A total faith in God’s providence has seen a new association rise from nothing in India 10 years ago to a ministry of healing and preaching the Word of God which has touched several countries.

The founder and director of the Pious Association of Jesus the Divine Healer, Fr A. Joseph Victor, made his third visit to New Zealand during May, during which he was very busy.

Fr Victor celebrated Masses in several Auckland parishes — and at the start of these celebrations he “unpacked” the liturgy that was about to take place, explaining the meaning and depth of the prayers of the Mass.

“The Eucharist is the centre of our life. When we understand the preciousness and the holiness of the Mass, we become very strong in our faith,” he told NZ Catholic.

He also challenged those who heard him to live with Jesus when Mass is over, and in so doing present the one whom they have received.

The feedback from his “unpacking” has been positive. People have told him they feel more devotion and faith as they participate in the Mass, and distraction has diminished.

While in Auckland, Fr Victor also spoke on Marian devotions, ran a couples retreat, gave a seminar for leaders of the Auckland Catholic Charismatic Renewal and gave a talk at the Catholic Discipleship College. He also ran a live in retreat at the Tyburn monastery at Ngakuru near Rotorua.

The charism of the Pious Association of Jesus the Divine Healer is preaching the Word of God and giving God’s healing touch.

When asked what area most needs healing in the lives of people he
encountered in New Zealand, he said people have many different wounds — spiritual, social, psychological and physical.

“But the Word of God helps us in all the areas. The eucharistic celebration and all the sacraments lead us in a very special way to experience this.”

The association, which started 10 years ago, now has five priests and 40 seminarians. It is still growing. Fr Victor said that this year “we have recruited, selected 15 seminarians from 5 states in India”. The association also started a house for nuns in Sri Lanka.

Fr Victor said that the seminarians are trained for healing. “They get a lot of classes on psychology, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Scripture, they spend a minimum 5 to 6 hours every day in prayer, apart from their personal prayers. They are trained up in this way because the world is in need of healing. Some way or the other, everyone is in need of healing.”

Fr Victor previously belonged to the Congregation of the Heralds of Good News in India, but problems in the congregation led to an apostolic visitation. Fr Victor joined another congregation, but problems arose there too. Rome presented various options to a group of priests caught up in this turmoil, one of which was to form a new association of the faithful.

Fr Victor said he was the director of a retreat centre and superior of his house before this crisis saw him leave with “absolutely nothing”.

“I met the Bishop of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu (Bishop Yvan Ambroise) and he told me, Fr Joseph Victor, if you start with God, you will end with God, if you start with prayer, you will end with prayer, if start with you, you will end with you. Well, I will support you definitely, morally and spiritually, and don’t expect me to support you financially.”

“He said be prepared to face challenges.”

After praying and discerning for some time, during which prospective conferes came and went, Fr Victor went back to the bishop, still with nothing.

The bishop told him “since you don’t have anything, you are the right person to start the congregation. You can depend on God 100 per cent”. (To get canonical approval to be a congregation, the association needs to have 40 priests).

“Depending on God for everything and anything has become our faith and Jesus has become our providence,” Fr Victor said. The association now has two retreat centres and two formation houses.

People who have been inspired by his apostolate have supported him in his work. This generous support has seen him travel to Italy, Germany, France, Denmark and the UK.

One of the things his association promotes in parishes is “integral spiritual development”.

When asked to explain this, Fr Victor replied: “When a parish is spiritually oriented, Christ is centralised. There are parishes we see that are not spiritually oriented, they are social oriented. And when Christ is not centralised, and the teachings of the Church are not centralised, somehow or other, we go off the track. We should and must help socially, we are not away from the society, we are in the society . . . but when the spirituality is centralised in every parish, we become open to help everyone. When Christ is centralised, I become free to help anyone in any area, at any place. When I am not centralised by Christ, my motivation, my goal and everything gets changed.”

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