Almost 50 years ago the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council reflected on the meaning of the priesthood and its relationship to the People of God:
The Ministry of the Priest
“In the measure in which they participate in the office of the apostles, God gives priests a special grace to be ministers of Christ among the people. They perform the sacred duty of preaching the Gospel, so that the offering of the people can be made acceptable and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Through the apostolic proclamation of the Gospel, the People of God are called together and assembled. All belonging to this people, since they have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, can offer themselves as “a sacrifice, living, holy, pleasing to God” (Rom 12:1). Through the ministry of the priests, the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is made perfect in union with the sacrifice of Christ. He is the only mediator who in the name of the whole Church is offered sacramentally in the Eucharist and in an unbloody manner until the Lord himself comes. The ministry of priests is directed to this goal and is perfected in it.”
– Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (Presbyterorum Ordinis), #2
The Secretariat for Clergy and Consecrated Life in the Diocese of Harrisburg provides resources and opportunities for the continued spiritual growth, intellectual development, and well-being of the clergy of the Diocese.
The Office for the Continuing Formation of Priests promotes, as Pope Saint John Paul II so aptly says, the important task of rekindling within each priest the divine gift of Holy Orders:
“The ongoing formation of priests, whether diocesan or religious, is the natural and absolutely necessary continuation of the process of building priestly personality which began and developed in the seminary or the religious house with the training program which aimed at ordination…”
– Pastores Dabo Vobis, # 71
This office organizes and provides for the annual Continuing Education Workshop which is mandated for the priests of the Diocese. During this weeklong conference the presbyterate benefits from presentations in various academic and spiritual concerns. This week offers a direct benefit to the priest and the parish alike.
Also organized by this office is the yearly Retreat for Priests offered at the Priestfield Pastoral Center in Kearneysville, West Virginia.
Clerics “are equally bound to make time for spiritual retreats according to the prescripts of particular law.”
– Code of Canon Law, §276.4
Continuing Education Committee
The Continuing Education Committee which plans these important retreats includes:
- Very Rev. William C. Forrey, Ex-Officio
- Rev. John M. Kuchniski
- Rev. James E. Lease
- Rev. Kyle S. Sahd
- Rev. Dwight D. Schlaline
- Rev. Mark M. Speitel
- Rev. Neil S. Sullivan