The Syro Malabar Catholic Community in Auckland was blessed with the presence of Fr Mathew Elavumkal, VC, who is the director of the Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor — the largest Christian retreat centre in India.

 Fr Mathew Elavumkal, VC
Fr Mathew Elavumkal, VC

Fr Elavumkal and his team conducted a “family renewal and sanctification” retreat, as part of a lenten celebrations, at St Mary’s church in Ellerslie on the evenings of March

Nearly 500 to 600 people, including many youth and children, participated each day in Mass, healing prayers, preaching of the Word of God and Adoration.

Special prayers for purification of the family tree especially for past and future generations were conducted on March 21.

Many were healed of various illnesses some of which they have been fighting for many years.

Fr Elavumkal spoke about many different issues plaguing the Church, family and society. He related anecdotes about his 30 years in this ministry over which he served as the director of Kamba ashram in Mumbai and also as the director of the Divine Retreat Centre — Delhi.

Fr Elavumkal subsequently gave retreats in Hamilton, Hastings, Palmerston North, Wellington and was scheduled to give one in Christchurch from April 5-7.

These retreats are organised by the New Zealand Syro Malabar Catholic Mission, which has 18 different communities all over New Zealand, of varying sizes.

Attendees considered the Auckland retreat as a grace filled event, which was truly a blessing for the faithful, who were to strive for holiness and pray for the success of the upcoming retreats.