For the first four years after ordination here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, we have an overnight gathering for the new priests. Twice a year, we spend an afternoon, evening and next morning going over how life is going in our respective ministries. (It often turns into a gripe session, but we won't mention that!)
The best part about it is connecting with the guys that we spent a few years with in the seminary. Who says you can't turn back the clock? Within the first five minutes, we were cutting on each other just as we had done in the seminary! Ah, fraternal support, what a great thing!
The truth of the matter, though, is that there are certain things that you can only talk about with other priests, things like how you deal with a pastor who is making life tough, how to adjust to a new parish, prayer and spirituality, finding time off versus 'time on.'
A new twist was the timing of this session. Over the last few years, our summer session was held at the seminary, but not during the academic year. Obviously, that wasn't the case this year, as the guys had started the year a few weeks back. It was a great opportunity for the guys who had been out for a few years to meet the 'new men' at the seminary. It gives us all a connection over about ten years of seminary time.
Tomorrow, it's back to the Big House on Beechmont for the Archdiocesan Central Offices Day of Reflection.