The Mission Retreat
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:57 AM [+]
Vegas Post #3
Recognizing the extent of my inexperience, I none-the-less will note that I have never seen so many priests in one place. Black abounded.
Some of them I know - like Fr. Jonah from St. John's monastery - but many more I'd never met. I was also able to meet Bishop BENJAMIN, who seems like an altogether ordinary guy who might very well be your next door neighbor. And I mean that in a very positive way - he projects a real sense of approachability, both in his appearance and in how he speaks.
I find myself impressed by the missionary zeal being expressed through the talks - not a raging out of control fire sort of zeal, but a controlled, humble, and intelligent one that is taking serious the Great Commission.
More intriguing is that there seems to be a real sobriety about the problems that the OCA faces - particularly, I am told in east coast parishes where one all too often finds ethnic ghettos that in one way or another turns the authority of priests and bishops upon their heads. I was encouraged to seem this being perceived as an issue, even though I am very much unfamiliar with it personally.
Except, when I went to my family reunion, I met a number of Orthodox people - either in the OCA or in the Carpatho-Russian Archdiocese. What I learned is that there is a very evident trend amongst these very old ethnic parishes: many people of my father's generation or older were Orthodox, but hardly ANY of mine were.
The reason for this is quite clear, the people of my generation had become assimilated to North America - they had become Americans first, Slovaks second. But their parishes had not done so in any way whatsoever. Slavonic was still used and the Church was all too easily identified with their ethnicity rather than something that would save them. It's tragic, and it continues.