HLI Goa is an inspiration, holding one event after another throughout the year. Among the great many hosted by HLI’s Indian affiliate annually, 60 persons of all ages just finished attending its latest pro-life retreat. Talks were given by Francisco Xavier, Fr. Jose OFM, Cap. and HLI affiliate head Milagres Pereira.
Unfamiliar with retreats? Filled with the richness of Catholic teaching, they are an occasion of grace, an opportunity to join together with fellow Catholics for a short time, take part in the Sacraments through Mass and Confession, attend pious talks and heal. Milagres Pereira: “The sessions are very inspiring! We provide catechesis, prayer time, Holy Mass, Adoration and Confession. And we have lots of fun, too.”
One retreatant, 22-year-old Malisha, flew back to India early, even though she was already due return a few months later on vacation. Why? She feels a need to attend these retreats, which helped her to give up a life unpleasing to God. The prayer and reflection help her hold fast to her new life.
Others also find comfort and healing in the process of spending extra time in God’s presence. Dolly, aged 68, was able to weep and grieve events she’d repressed for thirty years. Having lost her only sibling at a young age, plus her husband at sea, she was finally able to experience a sense of closure. Meanwhile Olivia, aged 28, said she “got her smile back” after loneliness, pain and confusion. Rosario, aged 35, said she was healed from shyness incurred when punished as a schoolchild. “Now,” she says, “I am conscious that I am precious in the eyes of God.”
While such experiences are not unusual as an answer to prayer, and God works in His own time, HLI Goa’s Catholic emphasis includes stressing aspects fostering the sanctity of Life. One 45-year-old woman, a mother of two teens who preferred not to give her name, revealed that her daughter had felt life was not worth living. Retreats helped her daughter recover, for which she is immensely grateful, professing: “I will stick hereafter with this pro-life group!”
People find that retreats are a way to constantly grow in their faith. In the case of Amalia, “I obtained the grace to forgive my parents for a difficult childhood. God has great plans for me.” He has great plans for all of us. Why not spend some time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament during the penitential season of Advent? And if you happen to be in the vicinity of Goa, India, know that HLI’s next event is a retreat for couples, December 1-2, 2018.