FLAGSTAFF – – More than 160 priests from all over the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix gathered in Flagstaff this week for four days of prayer, fellowship and formation during the 2023 Priest Convocation.

Msgr. Peter Bui, Vicar for Clergy, helped organize the event.

“Through learning together, our priests come back to our parish communities more equipped with shared experiences and renewed in prayer,” said Msgr. Bui. “They’re also encouraged and supported through fellowship with each other and the bishop.”

The gathering assists priests in learning “how we can help in concrete ways our parish communities to grow in their relationship with Christ,” Msgr. Bui added.

This year’s convocation had one of the highest attendances ever. Normally the event takes place every other year.

“Moving forward we will schedule it annually since it’s such a great help for our priests and their perseverance in their ministry,” Msgr. Bui said. The gathering gives them tools to help them to be better priests for their parish communities, he noted.

The four-day convocation featured Morning and Evening Prayer, a holy hour of eucharistic adoration, Mass and group discussions. The spiritual dimension is key, Msgr. Bui said, since Christ is “the source of everything that we do, of our vocation as priests and bishop.”

The fellowship built into the convocation is also an important ingredient. Priests have the opportunity to meet with friends, priests in their support group and in their deanery.

“They can have that fellowship and be encouraged that they are supported by their brother priests,” Msgr. Bui said.