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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Divine Call Archives

""SAY A PRAYER FOR US, YOUR PRIESTS" - By Rev. Fr. Michael Payyapilly V.C.

The Catholic world is reeling under the huge storm that has been created by the child abuse scandals by priests. Everyone is talking about it and the media is highlighting it. It pains to see such things happening. It pains to see and hear what has happened in the past. I am not going to start a discussion about what took place of how it was handled. That is not my intention here. There is something else that troubles me a lot. I have been hearing a lot of statements being made about priests in general because of this. A person went to the extent of saying that "I don't feel like going to Church anymore to hear the great and lofty ideals that these people preach." We have reached a stage when people are thinking of giving up on the Church and its defence and priests in general are being blamed for it. The world media has highlighted what the world thinks about these priests and also priests in general and also what it thinks about our Holy Father. Many of us Catholics are joining this outcry. And priests are being looked at with different eyes now - that eye of suspicion. And understandably so, this hurts and pains me, as I am a priest.

Today I put forward my view from the eyes of a priest. Yes I am ashamed, I must admit, about what has happened - very much ashamed about it. As is rightly pointed out by many, a priest is supposed to be one who is trusted. And at times he is trusted even more than the parent itself. A priest is meant to heal and to care and when a priest fails to do that and more so, creates more damage, it is saddening. And I do agree to it. At the same time I too feel sad that people are suddenly changing their opinions about priests. And we are being put to the sword.

But it is a shame that the acts of certain priests are things that are disturbing our faith in the Church and in the priesthood. Acts of certain priests are making us look at priests in a totally different light. But when we see all this, let us not forget the many priests who have made an impact on our lives even without us knowing it. I am a priest. That is very true. But I am also a son of lovely parents, I am also a brother to wonderful siblings, I am also an uncle to beautiful nephews and nieces. There are days when I long so much to see my parents; there are days when I would love to be with my brother and sister and their families; there are days when I want to play with my nephews and nieces. I, a priest, am human too. I too desire these very human things. But I keep that desire at bay only because I have a 'faithful' waiting outside my door, to share just a 'few' words. My brother and sister are bugged when I sleep at 12.00 a.m. and get up at 4.00 a.m. - saying that I am not getting enough sleep. How do I make them understand that I am kneeling and crying and praying for someone who has asked for my prayers? When there are times that they see me losing weight and say that I am not being fed correctly, how do I tell them that I am fasting and praying for some mother who is crying out for her wayward son or for a childless couple, who are praying, so desperately for a baby to hold in their arms? When they complain that I do not come home for any of the family functions and that I am neglecting them, how do I tell them that the faithful outside my door and their needs are now my first priority? These are things that every priest struggles with. Maybe some of us in this world never knew that we owe a lot of our lives to these men who sacrificed much, when our mothers went to them and asked them for prayers. We received a blessing and maybe we did not even realise that there was someone sitting and fasting and sacrificing all that was comfortable - just so that a mother's prayer could be answered.

Many feel that the lofty ideals that the priest speaks about, is now not worth listening to. And maybe people feel that the priest better clean up his act before getting onto the pulpit to preach. Let us not forget something - the priest on the pulpit does not preach ‘his made up' lofty ideals. But rather he preaches the ideals of Christ. He stands there as another Christ and he proclaims to us what Jesus is to proclaim. The priest is not there because he is worthy to be there. He is there because he has got a ministry to do. He is there because God called a broken individual and gave him a task to carry out. He speaks God's words at that moment. It is not a moment for us to judge how good a life the priest is living or how worthy a life does he lead. As a human being the priest might hate to stand there and proclaim only because he feels so unworthy, but even then, he is reminded that he speaks not for himself but he speaks for Christ. He cannot back out. The lofty ideals spoken are not his, it is the Lord's.

As a priest I tell every faithful: You people ask us to pray for you in your time of need and for you to overcome your weaknesses in life. Today your priests are in need of your prayers. Can you pray for them? Not only the ones who are struggling with this 'sickness' of theirs but also those who are crying in the depths of their hearts asking themselves - "What is the meaning of all this?" Can you pray for all those priests who are themselves so heartbroken by all that has happened? And also for those thousands of priests who have been faithful to you and to your family, giving up their own.

