A four-day national Bible convention in Auckland organised by New Zealand’s Syro-Malabar Catholic community attracted people from Kaitaia to Invercargill.
An estimated 1200 people attended the Krupabhishekam New Zealand National Bible Convention held at the Malaeola Centre in Mangere from September 17-20.
The national convention, which was led by Fr Dominic Valamanal and his team from India, was a first for New Zealand’s Syro-Malabar Catholic community.
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is an Eastern-rite Catholic Church in communion with Rome.
Convention organising committee member Jojo Kuzhikulam said at least 600 of the 1200 people at the convention came from outside Auckland. Syro-Malabar priests from Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch dioceses were also at the convention.
Mr Kuzhikulam said Fr Valamanal is noted for leading similar Bible conventions in India, attended by tens of thousands of people.
The Auckland convention featured preaching, praise and worship, healing prayers, family counselling, Reconciliation, Masses and more – all to provide a “refreshment” for the people, Mr Kuzhikulam said.
People learned about the Bible, its impact on Catholic life, how the family can be maintained and how children can be made strong in the Faith, he added.
NZ Catholic asked Fr Valamanal why such a convention is needed. He replied that “the Church always needs renewal, because re-evangelisation and new evangelisation [are] very necessary today”.
Fr Valamanal said worldly influences are drawing people away from Jesus Christ, and, through the Word of God, people can come back to him.
“The whole of mankind should know Jesus Christ. . . The Risen Lord is the answer for all our questions.The people always should know, the world is very Fr Dominic Valamanal at the Bible convention. different, it is a changing world. But the Word of God never changes. So we should teach them the Word of God so they can come to Jesus Christ.”
The Word of God also gives peace of mind, gives meaning for our lives and helps put suffering in context, Fr Valamanal said.
After the Auckland convention, the priest and his team travelled to Australia to lead similar events in Melbourne and Sydney.
Mr Kuzhikulam said the community is very happy with the convention and people are asking for another such gathering next year.