At lunchtime Monday, February 26 the priests of the diocese assembled at Our Lady of Hope Retreat Centre for our Lenten Clergy Days.
Martin & Earla Avery and the staff welcomed us with a hearty lunch and the priests began to converse and share.
A highlight of all Clergy Days is just the opportunity for the priests to gather together in friendship. Most of the priests live alone and are very busy in their respective parishes so these times of fellowship help the diocesan spirit.
In the afternoon Fr. Francis Morrisey, OMI gave the first of four teaching sessions. Fr. Morrisey is a world renowned expert on Church Law. Currently Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Canon Law at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa he travels the world educating and encouraging wherever he goes. Fr. Frank hoped that the material he would present to us would be “helpful to you, but also interesting.” It certainly was!
The introductory talk was “Pope Francis and a New Revision of Canon Law?” In the presentation the following topics were considered: 1. Canon Law in the Church Today 2 The Influence of Pope Francis on the Interpretation of Canon Law, specifically Pope Francis’ Vision of the Church, as a Church of Mercy and Compassion.
The Second Talk was given in two sessions one in the afternoon and part two at 7 PM. Titled “Some Pastoral Implications arising from the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia” Key to this presentation was that “the Church needs to understand families and individuals in all their complexity.” A very encouraging part of this presentation was the Holy Father’s stress on Pastoral Mercy. Fr. Morrisey answered questions from the floor and shared his insights. Following the evening’s presentation there was a social hour at the retreat centre.
Tuesday morning began with morning prayer followed by breakfast then the fourth session. This presentation: “The ‘Internal Forum’ Situation” leads to a call to all Pastoral Workers to seek out those suffering members of the Church for whom the doors opened by Pope Francis may make available the loving mercy of the Lord available in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.
On behalf of the priests Fr. Brian MacDougal extended thanks to Fr. Morrisey for his detailed and enriching presentations on a very important pastoral matter that touches so many of our families. After a hearty round of applause Fr. Morrisey had to depart to the airport and proceed to Rome for the Pope Francis’ meeting with Canon Law experts.
Bishop Grecco then presided at Mass with the priests con-celebrating. In his homily Bishop Richard pointed out the humility of Fr. Frank Morrisey as a great example to all of us.
The workshop days concluded with lunch and the general agreement that this time was well spent.