This past week I attended the Newly Ordained Priest Conference at the Carmelite Retreat Centre in Niagara Falls.
It was in the early 2000s that the Ontario bishops wanted to provide more support and ongoing formation for young priests who were just out of seminary. Since then, they have offered this biennial conference for all Ontario priests ordained five years or less. This year, they extended the age to seven years ordained due to the missed years of covid.
It was a great conference. There were about 40 young priests in attendance. Many of us had gone to seminary together and hadn’t seen each other in years.
The days were pretty routine, very much like seminary: breakfast -morning prayer – 2-hour class – lunch – 2-hour class – Mass – Dinner – Holy Hour – Social. We didn’t have a lot of down time.
The study topics included: Technology and Media, Ministering to those with Same-Sex Attraction, Transgenderism Today, Priestly Relationships, Bishop and Priest Relationship.
We could have spent a whole week on any one of those topics. Despite the lack of time, it was good to learn more about relevant topics.
In the final evaluation the week brought good talks and great fraternity, but I think more important than those was the reminder that there is a tone of good, holy, and young priests out there. We just never see them all together.
Fr. David Reitzel