A Retreat held at the Christ the King Church in Mt Roskill Auckland from October 8 to 13 was a transcendent experience.
India based Divine Retreat Centre (DRC) Founder and Director Father Augustine Vallooran conducted the Retreat, which evinced the piety and interest of a cross-section of New Zealand’s Christian community.
The Mission commenced with a Holy Mass led by Most Reverend Bishop Patrick Dunn and involved the ‘Divine Singing Couple’ Glen and Teresa La’ Rive, one of the core ministry leaders at the DRC based in Potta, Muringoor in the South Indian state of Kerala.
This Retreat brought together people of different ethnicities to participate in a powerful collective experience. It was a celebration of the power of God to reach across communal barriers and create a wonderful tapestry of diversity.
Among those who attended the weeklong event were Maoris, Tongans, Samoans, Europeans, Sri Lankans, Indians, Filipinos, Chinese and people of different faiths.
They were unified by the transformative grace of God.
By the end of the Retreat week, the Church witnessed more than 1000 people, who had spent seven hours on each day, experiencing a unique presence of divinity and oneness that would remain with them for the rest of their lives.
It imbued every participant with a sense of Mission, that we can change the world by changing our own lives; that we are not alone, God is with us as a Divine Being and through our neighbours.
We are truly a congregation of the Faithful.
Fr Augustine, Glen and Teresa delivered the core message, which was to introspect and invigorate our faith, stressing on need to strengthen our relationship with God through Love.
The Retreat covered the various aspects of human life, from youth and family to the solemnity of marriage. Various community groups conducted the praise and worship session.
DRC NZ Chairman Wenceslaus Anthony said the Retreat was a unique experience that touched the lives of many people.
“They were not the same persons prior to the Retreat,” he said.
Fr Augustine said that sinning was a choice, as was going to Hell. With so many opportunities to repent (because we are only human), there was no need to choose Hell.
“If we stay close to God, we can easily reject Satan’s Injected Nature (Sin); if we do not, then Sin will eat away at our spirit like a cancer. We have to believe that God wants us saved and offers us many ways. Confession is a humble acknowledgement of our frailty and a renewed request for God to re-enter our lives after we have rejected Him through Sin,” Father Augustine said during his daily discourses.
He said the Family that prays together stays together.
“We need to find ways to bring God into our family and married lives, to invite heaven to help us in this impossible task of raising children and keeping families together in these difficult times. Let Jesus into our lives, pray the daily rosary together, and invite our Blessed Mother into our lives,” he said.
During his stay in Auckland, Father Augustine, Glen and Teresa visited the plant and offices of the Kalamazoo Group and prayed for the progress, prosperity and peace all over the world.
Louella Shetty is a Member of the DRC NZ and its Good News and Communication Team. A member of the St Therese Parish, she evinces much interest in the Parish community.