Making time for spiritual renewal

Caritas Malacca Johore Diocese, recently organised a spiritual recollection for members of the Parish Office of Human Development (POHD), Society of St Vincent de Paul, and interested parishioners.

Mar 27, 2024

Fr John Anandan, OFM, Cap.


ULU TIRAM, Johor:
Caritas Malacca Johore Diocese, recently organised a spiritual recollection for members of the Parish Office of Human Development (POHD), Society of St Vincent de Paul, and interested parishioners.

The serene and lush environment of St Pio Spirituality Centre offered the ideal setting for spiritual rejuvenation, guided by Fr John Anandan, OFM, Cap.

Helena Low, from the Church of the Holy Family in Ulu Tiram and active in the POHD group, initially doubted her participation due to her age but was ultimately inspired to “come and see.”

Reflecting on the call to “Come aside and rest for a while” (Mark 6:31), Fr John emphasised the importance of finding quiet moments for prayer and conversation with God amidst life’s chaos. This practice, as demonstrated by Jesus, opens our hearts to a deeper communion with God, enabling us to live more Christ-centred lives. This principle was something Philip Packium, from the Church of St Philip in Segamat, learned from his devout parents.

The retreat posed the introspective question, “Are we working for God or doing God’s work?” which spurred reflection among participants on being instruments of God.

Fr John introduced the concept of the LIP method — fostering a Loving, Intimate, Personal relationship with God. This approach resonated with Jessica Kee, a POHD member from the Church of St Joseph in Plentong, highlighting her quest for deeper spiritual discernment. Similarly, for Myriam Chai of the Church of Christ the King in Kulai, it was her profound longing for a closer relationship with Jesus that drew her to participate in the recollection.

“Keep our eyes on Jesus” was another key message, emphasising patience and trust in God’s timing and guidance through Scripture and the Holy Spirit. The session ended with a Mass where Fr John underscored the importance of faith and trust in Jesus through the story of Peter walking on water (Matthew 14:29-31).



The second session of the recollection focused on the Eucharist as the pinnacle of Christian life, celebrating its transformative power within the Church and individuals. Fr John reminded the participants of the joy and reverence with which we should approach the Eucharist, emphasising its role in making every Mass a celebration of Christ's presence.

Discussions on family and community highlighted the importance of hospitality, inclusivity, and appropriate conduct and attire within the church setting. Participants engaged in discussions about liturgical practices, cautioning against superstition while emphasising preparation and engagement with Mass readings.

The day concluded with a shared sense of hope and commitment towards becoming missionary disciples, supported by the pillars of Prayer, the Eucharist, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit, inspired by the Peace Prayer of St Francis of Assisi, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

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