Centre a source of unity

Centre a source of unity

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The rain could not deter the celebrations of the opening of the new retreat centre. Photograph – Juanita Shepherd.

For thousands of people their prayers were answered with the opening of a new retreat centre in Karrakup, Byford last week.

On July 29 priests celebrated mass and consecrated the Vincentian Retreat Centre, the first of its kind in the Perth archdiocese.

The blessing of the centre marked a milestone in the preaching ministry of the Vincentian priests in Australia who follow in the footsteps of St Vincent de Paul and evangelise the poor.

Despite wind and rain on the day the congregation were not deterred.

They had waited since 2012 for the centre when the land it was to be built on was purchased.

Following years of fundraising and the assistance of architect Christian Fernado and structural engineer Babu Thomas plans were approved by the council in 2015.

Archbishop Timothy Costello encouraged residents to use the centre when he spoke to the congregation after the Gospel reading.

“It is a wonderful gift,” he said.

“People can have their eyes fixed on Jesus just like they did in the synagogue more than 2000 years ago.”

He said the centre was a source of unity in the midst of diversity with all eyes fixed on Christ.

Maddington parish priest and a Vincentian Father Varghese Parackal said the centre was a testimony of the power and wisdom of God in making things possible.

“Looking back my heart is full of gratitude for the hundreds of generous people whose hard work and generosity has resulted in what we witness today,” he said.

“Among them are the intercessors, benefactors, parishioners, neighbours and even strangers.

“This will be a second home for families who know that only in prayer and quietness will they find true peace.

“The elderly will not be lonely here or the young out of place.”