I have a few things to say about this...

1) Too bad the Church does not see fit to have a retreat or even a SUPPORT GROUP for the survivors.

2) The Cliff House? How inappropriate...

http://www.cliffhousemaine.com/ (I've always wanted to go there, but cannot afford it, it's very exclusive)

3) "Priests won't be tempted to tend to Parish business if they are 2 and 1/2 hours away" EXCUSE ME, but all they have to do is go down town Ogunquit and have all the fun they want. If they can't find any teens or pre-adolescents, they might want to check out a few of the gay and straight bars open year round. They best not make it so far north as my home town...

4) One small step forward for priesthood, one large step back for survivors.

Nuff said. Sorry if you take offense (esp. (((((GOOTIE)))))))))) That's not who I am upset with. It's the leadership. How insensitive toward the survivors is my take.

Springfield priests to attend retreat

Monday, September 16, 2002
By BILL ZAJAC

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield will be without almost all of its priests for several days this week.

All 125 or so active diocesan priests will be attending a two-day convocation at The Cliff House resort in Ogunquit, Maine, from Tuesday-Thursday.

The absence of priests means there will be fewer daily Masses in the diocese and funeral services may be postponed until priests return.

"Parishioners have been told by their parish priests about the changes and funeral directors have been notified," said the Monsignor Richard S. Sniezyk, vicar general of the diocese.

A similar first-time, two-day retreat was held two years ago at The Cliff House.

"Priests appreciated the opportunity to gather and share some collegiality to have an informal dialogue in an informal setting," Sniezyk said.

"The Wellness of Priests" is the theme of this year's gathering, at which sex abuse expert the Rev. Stephen J. Rossetti and spiritual wellness director Brother James R. Zullo will be the featured speakers.

Also, the Most Rev. Thomas L. Dupre, the bishop of the Springfield diocese, will be giving a "state of the diocese address," according to Sniezyk.

"I'm sure he will open it up to concerns that priests may have," Sniezyk said.

The retreat is being held outside the diocese to prevent priests from being tempted to attend to parish business, according to Sniezyk.

"By getting out of the diocese, there are no distractions. I don't think anyone is going to drive home two and a half hours to say Mass," said Sniezyk.

Sniezyk said the retreat's cost of about $25,000 is justified, even amid concerns about parish and other collections being down this year.

"If people want their priests to serve them and be healthy, then you need things like this for their own development," Sniezyk said.

"Priests just can't keep going on and on and on. They need opportunities to recharge themselves," Sniezyk said.

The Rev. Thomas M. Shea, pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Springfield, said the gathering of diocesan clergy is a rare opportunity to share common concerns.

"This gives us an opportunity to dig more deeply into things that we sometimes don't have enough time to address," Shea said.

Shea said it's important for clergy to focus on the needs of parishioners, and not their own needs, despite the crisis in the church.

"The needs of parishioners are still the same," said Shea, adding that professional development that occurs at a convocation can help enhance clergy's service to their communities.

Catholics who attend daily Mass are encouraged to attend Mass at churches that are operated by religious orders, such as St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Basilica in Chicopee, Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Springfield, St. Ann Mission of West Springfield.

Some parishes, such as Holy Cross Parish in Springfield, will have a communion service conducted by a parish deacon or pastoral minister at the time of the usual daily Mass.

Featured speaker Rossetti is vice president and chief operating officer of Saint Luke Institute in Maryland, which specializes in psychiatric treatment of clergy.

The Rev. Richard R. Lavigne of Chicopee was treated at St. Luke Institute as a condition of his sentence after pleading guilty in 1992 to two charges of molestation. Bill Zajac can be reached at wza jac@union-news.com

>This gives us an opportunity to dig more deeply into things that we sometimes don't have enough time to address.

The Rev. Thomas M. Shea

2002 UNION-NEWS. Used with permission.

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