Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

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Clergy Retreat 2010

To our spiritual children, members of our Archdiocese:

May the peace and grace of our Lord be with you all.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank God for His blessings upon the recent gathering of our clergy for our annual Archdiocesan Retreat. Our pastors from across the Archdiocese gathered at St. Mary’s Villa in Sloatsburg, New York, from March 8th through the 11th, to pray and study together the word of God, as brothers in the priesthood of Christ. The theme of our 2010 retreat was the encouragement of Priestly Vocations among our local youth in the United States.

As a background to this theme, we studied the two Letters of Saint Paul to Timothy, where characteristics required, of one called by the Lord into His service, are described. Our gathering, in its discussions, stressed the importance of Bible study to be encouraged in all our parishes under the direction and guidance of the local clergy.

We were especially grateful for the presence of a guest speaker; Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, Director of Vocations for the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, who spoke to us concerning the encouragement of local vocations to the priesthood, and the means of promoting such vocations.
Furthermore, we were honored to have another guest speaker; Rev. Fr. Elie Kasrawany, who spoke regarding the rich hymnology (Beth Gaazo) of our Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

On Wednesday, we gathered at our Midland Ave. Chapel, along with the local faithful, to celebrate Mid Lent, and to ask our Lord to inspire our youth to consider serving the Holy Church as priests, and for their parents to be supportive of God’s Divine Calling.

As we thank you for your prayers during the occasion of our annual clergy retreat, we likewise ask that you be supportive of your children in considering God’s invitation to serve as clergy. Christ has told us that His vineyard is in need of dedicated workers. It is our duty to encourage these workers and to realize the dignity and blessings of this most Holy Calling. May the Almighty find our youth responsive to His call, and their parents eager to prayerfully encourage the Lord’s call.

In closing, we assure you of our fatherly regards and benedictions, and prayerful wishes of our Archdiocesan clergy.
Sincerely in Christ,

Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim,

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