The Chicago Eparchy of St. Nicholas, with the blessing of Bishop Benedict (Aleksiychuk), held its annual 3-day spiritual conference of clergy from June 1 st through June 3 rd . Because of the Coronavirus quarantine, the conference was held entirely on-line. The presenter was Bishop Bohdan (Danylo) of the Parma Eparchy of St. Josaphat. Bishop Bohdan discussed the life and development of parishes in the United States, in the context of our pastoral program “The Vibrant Parish—a Place to Encounter the Living Christ.”
The participating clergy had an opportunity to share their own parish experiences. A major emphasis of the conference was the issue of re-assembling the faithful into parish communities after a prolonged absence from church. Priests expressed the view that besides celebrating the Liturgy and various services in two or more languages, it is essential that the clergy reach out to the faithful, participate in their lives, and become part of their shared life experience. As an example, Bishop Bohdan cited the example of a parish in which members of 11 ethnic backgrounds remain united by their love of Christ and inspired by a sense that they are needed in the community.
Many other valuable topics and reflections were discussed during the spiritual conference that relate to the development of parish life. At the conclusion of the final session, Bishop Benedict expressed his gratitude to Bishop Bohdan for sharing his experience and insights, and to the clergy for their active participation in this conference.