Dear Brother Priests:
We begin with a special prayer for the health and well being of Monsignor Sharbel Lischaa. We miss him very much on this Retreat. We pray for all the retired priests as well as our two retired Bishops. We also pray for Bishop Robert Shaheen and his priests who will be on retreat next week.
Once again we begin this Retreat in worship before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Every retreat is a moment of truth when we come face to face with ourselves and Christ Jesus. We examine our conscience to see whether our share in His priestly ministry has been authentic or not. We ask, “has my priestly service been for me or for others?” Have I praised God or myself, have I enriched the Church or my own ego? Have I placed Christ above all things or have I placed myself at the center.
This past year of 2006 has been a challenging one for us individually and as a presbyterate. It has brought out the best and the worst in us. I am no exception. Nonetheless, one thing I can say for sure that there is still much beauty and faithfulness in the priesthood we share in Christ Jesus. I for one, am grateful for you my brothers.
Yet, there is so much more we need to do and to be to live authentically as priests in this world. How do we live when no one is looking? Are we the priests we ought to be? Positive criticism of bishop and priest should be a welcomed gift to us, so that we can better serve Christ and His Church. Thus our annual Retreat is a time for introspection, for questioning ourselves, for change, improvement, repentance and setting things right in our own lives so that the face of Christ can shine more brightly in our priestly lives.
And so we begin this Retreat face to face with Christ Himself present to us in the Blessed Sacrament.
+ Bishop Gregory J. Mansour
(Reprinted with permission.)