• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 29 April 2016 09:40

Janssen Spirituality Centre – a place for searching, sharing stories and opening hearts


Buddhist-retreat-groupThe Janssen Spirituality Centre in Boronia, Victoria, looks quiet, peaceful and unprepossessing from the outside, but the Director of the Centre, Fr Nick de Groot SVD, hopes it will continue to thrive and grow as a space for interreligious hospitality, where stories are shared and hearts opened.

“I hope it will continue to be a place in which people celebrate their search for God, for meaning in life, for healing,” Fr Nick says.

“And it is also my hope that more Catholics will become more aware of the goodness in other faiths and not be afraid, not look at it as endangering their faith, but going further into other lifestyles and faiths and in so doing to enter more deeply into their own faith.”

Last week, Fr Nick took part in a five day retreat at the Janssen Centre with 20 Buddhist practitioners. It was led by two Buddhist nuns from a temple in Taiwan and included five periods throughout the day when the group would stop for 45 minutes of silent meditation.

KARUNA---Compassion“It was fabulous,” he says. “And at the end of the retreat one of the nuns asked me to give the group a blessing. I had to explain first, what I meant by a blessing, that I believe in God who made everything and it is God’s blessing that I would be imparting. And so understanding is deepened.

“And when people come to share our space here with retreats like this, they leave behind a spirit of goodness that stays in the house. Then the next group who come feel that sense of peace and joy in being here. It’s passed on.”

Other interfaith events held at the Centre recently include a Hindu Tantra meeting, led by Fr John Dupuche, a scholar who’s areas of interest include interreligious dialogue, the interplay of Christianity and Kashmir Shaivism, and Tantra and the Gospel.

“He explained that Tantra means the balancing of opposites, such as the good and evil within us, the male and female. And he took the group into the chapel and explained that in the Eucharistic sacrifice is the opposition of good and evil, as seen in the life and death and sacrifice of Jesus,” Fr Nick says.

Buddhist-nuns-lead-retreat.jpg---350The Janssen Centre also hosts ecumenical Christian gatherings, such as a five day gathering on Centering Prayer held in March.

“It’s amazing how a group can come together in unity in silence,” Fr Nick says.

“You don’t know what’s going on inside each person, but in coming together in prayer, the gentleness with which we approach each other and speak to each other as the retreat progresses, is extraordinary.”

Fr Gilbert Carlos has also recently directed a retreat day for Catholics, focusing on quietness, yoga, breathing, and postures of receiving and resting in Christ that combines the gospel with forms of Indian positioning.

Every week, the Janssen Centre hosts prayer groups, including Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer, Thomas Merton’s Contemplative Spirituality, a Men Alive group and scripture study. There is also a warm relationship with the next door parish of St Joseph’s Boronia, where Fr Nick assists and whose parishioners often attend Janssen Centre activities.

Other groups come to the Centre to take part in a systematic Lectio-style reflection on the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita.

Mass-Janssen-Centre-St.jpg---350The Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters are involved with the life of the Janssen Centre, with Sr Elizabeth Hariyanti SSpS working alongside Fr Nick and attending interfaith retreats held at the Centre.

Fr Nick says he hopes the Centre can become a space for increased sharing and understanding among cultures and faiths.

“This kind of interreligious work is still on the margins of the Church and even the Society (SVD), even though, it has been spoken of in Papal Encyclicals as far back as Pope Paul VI, and is among the stated priorities of the Divine Word Missionaries,” he says.

“It is still seen by many as a new field of mission studies, but I see it more as being present and listening to the Holy Spirit in the faith traditions of other people, and sharing that and understanding the language of searching.

“For me, interreligious dialogue is not debating or arguing, but sharing our spiritual journey and when you do that, you begin to see so many points of contact.

“This dialogue and sharing helps me put words on my own inner experience and go deeper into myself and my faith.”