By Thandiwe Konguavi
Staff Writer

There’s a great need for inner healing and that comes through the Holy Spirit, participants heard at a recent Catholic charismatic retreat in Edmonton. 

“The most important healing is on the spiritual level,” said Rev. George Antony, a Dominican priest from India who led the June 23-25 Shalom Retreat. “All the others come secondary. We need a new Pentecost outpouring, a renewal in the Church, and I think that is taking place.”

Over 100 Catholics from across the city and as far away as Red Deer and Regina, packed the basement of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church for the spiritual healing retreat, part of a series of retreats across North America. The events are organized by Shalom Media, an international Catholic TV channel.

Participants were prepared to be healed by the spirit of God starting with confession, followed by counselling to forgive unconditionally, and learning how to be freed from secular temptations.

Whether we like it or not, we are all wounded people, and wounded people are not comfortable to live with, said Alex Antony, a charismatic preacher based in India who also spoke at the event.  

“You can hear sharp words, you can see anger, resentment, jealousy — you can see wounded people becoming nasty,” he said. “Whether we acknowledge it or not, all these traits and more are there in us.”

Antony said more than 70 per cent of a mother’s feelings when she’s pregnant are later transferred to her baby. 

“If a mother lives in a climate where there is anxiety, tension, anger, poverty, or extreme situations, the baby in the womb is influenced,” said Antony. “So sometimes you don’t know what is happening within you. That’s why Jesus said ‘I’ve come to give life and life in all its fullness, and I’ll make you new. ’”

“If the Holy Spirit is to act in our lives, the Scripture reminds us we must be free of sin,” added Rev. George Antony. “So the Word of God and sacraments are the most powerful means through which God cleanses, and his cleansing leads to healing.” 

Testimonies at the retreat included a woman who planned to annul her marriage, but decided through counselling to rededicate her life to Christ and stay in her marriage. 

A young man who said he was unable to forgive many people in his heart, later made the best confession of his life at the retreat, he said, after an experience where the Holy Spirit came over him “in waves.”

A woman testified that she spoke in tongues for the first time at the retreat. 

Registration was initially capped at 60 participants but reopened due to high demand, said Varkey Kalapurayil, a Shalom Media director based in Edmonton. 

“People want healing. They want to get relief in their life because they’re desperate.”

Shalom TV can be watched online at www.shalomworldtv.org/live.