Weekday Mass put on hold for four days in June for Chicago priests to ‘recharge’

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Congregants attend Mass at Holy Name Cathedral in April 2015. | Brian Jackson/ For the Sun-Times

Ask anyone in the nine-to-five world about the value of taking a few days off from the office, and they’ll tell you it can cleanse the soul.

Catholic priests are no exception.

It might not be a tropical vacation, but priests in the Chicago Archdiocese will take four days next month away from their day-to-day routines — including weekday Masses — for a retreat at a west suburban resort from June 18-21.

The archdiocese is advising weekday congregants to check with their parishes about other possible prayer services during the “priests’ convocation,” a gathering that has taken place about once every three years since Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s tenure, and the first since Cardinal Blase Cupich arrived in Chicago.

“They are gatherings of all the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago to build camaraderie and to recharge their ‘spiritual batteries,'” an archdiocese spokeswoman said.

“Just as it is for any parent and caregiver, the work of our priests is a 24/7 responsibility,” vicar-general Rev. Ron Hicks wrote in a statement last week. “And as any parent would know, a moment away to tend to one’s own health and well-being is essential to that of the entire family.”

With a convocation theme of “One in Christ: Brotherhood. Diversity. Gratitude,” the priests will attend prayer and workshop sessions. San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy is the keynote speaker.

“I call our entire Catholic community to support our priests’ absence and to pray for the success of our convocation,” Hicks wrote. “A healthy, spiritually vivified priest leads a healthy, spiritually vivified parish.”

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