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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

Joy To The World - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

A Beatific Vision

St John records: I had a vision of a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb?they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God" (Rev 7:9-12). For Teresa, Glen and me the one month tour from mid-September over nations of Europe and Asia was a rich foretaste of this heavenly hope. For wherever we went, we saw the Lord gathering faithful of different races and tongues to rejoice in the liberating, life giving language of the Spirit.

England: Pentecost Revisited

Our first stopover was for the 5-day family renewal retreat at the historic St George's Cathedral in Southwark, London. Decades before during World War II a large segment of the ceiling was burnt down by an air attack. This time around however it was a different fire that lit up this glorious Gothic Cathedral. For literally the fire of the Holy Spirit broke the ice and filled the hearts of all gathered with the warmth and comfort of God's love.

Though the timing was peculiar and the weather was uncomfortably cold, over 1500 thronged the church. On the very first day of the retreat the vicar exclaimed: "What magic is going on here? I have never seen so many people gather like this in church." The answer to this came from the very lips of the Archbishop Most Rev. Kevin McDonald, present at the last day of the retreat. Seeing the happy mix of blacks, whites and browns he expressed to us a precious testimony: "I am very happy to see such a multicultural congregation in attendance. It is only the Holy Spirit who can unite and form such a rejoicing community." He paralleled it to the first community borne of the first Pentecost where "the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard the apostles speaking in his own language" (Acts 2:6). "Good News" the official magazine of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Britain wrote about the retreat, "The event was significant in many ways?God is bringing a new unity between the different cultural realities for the benefit of the United Kingdom, particularly London." The Archbishop later wrote to the organizers, "I am glad that the 'Friends of Potta-UK' retreat went so well and seems to have borne such good fruit."

Divine - A Light To The Nations

Jesus has said, "A city set on a hill cannot be hid" (Mt 5:14). Every time we have gone out on such outreaches we have clearly been told in the testimonies of the people, the glorious and special call that the Divine Centre has received from the Lord, in saving people and reuniting families. Wherever we went people we had never met before personally would come up to us with broad smiles and spontaneous overflowing joy to recount to us their experience of salvation at the Divine Retreat Centre. They spoke of prayers that had been answered, prophesies fulfilled strengthening their faith, of amazing healings, of families being reunited, of the younger generation that was leading families in prayer and witness.

We could clearly hear the voice of God's commissioning to the Divine Retreat Centre, "I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness" (Isaiah 42:6,7).

Retreatant Missionaries Passing On The Flame

The Lord has revealed to us how the Divine Centre's mission was as much the mission of those making retreats here. They had caught the fire of the Spirit and wherever they went they in turn were passing on the flame of faith.

Ten thousands flock in every week to the retreat centre. And the fruit of their renewal was seen in the attendance in these programs overseas. Hardly any formal publicity was made. Retreat experience drew people together to work for and worship at these congregations. In England as in the other venues abroad the way the crowds thronged in was testimony only to this.

In England the couple Benjamin and Zita Vaz along with members of the English Charismatic Renewal Service had prepared and set the tone for the Southwark program. In Germany Isabell and Raffy Vazhapilly and other friends of DRC led arrangements. Raffy Vazhapilly in fact pioneered the youth wing at Divine Retreat Centre. It was Sr Margaret Wong and Grace and Francis Leung who set the tone for the intensely spiritual atmosphere in Hong Kong. In Singapore it was the indomitable former-Buddhist Doris Nar who got together families for the renewal programs.

Seeds For A Dream: Mission In Munich

Fr Willi Huber had participated some years ago in a retreat at DRC. And a dream took shape in him to build such a missionary community in Europe. In Munich along with Raffy and Isabell, he organised a 2-day parish renewal for his all German congregation at St Ulrich's. As their local paper read the following week the 200 German participants were quite astounded by the power of the Word and the commitment it calls for.

Historic All Europe Convention

Fr Huber's dream was taking concrete shape at Cologne. Over thousand Germans and Indians participated in this 5-day family renewal convention. It was made possible by the efforts of Jolly Padayattil, Raffy V. and the many collaborators spread across Europe. Fr. Mathew Naikomparambil V.C., Fr. George Panackal V.C., Fr. Martin Kalamparambil V.C., joined Teresa, Glen and me. While the program on the first day was held at St Teresia's, the second day itself the venue had to be shifted since the crowds had swollen up. Simultaneous retreats were held in German, English and Malayalam.

Wherever we went we found friends. Even the preparations for this convention were flagged off by the blessings of His Eminence the Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne. He had visited DRC a few years ago and was taken up by what he saw, to quote his own words, "faith in flames." On the final day of the convention Archbishop Most Rev. Jacob Thoomkuzhy of Thrissur celebrated the Holy Mass and gave the concluding homily.

Jesus Culture

One could not but miss the special relevance the European outreaches had for the migrant Indian families. A very real issue here was the double culture conflict. While within the homes the families insisted on an Indian culture, at schools and workplace society demanded another culture. The net result was that the new generation felt they neither fitted in here nor there. This conflict of cultures was beginning to weaken family ties and shake the foundation of the sense of identity of an entire generation. The special mission and message of the retreat that touched the hearts of those gathered was that this culture conflict and alienation could only be quelled by the generations working together to foster the "Christian culture". Parents were exhorted to love and instil in the children this culture where Jesus would be the dominant influence and the directing voice. Instead of fighting over skin-deep issues such as style of clothing, eating and so on parents were asked to instead insist on gospel values in living.

Entering China

This first ever retreat at Hong Kong was organised by the Volunteers of Suffering under the spiritual leadership of the much-admired Sr. Margaret. For the all-Chinese congregation it was a new experience of the vibrance of the Word. A people used to a hectic life they gave themselves sincerely and fruitfully for this time. It was amazing to see that the entire congregation that was at attendance for the retreat during the five days, sat and worshipped all the nights before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration. Oriented towards the Eucharist in the year of the Eucharist, the retreat was so extraordinarily anointed. A huge number of sick came in and healings abounded.

Renewal In Singapore

Singapore is built on a rock. And the people of Singapore though grounded in business are beginning to look for the sure foundation - towards a living experience of Christ. Over these years groups from here have been coming to DRC. And this time two growth retreats were held for the group that was striving sincerely to live their call in their predicament.

Fullness Of Joy

It was a time of rejoicing that the Good News of Jesus promises to bring. We have seen the great working of the Lord among peoples of different tribes, tongues and races. And when we see His graciousness we can only cry out with the heavenly hosts, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen" (Rev 7:12).

 
Divine Updates

39th 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 19 - 24, 2019

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - drcsydney@gmail.com. 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, 2019

POWER 2019 at Divine Retreat Centre

DRC is back with the highlight of the year: the 14th International Youth Conference - POWER 2019. The very best international preachers and gospel bands will be here to lead us into worship. Be there to experience a totally different atmosphere of prayer. A Couples' Retreat and a Kids' Retreat will be held simultaneously. Don't miss it.

Date: July 21 - July 26, 2019

Divine Retreat Schedules

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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.

MALAYALAM RETREATS

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

OTHER LANGUAGES

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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