The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Sts Peter and Paul, Melbourne was held a retreat on September 24 – 27, 2021 on the theme of Prayer led by Fr. Michael Cassie, OCSO (Order of Cistercians), attended by priests, deacons, subdeacons and sisters.
At the beginning of the pandemic with all its limitations, each of us hoped for some quick end and return to the usual circumstances of life, which once quenched the thirst with some predictions that we heard in the news from official sources. But in Australia, people have been living in quarantine restrictions for the second year already, priests are not allowed to attend spiritual retreats or Eparchial Soborchyks, meetings or even visit each other, and there are thousands of kilometers between parishes.
- Retreat for clergy led by Bishop Mykola Bychok took place in the Melbourne Australia Eparchy
- Fr. Foote OP leads Eparchy retreat
- Eparchy hold clergy conference in Pallotti College
The church experiences the life during or after a pandemic uses new formats to be accessible and open in its mission. So, one of the responds to this is to use modern level of communication, in particular the online format. At the present time, without clear predictions from local states governments about the possibility of traveling around the country, with the blessing of our Eparch Bishop Mykola Bychok, the Days of Spiritual Retreat were held online through Zoom.
In the beginning of the Retreat Father Michael Casey introduced, that he would like to give a vision of prayer that will help deepen our experience and to enable our prayer to become more energetic. St John Climacus, “No one can teach another to pray, just as you can’t teach another to see, except to open their eyes!” The Retreat master continued the conference: “Prayer is a gift from God to those who pray. St John Chrysostom tells all of us: “Find the key to your heart; you will see this key will also open the door of the Kingdom.”
During the days retreat master, presented the perspectives of the prayer in which we are, namely in the following directions: ontological, Christ centric, ecclesiological, biblical and practical understandings.
Father Michael compared our spiritual life, to working on the land in agriculture, whose workers live by the signs of the times according to the four seasons. It was a unique opportunity to stop our movements and start to listen to God, to allow ourselves to understand ourselves and the challenges we live in. Retreat master reminded at this day: “When everything seems at its worst, that is when God is closest to us in a mysterious way”.
At the end of the retreat our clergy sincerely expressed a gratitude to the retreat master, Father Michael Casey. Afterwards, all participants share their thoughts of hope that the next spiritual retreat will take place in the usual format, gathered together at the Lord’s Table, we will again meditate on God’s Word. In conclusion, His Eminence Bishop Mykola Bychok gave his Episcopal blessing.