I do not justify the abuses at all. Definitely they should be punished if they are wrong. I was just sharing a priest's view point. And angle that maybe the faithful do not see. There are so many things about the priesthood that the people do not know - things that I, as a priest, am still studying as I take each step.

But as priests, our prayer lamp is burning for you tonight. And when you go to bed tonight, remember that somewhere a priest is kneeling and praying for you because your mother has asked him to do so. Your priests care for you. We would want you to remember the many times that your priests have stood by your side. They need a bit of prayers today. I am reminded of a Ballad that I studied when I was very young; something that has stuck in my mind all these years. It is called 'The Ballad of Father Gilligan' by W.B Yeats:


THE old priest, Peter Gilligan,
Was weary night and day;
For half his flock were in their beds,
Or under green sods lay.

Once, while he nodded on a chair,
At the moth-hour of eve,
Another poor man sent for him,
And he began to grieve.

"I have no rest, nor joy, nor peace,
For people die and die";
And after cried he,
"God forgive! My body spake, not I!"

He knelt, and leaning on the chair
He prayed and fell asleep,
And the moth-hour went from the fields,
And stars began to peep.

They slowly into millions grew,
And leaves shook in the wind,
And God covered the world with shade,
And whispered to mankind.

Upon the time of sparrow chirp
When the moths come once more,
The old priest, Peter Gilligan,
Stood upright on the floor.

"Mavrone, mavrone! the man has died,
While I slept on the chair."
He roused his horse out of its sleep,
And rode with little care.

He rode now as he never rode,
By rocky lane and fen;
The sick man's wife opened the door:
"Father! you come again."

"And is the poor man dead?" he cried.
"He died an hour ago."
The old priest, Peter Gilligan,
In grief swayed to and fro.

"When you were gone, he turned and died
As merry as a bird."
The old priest, Peter Gilligan,
He knelt him at that word.

"He who hath made the night of stars
For souls who tire and bleed,
Sent one of His great angels down
To help me in my need.
"He who is wrapped in purple robes,
With planets in His care,
Had pity on the least of things
Asleep upon a chair."


Divine Updates


Divine comes to Chennai with the 'Magnificat on March 10, 2018. Fr. Jacob Arimpur VC will lead the services. With special sessions for children.

Venue: Stella Maris College, Cathedral Road

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on March 17, 2018. Services to be led by Fr Jacob Arimpur VC. All are welcome. Music by Glen and Teresa La'Rive.

Venue: St. Joseph's Boys' School Chapel, Museum Road, Bangalore

38th National Youth Retreat

Our annual National Youth Retreat will be held at the Divine Retreat Centre. Come and let the word of God refresh you. Simultaneous retreats for couples, children and Bible nursery to be held. Contact Divine Youth for more details.

Date: May 20 - 25, 2018

Kannada Convention 2018

Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our annual Kannada convention in May, 2018 The convention will be blessed by the vibrant preaching of many anointed servants of God. Please come.

Date: May 6 - May 11, 2018

Konkani Convention - Kuttumb Utsov 2018

Divine Retreat Centre's annual Konkani Convention will be held at the centre. The convention will be led by Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC, Director. Talks to focus mainly on the renewal of the family. All are welcome.

Date: April 22 - April 27, 2018

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2018 - December, 2018

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2018

Hindi Convention Ojas 2018

The Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our eighth Hindi convention, in 2018. Two retreats will be held simultaneously on the campus; one for adults and another for couples and youth. All are welcome.

Date: May 27 - June 1, 2018

Divine Retreats in Australia

Fr. Michael Payyapilly will lead several special retreats across Australia - in Brisbane, Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne. Please bring your family and friends. Hear the Word and be refreshed. 

Date: February 19 - March 4, 2018

Divine Retreat Schedules


English retreats are held every week from Sunday to Friday. Special retreats are conducted for priests, religious and laity as well. Come and experience the Lord and grow in Him.


Inner healing retreats, growth retreats, couples' retreats and youth retreats in Malayalam, are led by Fr. Mathew Elavumkal, Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil and Fr. Binoy Chackanikunnel.


Retreats in Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu

Every week, retreats are held in five different regional languages of India, apart from in the local language - Malayalam. The retreats are led by Vincentian priests and supported by powerfully anointed laity of God.

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