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The Bishop’s Page
      January 18, 2017

Dear Friends in Christ,

The clergy of the Diocese and I will be away next week on our annual retreat at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, beginning with Evensong on Monday, Jan. 23, and concluding late Thursday morning, the 26th.  This is a traditional silent retreat, focused on the Daily Offices and Daily Mass, and comprised of eight spiritual meditations. These meditations are usually given by a retreat conductor, who is brought in from outside the Diocese. However, this year I have asked that the four senior active priests resident in the Diocese take on this responsibility. They are Fr. Jay Atwood, Fr. Tom Hightower, Fr. Bill Crary, and Fr. Stanley Maneikis, and each will give two meditations on the theme “I will go unto the altar of God,” dealing with different aspects of the priest’s ministry in the Holy Eucharist. About 56 or 57 clergy will be in attendance.

As Chief Pastor of the clergy, I have always seen this annual retreat time together as an essential ingredient in the nourishment of priestly spirituality and in strengthening of collegiality among us. The diocesan Customary states:  “An annual retreat for all clergy is considered mandatory by the Bishop,” and if any clergy are unable to attend this retreat, they are asked to notify me in writing of an alternative plan for their own personal retreat. I have found these annual gatherings to be restful, inspirational, and encouraging in many different ways.

I ask all of you, the faithful laity of the Diocese, to pray for God’s blessing on our time together, and if possible, not to contact your clergy while we are away on retreat. Obviously you should call in an emergency situation, but otherwise, please try to leave emails, texts, and phone calls until the end of the week, after the silence has been broken.

It is a joy to serve as pastors, priests and spiritual leaders to the people of this wonderful Diocese. Thank you all for your encouragement, support and prayers, throughout the year.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Third Bishop of Fort Worth