What are the Retreats like?

The Divine Retreats begin with the joyous proclamation of the forgiveness and salvation of the Heavenly Father, who “so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). Salvation in Jesus is experienced through a radical turning away from sin and turning to God in repentance. This offer of salvation was the first message preached by Jesus Christ as well. “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matt 4:17).

In the Sacrament of Confession, the retreatants are convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:8), their sins forgiven by the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:8), in the power of the same Holy Spirit through the ministry of the Church (Jn 20:22-23), and given a share in the victory of Jesus over sin (Jn 16:11).

From the resulting radical conversion, people are led to total self-surrender, that results in an intimate union with Jesus in the Holy Spirit, as experienced in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:56). In this intimacy, the love of God is “poured into their hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5). The heart-melting under this overwhelming outpouring of love opens, in turn, to love and forgive everyone.

This intense experience of love heals all wounds and soothes all the strains in family relationships. The bond of marriage is renewed as a sacrament of grace is incorporated into the spousal relationship between Christ and His Church.

The charism of healing is exercised in the context of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Healing is understood not in the narrow sense of bodily well-being, but as the love of God flowing into the brokenness of man to make him whole. The leadership is given by the priests in preaching and the exercise of the sacraments manifests the importance of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. All the charisms of the lay leaders such as counselling, preaching, service and so on, are harmoniously blended and channelised through the sacramental authority of the priests.

The Retreat ends with the renewal of the sacramental vows of baptism and a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit as experienced in the Sacrament of Confirmation. This all-transforming experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the fulfilment of the promise of Jesus. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This empowering of the Holy Spirit is accepted as a special grace, to withstand the temptations of the evil one and to defend and spread the faith by word and action confessing Jesus Christ as the only saviour of mankind.

The grace of these seven sacraments instituted by Christ as signs of salvation and entrusted to the Church is experienced afresh by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the renewal of Christian commitment.

Is the Vincentian preaching ministry Charismatic?

The answer to this question is both affirmative and negative. Like all renewal movements in the Church, the Vincentian Preaching ministry is also charismatic. “Send forth your spirit… and the face of the earth shall be renewed” (Ps.104:30) is the prayer of the Psalmist. It is the Spirit of God that inspired St. Vincent to start the Vincentian Renewal Movement in Paris. The saint emphasizes that the Vincentian Renewal Movement seeks to be filled and led by the Holy Spirit. However, the Vincentian Preaching ministry is not Charismatic in the sense that it is not part of the Charismatic Movement which was started in the United States and later took on an official outfit in India under the direction of the National Service Team in the year 1977. The Potta-Divine retreat movement flourished with the blessings and encouragement of the bishops, and under the direction of the authorities of the Vincentian Congregation, independently of the National Service Team. Though this preaching ministry has been highly enriched in its methodology by the Charismatic Movement, it has remained radically Vincentian in nature and structure. Spiritual renewal of the faithful, in the framework of Sacramental spirituality, will continue to be our mission in the future. “Evangelisation of the Poor” is understood by the Vincentian Congregation not only as the spiritual renewal of the people by the preaching of the Word of God, but also as a commitment to work for the human and Christian advancement of the marginalised in the society. The concluding words of Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan rings in the ears of every Vincentian, “Go and do likewise” (Lk10:37). Sharing, caring and daring to love the suffering is not a mere gesture of generosity, but an obligation for anyone who is renewed in the experience of the love of God. We are well aware that our preaching ministry becomes complete and authentic in our radical option for the poor. The words of Jesus are a command to us: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt.25:40). The early Church began as a preaching fellowship but developed as a community of love, where everyone shared everything with each other and there was no one in need (cf. Acts.4:33-35).

 

Do you accept only Catholics?

The Retreat is a Catholic Retreat Centre; However, all other denominations and faiths are most welcome to the Divine Retreat Centre

 

What do you mean by residential retreats?

Residential retreats are a time for prayer, reflection and renewal of life. It is a time to move from the daily routines of everyday life and journey in meditation of the Word of God to deepen the relationship with God.

What is the difference between Retreats, Conventions and Outreaches?

Retreats: Are residential, and last for 3 days (Friday 8:30am to Sunday 4:30pm)

Conventions: One-day events from 8:30 am till 4:30pm

Outreaches: Where one-day services are held in various parts of the UK. Keep an eye out to see if the Vincentian Priests and the Divine Team to a parish near you!

Can I attend part of the Retreat?

The residential retreat will start on Friday at 8:30am and will finish on Sunday at 4:30pm. Participation from the very start is required to get the full benefit of the retreat.

Should I take my medications during the retreats?

Yes, please continue taking your prescribed medications during the retreat days.

What are the accommodations like?

Dormitories: Most of our accommodation is in same-sex dormitories.

Family rooms: We also have family rooms available, if you come as a couple or with your family.

Can special diets be catered for?

There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian options available during the retreat. But, if you have any other specific diet requirements please bring your own food and you will be able to store it here at the Centre.

Are there any facilities with people with disabilities?              

One room is available that is easily accessible with a wheelchair. There is also an en-suite that are equipped for special needs.

Are there specific rules for the Residential retreats?

  • Silence is to be kept during the retreat.
  • Cell phones and electronic gadgets must be switched off from the beginning to the end of the retreat.
  • Punctuality and complete participation are necessary.
  • Obedience, co-operation and mutual respect are expected from retreatants.

 

Do I need to bring personal care items?

Yes. You must bring toiletries, bed sheets, blankets, pillowcases, towels, water bottle and other personal items.

Do I need to register for residential retreats?

Yes. All who wish to attend the residential retreats should register online with their name, address, phone numbers and contact details.

When do I have to register?

The registration of the residential retreats begins three months in advance. You can register online, if you are experiencing any troubles please don’t hesitate to call us.

Do you have a bookstall?

Yes. You can buy the Bible, prayer books, rosary, CDs, notebooks, pens, religious articles from our bookshop. Please bring cash, as card payment cannot be processed in the Abbey.

 

Can I organise a private retreat here at the abbey or as an Outreach?

Please email us on divinekent@gmail.com where we will be able to look into organising that will be suitable for you and for your needs.

X