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BUNDU TUHAN – Father John Prior of the Divine Word Society facilitated the annual clergy retreat at the Bundu Tuhan Retreat Centre here on 15-18 Sept 2014.
Anything can distract a person from God; both in the physical and spiritual realm. Priestly life, though dedicated to serving and loving God, can also be affected. Priests are also distracted from the very source of their vocation because of their busy schedule, with many things to be done and many people to be served. This is the very reason that priests are in need of their annual retreat to listen to God’s Word and to support and encourage each other in their common vocation.
The participants came from the three dioceses of Sabah.
Fr Prior, who is currently serving as a lecturer in Indonesia, guided the inter-diocesan priests’ retreat.
The programme, consisting of 8 sessions, was spaced out with one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each session has a specific theme, namely The God I Believe In, Proclaiming The Gospel, True Worship, Mission At The Fault Lines, Eucharistic Service, Compassion Versus Rules, Jesus The Prophet and on Mission. Silence was mostly maintained throughout the retreat except during mealtime. Silence helped the priests to discern, reflect, as well as to make individual recommitment to their priestly vocation. Mealtime fellowship filled the need of and strengthened solidarity in fellowship for the priests across the three arch/dioceses who gathered twice a year – the first is in January for the combined priests meeting and in September for the annual retreat.
In this retreat, some of the areas the priests were helped were:
– awareness of the key relationships in their life with one another, with God and with the faithful
– focus on conscience in the light of their pastoral ministry
– in solidarity with the victims of society in reliving the biblical vision clearly and prophetically in the midst of the uncertain times.
Therefore, as priests, life-witness is our proclamation, as we allow God to renew our whole life (attitudes and direction) according to God’s design.
As the priests have been so blessed by this unique retreat, it is also our desire to share it with parishioners.
Here is an interesting quotation given by Fr John Prior taken from St Augustine of Hippo worth pondering, “Many people belong to God but do not belong to the church and many people belong to the church but do not belong to God”. – Fr Rhobby Mojolou