Clergy class photo canned
THE annual group photo has been shelved but the clergy assembly went ahead this week, online.
The gathering of up to 60 priests and deacons who work in the Archdiocese is usually held over several days at St Clement’s Retreat Centre in Galong.
But yesterday and today clergy logged in to a Zoom event instead.
Former Archbishop Francis Carroll, who served from 1983 to 2006, started the assembly for professional development and for clergy to network and socialize.
“It has an education and formation component and is also an opportunity for clergy to build a sense of collaboration and fraternity,” organizer Fr Simon Falk said.
“Obviously this year we didn’t have the opportunity for informal gatherings to chat over meals which is a shame.”
The annual group photo has also gone. Retired clergy Deacon Paul Rummery and Fr Allen Crowe used to take the photo as both were professional photographers.
This year’s assembly program included:
• Cathedral Administrator Fr Trenton van Reesch led a session about different images of the church, as an organization with a plan but also a relational institution of prayerfulness that reaches out to people,
• Trauma psychologist Angela McCabe spoke about how people manage their own trauma and how clergy may be affected as they support others experiencing trauma; and
• Former international head of the L’Arche community, Eileen Glass, examined trauma in terms of what it means for a person’s spiritual life and prayer.
Mindful of “Zoom fatigue”, Fr Simon said sessions were shorter than usual as clergy have been spending so much time online.
“There was also the challenge of our clergy being different ages and so their capacity to respond to technology varies,” Fr Simon added. “Some travelled to neighboring priests’ houses to log on from there.”
A highlight of each assembly is celebrating the jubilarians; clergy clocking up ordination anniversaries of 25 or 50 years or subsequent 10-year milestones.
“The jubilarians would be featured at Mass and there would be a tribute during dinner with some speeches and comments,” Fr Simon said.
“We’ll look at doing that at the clergy retreat in November.”
The major anniversaries for 2020 are:
• 65 years – Fr Kevin Flynn,
• 60 years – Fr Bill Kennedy.
There are no 50 or 25-year celebrations in the Archdiocese but there are a handful of 40-year and 20-year anniversaries.
• 40 years – Fr Tom Thornton and Archbishop Christopher Prowse (ordained on August 16, 1980),
• 20 years – Fr Emil Milat, Deacon Joe Blackwell, Fr Peter Day and Fr Simon Falk.