.

On Thursday, as is tradition, a panakhyda for all the deceased hierarchs and clergy of the Philadelphia Archeparchy was sung following the Divine Liturgy.

After the panakhyda, Father Robert Hitchens, on behalf of the clergy, thanked Msgr. Canavan for serving as the retreat director and the clergy expressed their gratitude to him with the traditional singing of “God Grant Him Many Years.”

Metropolitan Stefan also expressed his gratitude to Msgr. Canavan and also to all the clergy for their wonderful participation throughout the week and particularly to Father Robert Hitchens and Father Wasyl Kharuk, for coordinating the retreat and for their preparation of all the texts for the liturgical services. He also thanked Father Walter Pasicznyk and Father Roman Sverdan, who served as sacristans during the liturgical services.

Often as priests absent themselves from their parishes for this time of spiritual renewal, well-intentioned parishioners may say “Enjoy your vacation” or upon return inquire “How was your vacation?’

However, a retreat is not a vacation, but a necessary and even obligatory requirement for clergy to withdraw from the daily routine of normal parish life for a time of prayer, reflection and spiritual renewal.

This concept of withdrawal for spiritual renewal can be found in the life of Jesus Christ, where the evangelists Matthew, Mark and Luke relate how Jesus, after his baptism by John, withdrew into the desert and fasted for forty days and nights.

In the 1520’s, St. Ignatius of Loyola developed his Spiritual Exercises. These spiritual exercises greatly influenced the development of retreats, especially for clergy, as a way of deepening their spiritual relationship with God.

Rev. John M. Fields, Director of Communications

Link:http://ugcc.ua/en/news/philadelphia_archieparchial_clergy_gather_in_long_branch_nj_for_annual_spiritual_retreat_80601.html


Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." (Matthew 5:11 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having virtues other than humility -- but with humility one does not fall.

Elder Herman of Mt. Athos