Father Rafic reports on the annual retreat of the Saint James Vicariate priests that took place from September 25 to 28, 2017.

priests retreat 2017

From Monday, September 25 until Thursday, September 28, the priests of the Saint James Vicariate participated in their retreat on Mount Tabor. Once again, we enjoyed the gracious hospitality of the Franciscans, who take care of this place, and the service of Mondo X, the group that administers the hospitality there. The beauty of the place, the welcoming faces of our hosts, the delicious meals, each and every detail contributed to the success of these days.

For the first two days of the retreat, we had the privilege of having with us Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate. His presence was important at this stage as the priests of the Vicariate experience a new reality from a number of standpoints, after the resignation of Father David Neuhaus from all his duties in August because of exhaustion. Father Pierbattista taught us on three themes: to ask to see the face of God, the trials of Jesus and life in the Church. He established his meditations on a variety of readings from the Old and New Testaments and connected these readings to the life of the Local Church today and to our lives as priests.

On Wednesday, after the Archbishop left for Jerusalem, we took a day in silence and prayer as preparation for the meeting on Thursday in which we planned to sit together and discuss the life of our kehillot and the various activities. In this time of transition, it was important to think retrospectively about where we have succeeded and where we have not succeeded in the past years, and to think about the future.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity” (Psalm 133:1) said King David in the psalm: together with him we can say these words wholeheartedly at the end of this retreat. Thanks be to God!