This week, all the active priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are expected to be present at a three-day convocation, in Dublin, Ohio, outside Columbus. Retired priests are invited, but not required, to come. These happen every five years, and their purpose is some intensive learning or collaboration on some particular topic or concern. Last time the focus was dealing with pastoral responsibilities in a time of not enough priests. This time -- my first -- the topic is "The Spirituality of Managing Change."
So we arrived Monday afternoon, had pictures taken for a directory, and had a social, dinner, and our first session. Several sessions on Tuesday, with an evening off. Today it is sessions all day. These are punctuated by prayer and Mass.
As with this sort of thing -- which is like a convention -- the non-official stuff is useful and important. Many may not realize that we don't all know each other, and we don't often see one another outside of a special Mass or a penance service. So a lot of getting acquainted and so forth. Also, the archdiocese is about 100 miles from north-to-south, so those of us in one region are less well informed about the doings in others.
Meanwhile, there is some down time, and while the schedule has us in sessions all day, this isn't nearly as stressful or demanding as what usually arises in the parish. So I always bring along extra work, stuff I never seem to get to in the parish. I brought a large bin that is my "to read" file; and I have emptied it out, whittling it down to a very small pile of items needing either action, filing, or still to read. I brought along the holy father's exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, and have finished outlining the talks I am preparing (I have written four talks, and I can now write up the other two). I've given some thought to Sunday's readings, and some other matters deserving some consideration.
Now, as to what awaits me upon my return tomorrow afternoon? I'll find out soon enough.