Grateful for retreat, work of Presbyteral Council - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Grateful for retreat, work of Presbyteral Council

Now that we have observed Labor Day weekend and our young people are back in school, many of us experience a rhythm of life different from that of the week before the holiday.


Just prior to Labor Day, I enjoyed the blessing of my annual retreat at Eastern Point Retreat Center in Gloucester, Mass. That Jesuit-operated facility has been my choice for retreat for several years. I find Ignatian spirituality very life-giving. I also enjoy the oceanside beauty of the place and find deeply helpful the peaceful silence in which the retreat is carried out.

My director this year was Sister Carolyn Capuano, HM. I found her to be wise, understanding and encouraging, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience with her. Another facet of the retreat for which I am most grateful was the company of Father Jim Schwartz, pastor of St. Joseph in Penfield. Although retreatants do not converse with one another once the retreat begins, it was a grace to be there with Jim. Beside being a friend for many years, Jim was a link to and a reminder of our solidarity with all of you at home. In our brief self-introductions to one another on the evening that the retreat began, Jim told us that this was his 20th consecutive retreat at Eastern Point. I don’t know what Jim did, but before I left Eastern Point I submitted my application for a retreat there at the same time next August.

The day after Labor Day, we had the first meeting of our Presbyteral Council for 2010-11. At the heart of the meeting was an unhurried opportunity for each member to speak about the pastoral themes to which they think we should devote our energies this year. I always enjoy these council meetings, but I was particularly impressed with the thoughtfulness with which the members expressed their points of view. No less was I impressed by the obviously careful ways in which the members listened to one another.

A second significant part of this first meeting was the election of our four officers for the year who, together with Vicar General Joseph Hart and me, serve as the council’s executive committee. The year the members elected Father Paul Tomasso, pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Geneva, as chairperson. The vice chairperson is Father Daniel McMullin, director of Catholic campus ministry at Cornell University. Our secretary will be Father William Spilly, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Hamlin. Rounding out the group is Father Jeffrey Tunnicliff, parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community.

Through the election process, the happy thought crossed my mind that we were blessed with a rich pool of members from which to draw. As it turned out, the members chose very wisely. That was abundantly obvious when the executive committee convened Sept. 8 to review the evaluations of the Sept. 7 meeting, plan the agenda for next month’s meeting and to do some longer-range planning for this year’s council activities.

As I express my gratitude to all the members of the Presbyteral Council and its officers, I ask you please to pray for God’s blessings on our work — for the good of the diocese and the well-being of our presbyterate.

Peace to all.

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