Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America Great Lenten Pastoral Retreat

According to the custom of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, each year the Diocesan clergy assemble at an appointed time during the Great Lent to serve the Divine Services and to partake of the Holy Mysteries of Confession and Communion. This year the appointed time and place for this gathering for the clergy of the northern half of the diocese was February 27 and 28 at the Diocesan Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God in Des Plaines, IL. The clergy of the southern half of the diocese will meet in Oklahoma City for the feast of the patron of the parish there, St. Benedict of Nursia, March 26 and 27.

The retreat for the clergy of the northern half of the diocese began with a tea hosted by Bishop Peter at the social hall of the Protection Cathedral on the afternoon of February 27. This gathering gave the clergy the opportunity to come together in an informal atmosphere, to discuss pastoral questions, and to strengthen each other in their ministries through dialog of shared challenges and best practices in parish life. Following the tea the clergy gathered in the cathedral church for the serving of the Mystery of Unction. Bishop Peter led this service accompanied by six priests of the diocese. Other of the clergy sang in the men's choir headed by Reader Michael Gill, the Cathedral Choir Director. Archbishop Alypy of Chicago and Mid-America prayed at the service and was anointed with the assembled clergy and laity.

On Wednesday morning, February 28, the clergy again congregated in the cathedral church for the preparatory services chanted before the Divine Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts. Many of the clergy partook of the Mystery of Confession at this time. Bishop Peter presided at the Divine Liturgy while the priests and deacons of the Diocese gathered there together concelebrated. Archbishop Alypy prayed in the altar during the service and partook of the Divine Mysteries along with the assembled clergy.

Following the Divine Liturgy the clergy convened in the Cathedral hall to receive instructions from Bishop Peter on various topics and to ask questions regarding contemporary issues within the life of the Russian Church. Bishop Peter informed the clergy of the details of the reconciliation pilgrimage and Divine Services to be held in Russia this spring. Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Senior Priest of the Synodal Cathedral of the Mother of God of the Sign, being present for the retreat, was able to answer additional questions in this regard. Following the gathering of the clergy a Diocesan Council meeting was held as was a planning session for the upcoming symposium regarding the 1600 th anniversary of the repose of St John Chrysostom in St Louis, MO.

The clergy of the Diocese, as is the case each year, departed for their home parishes reinvigorated and strengthened in their ministries for the sake of having met together under the direction of Archbishop Alypy and Bishop Peter, and for having fortified the mutual bonds of support, which are a hallmark of the brotherly relations of the clergy of this diocese, amongst themselves.

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