Archdiocesan priests will gather for renewal June 18-21

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Priests from across the Archdiocese of Chicago will gather June 18-21 to pray together, to renew and refresh their spirits and to reconnect to Jesus and to one another.

The theme for the convocation is “One in Christ: Brotherhood, Diversity, Gratitude,” said Father Carl Morello, pastor of St. Giles Parish in Oak Park and chairman of the convocation committee. 

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego will speak about what it means for priests to live in persona Christi in this day and age, Morello said.
“There are so many different ways people pastor today because we come from many different backgrounds, culturally, ethnically, theologically,” Morello said, noting that the presbyterate of Chicago is a diverse group. “This is meant to be an opportunity to take a deep look at who we are as priests. It is about trying to help us to look at who we are in Christ, and trying to build that up and reinforce it and encourage it.”

Cardinal Cupich will have an opportunity to address the presbyterate at the end of the convocation.

“This is the first convocation we’ve had since he’s been here, so I think a lot of us want to hear what he has to say,” Morello said.

Father Brad Zamora, director of liturgy and an instructor in liturgy and music at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, said the event offers the priests of the archdiocese time to reconnect with one another.

“At its base, the convocation is just an opportunity for us to be together,” Zamora said. “While we all come from different walks of life, different backgrounds, different races, we are one in our priesthood.”

While the convocation is not specifically about Renew My Church, Morello said, building unity among priests will be important to that process.

Renew My Church is the ongoing effort to bring the resources of the archdiocese in line with its needs to expand its focus on ministry and evangelization. All parishes have been put into groups, and waves of groups are working to find ways they can work together to provide for the needs of their areas.

“In this area we are living in now, we need each other more than ever,” Zamora said. “We need the support of our brothers. And it’s an opportunity for people to realize how important it is for priests to come together, not to hang out, but to be renewed in our vocations and to have ongoing formation.”

During the convocation, priests will pray and worship together, listen to speakers and receive ongoing formation, which is part of their vocation. 
Father Matt Eyerman, pastor of St. Malachy + Precious Blood Parish, said that priests need time to reconnect to Jesus Christ as well as to one another.

Eyerman said he hopes laypeople gather in their parishes while the priests are gone to pray for their shepherds.

“I would hope they would pray not just for their own priests but for the whole presbyterate,” Eyerman said.

All archdiocesan priests — from those being ordained May 19 to those in their 90s who still volunteer for ministry —are expected to attend the three-day gathering at Pheasant Run Resort, and priests who are members of religious congregations and who minister in the archdiocese are welcome as well. To make it possible for all priests to attend, Cardinal Cupich has asked parishes to suspend daily Masses during the convocation.

“If this is going to be our time together, why not have everyone there?” Zamora said. “Inevitably, in an organization, there’s going to be groups within the group. It’s important for us to be able to put aside whatever types of walls we have put up and build bridges to our brothers, so we can help our parishioners build bridges to one another.”


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