September 21, 2016


The clergy of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, from across the province of Manitoba, have gathered for their annual spiritual retreat. Every year, our Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, together with all the Priests and Deacons travel to a quiet location for some four to five days of prayer and renewal under the direction of an invited speaker. This year the director, or “retreat master”, is the young Bishop of Parma, Ohio, Most Reverend Bohdan Danylo. In his talks and homilies, aside from offering the wisdom of the Church Fathers and some contemporary Catholic writers, Bishop Bohdan has been sharing his own pastoral experiences and insights. Bishop Bohdan, before his appointment to the hierarchy, served in a number of pastoral and administrative positions. He was especially known for his years as the seminary rector of the Eparchy of Stamford and formation director for those exploring a religious vocation and/or preparing for priestly ministry.

Throughout the retreat, the clergy pray together parts of the Chasoslov (Horologion), Molebens and, of course, the Eucharistic Divine Liturgy. Meals are taken together and a number of talks are given throughout the day by Bishop Bohdan. There is some time available for the participants to go out for a walk or rest. There is also some social time set aside where these ‘brothers in ministry’ - whose pastoral responsibilities sometimes don't leave them that much opportunity to see each other - can get together to share fellowship and encouragement.

One of the central themes and inspirations of the retreat is the priest-martyr Blessed Omelian Kovch, who died while imprisoned in - and serving the people of - the Nazi concentration camp of Majdanek (Poland). He was declared the Patron of Ukrainian Catholic clergy (‘dushpastyriv’) throughout the world. His life and especially his example in the face of Nazi atrocities during the German occupation of Ukraine is truly inspirational. His family could have had him released, but he asked them to stop with that effort, because he was doing the pastoral work for which he was ordained a priest. As he said, “this is the only place that I want to be!” Two icons of Blessed Omelian, produced by the Iconography Workshop of St. Anthony in Lviv, have been prominently placed at the retreat site – in the chapel and in the main conference room. These icons were brought by Metropolitan Lawrence and Bishop Bohdan from the village church in Peremyshliany, Ukraine where Blessed Omelian served as parish priest until his arrest for trying to save Jews during the Second World War. The back of the Icon has an inscription with a prayer that may be translated as; “O, Omelian, Blessed Martyr of Christ! Hear our prayer today. You are in heaven and enjoy the glory of the Saints. You see God face to face. We entreat you to ask of God, on behalf of each of us, the graces that we need.” The inscription also commemorates the occasion, which was a visit by all the Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church that were gathered for their annual Synod meeting in Ukraine. “A memento of the visit to the Church of St. Nicholas in Peremyshliany, 8 September 2016 A. D. [authentication seal of the Iconography Workshop of St. Anthony]

Please make time to pray for your clergy during this retreat and throughout the year…

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