About our Spiritual Retreats
Regular retreats are conducted every weekend at the Centre, varying from one-day conventions to three-day residential retreats. The retreats are conducted in over five different languages, such as English, Malayalam, Konkani and Tamil, with retreatants travelling from all over the World, from places such as Australia, China, and Switzerland. A core team of intercessors, volunteers and preachers enable the success of each event. The retreats are led mainly by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC, the priests that reside at the centre. However, many renowned guest speakers frequently come to share the Word of God and lead sessions. Retreats do not merely include preaching, praise and worship, and teaching, but retreatants are taught the importance of what we practice as Catholics and why. A new meaning and understanding of the Bible is unveiled and the Word of God is brought to life, as all talks are based mainly on the scriptures and traditions of the Church. During three-day retreats, the first day focuses on God’s love and forgiveness, the second day on inner healing and the final day, on thanksgiving. Each day concludes with the celebration of Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. During the retreats, priests are available to hear confessions and to offer spiritual guidance. Children’s ministry is also held simultaneously along with weekly retreats.
Youth Retreat – Hesed
One of the extensions of the centre is the youth group. Within a year of the Centre’s inauguration, special retreats known as ‘Hesed’ (founded from the same Hebrew word which describes God’s love for us and His special relationship with the children of Israel) were being held. This enables teenagers and young adults above the age of 15 to escape the snares of society and envelop themselves in the grace of God. During Hesed, dramas, street evangelisation, and individual spiritual sharing encourages the youth to grow and express their faith to their friends and family.
Nature of the Vincentian preaching ministry
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).