Thursday, December 31, 2015



God surprises His people on earth with blessings that seem so unlikely and unexpected...and one of God's great blessings for many of us whose lives has been transformed is Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala, India. It is truly amazing that over 10 million retreatants from all over the world have had a personal God-experience right here in Muringoor - a small village in India! Weekly retreats are held in English and 6 Indian languages (Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Konkani and Kannada) every week of the year - that means consecutively for each of the 52 weeks of the year  beginning every Sunday and ending on Friday. My life for Christ truly began when I first stepped foot into Divine Retreat Centre's English campus on 14 February 1998. At that time, I remember my whole world as I perceived it, literally turned upside down as I heard Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C. preach and celebrated Holy Masses and Adoration services with such holy awe and reverence and the gifted lay preachers and music ministry teams during my very first retreat. Jesus who seemed "distant" from me became a REAL, PERSONAL, LIVING SAVIOUR to me! I can never thank God enough for this absolutely Grace-filled week of my life. It was the moment I knew Jesus was living in me  but how was I going to live for Jesus? On 18 June 2004, I was given the wonderful grace to serve full-time in the Divine-Potta ministry and so began my personal faith journey that is etched in my heart deeply...

Now that I have served nearly 11 1/2 years full-time in Divine Retreat Centre, what is truly amazing is to have personally witnessed and learnt of the thousands of retreatants' lives still being transformed and so many miraculous healings that have taken place in the retreat centre. All Glory and Praise to God! Divine Retreat Centre is fondly known to millions as "God's Own Abode" situated in Kerala, the southern most state in India which has its tourism tagline as "God's Own Country." How apt. I have personally seen Divine grow from a simple retreat centre to an international retreat centre with facilities to cater for the ever-increasing numbers of international retreatants from across the globe. Yet, the fondest memories for many of the earlier retreatants (including me) was the sheer simplicity of the accommodation in the earlier days (dormitories!) and the large dining hall that served everyone with simple Kerala meals. It was a time when all the trappings of the world we lived in were stripped away and it was just Jesus who made His Presence known - one-on-one with each of us. It is here in Divine so many hearts have truly had a personal God-experience and our lives tangibly changed to live with a 'Divine" purpose.

  Fr. George Panackal V.C.      Fr. Matthew Naickomparambil V.C.     Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.
In this 25th Silver Jubilee Anniversary of Divine Retreat Centre, we pray with great thanksgiving to God for the three founding Directors of Divine Retreat Centre - Rev. Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil V.C. (Spearhead of the Divine-Potta Ministry), Rev. Fr. George Panackal V.C. (the first Director of Divine Retreat Centre Muringoor, and currently Director of Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate, Kent, UK) and Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C. (who was the the Director of English & Other Language Retreats and currently the Director of Divine Retreat Centre). It is awe-inspiring to see how the Divine-Potta ministry has grown. The untiring efforts and total trust in God's Providence of Fr. Mathew, Fr. Panackal, and Fr. Augustine has borne great fruit for the Catholic Church not only in India but for the Universal Catholic Church. Having served here full-time, there is ONE Word of God I have learnt that truly encompasses the amazing growth of Divine Retreat Centre to be the largest Catholic Retreat Centre in the world.  It was the Word of God that Fr. Augustine Vallooran shared with me in my first six months in Divine when I was panicking because Divine had no money for the evangelization and charitable initiatives that the Vincentian Fathers of the Divine-Potta ministry so courageously carried out. The Word of God was:

I look to the mountains;
where does my help come from?
My help will come from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
(Psalm 121:1-2)
From a stressed-out, worried person from the corporate world where we could only make our business plans if we had the financial and skilled human resources and technical experise to achieve goals, here I was right smack in the middle of simple, too-trusting and seemingly naive Indian priests who seemed oblivious of how things should be planned, funded and achieved in the secular world. They were very calm, peaceful, filled with an infectious joy and most of all an incredible trust that God will provide all that the Divine-Potta ministry needs. It has been a huge blessing that in my personal ministry, I have had the opportunity to serve the mission under the guidance of Fr. Augustine. As I look back, I am sure Father would have found me as strange as I found him because it seemed in my early days like we had lived in two different "planes" in this world! Yet, the patience and deep understanding and support that I have received in my ministry has enabled me to take the needed "extra" step" of faith in the Name of Jesus...and to experience the great joy of seeing the fruit of our mission achievements.

The Vincentian Fathers of the Divine-Potta ministry are from the Mary Matha Province of the Vincentian Congregation of India (V.C.).

The two main aims of the Vincentian Congregation of India are:
  • Preaching the Good News to the Poor
  • Caring for the Poor and Afflicted
To EACH of you, dear Friends of the Divine network, it is with much gratitude that we thank God for your constant love, support and prayers. You are very much an integral part of our Divine-Potta ministry. We also thank God for all the loving and caring Divine benefactors from India and around the world. The Divine-Potta ministry has no savings and actually have debts. Yet, there are many charitable efforts and evangelization missions that our Lord has placed in the hearts of the V.C. Fathers of the Divine-Potta ministry. After much prayers and discernment, with great confidence in the Providence of God, the V.C. Fathers have courageously answered God's Call. Divine Retreat Centre is not just a praying centre but is a Home of Love to 3000 of the most marginalized and afflicted members of our society on a long-term basis living in the Homes run by Divine Charitable Trust.

Divine Homes of Love:

◦ St. Vincent's Home (for AIDS Patients)
◦ Divine Care Centre for the Mentally Ill
◦ Divine De-addiction Centre 
◦ Divine Mercy Home for Palliative Care of Cancer Patients
◦ Maria Shanthi Bhavan Home for the Aged & Destitute Women 
◦ St. Mary's Home for Abandoned Women & Children
◦ De Paul Home for Boys
◦ Divine Home for Junior Girls
◦ Divine Villa for Senior Girls

Divine also provides approximately 700 meals weekly to the poor in local hospitals in the surrounding areas and assist many others in great need as per our Lord wills.

In 2008, after overcoming incredibly great obstacles, Divine Television ministry became a reality - a holy achievement that defied incredible odds! Divine Television began its first 24-hour commercial-free Gospel channel in United Kingdom. Europe and the Middle East. The programmes are broadcast in the English and Malayalam languages. The following year, Divine Television began its 24-hour broadcast in USA and Canada. In 2010, DVNOnline TV  became available on the Internet to every person across the globe. And in 2011, Divine TV which is known as GOODNESS Channel began its much awaited 24-hour commercial-free Catholic Gospel Channel in India. This evangelization initiative is truly God's Gift from Divine to the world. Now the Word of God from the Divine-Potta ministry is available to every person in need of Godly Comfort and Hope in their daily lives. It is a truly blessed joy that Divine TV is the most watched Catholic channel in the world today!

It is only through the AMAZING GRACE OF GOD that there has not been a single day when any of Divine-Potta's mission had to be stopped because there was a lack of funds or inadequate human resources or skills. Somehow, during our most critical needs and continuous prayers storming Heaven, God's Providence is gloriously manifested! It is this Mighty Power and Grace of God that truly uplifts each of us serving in the mission for we witness with our own eyes and hearts how Jesus has been faithful to the Divine-Potta ministry. It is why each of you, as Friends of Divine, have been the daily "blessings" God has given to our ministry. Together, we serve our Lord - we cannot do it without your love, support and most of all your daily prayers. We are the Body of Christ. 

Please do pray specially for all the Vincentian Fathers of the Divine-Potta ministry, the lay ministry volunteers and for the evangelization and charitable works of Divine Retreat Centre as we begin with thanksgiving our 25th Silver Jubilee Anniversary celebrations!

In this New Year of 2016, Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C., on behalf of all of us at Divine Retreat Centre, extends prayerfully to each of you and your loved ones  


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