Who we are
The history of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) movement in Tiruchirapalli goes back to the years 1975 – 1976 when some Jesuit priests, religious sisters of Holy Cross and Franciscan Missionary of Mary and some lay people jointly prayed together. Thus the renewal movement started in Tiruchirapalli.
The First Tamil Nadu Catholic Charismatic Convention was held in May 1976 at St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirapalli. Fr. Fio Mascarenhas S.J, Fr. Rufus Pereirah and other national leaders were the main preachers of the convention. This was a starting point for renewal in Tamil Nadu. This helped good number of priests and laity to start renewal movement in their own places in all over Tamil Nadu.
Subsequently a Charismatic Service Team was formed with Fr. M. J. Victor S.J, as Director and Prof. R. Sebastian, NAC member, as Coordinator with 10 members in service team. About 30 prayer groups were started in and out side of Tiruchirapalli. Fasting prayers, Night Vigils and Life In the Spirit Seminars were conducted by the service team. Zonal Conventions were also organized. Once in three years the service team was re-elected. There was also an advisory council of 50 members including priests, religious and laity. Some of our priests were kind enough to be the Directors of Service Teams. Such as Fr.Marcelino, Fr. X. Savari Muthu S.J, Fr. X.D. Selvaraj, Fr. Joseph Nedungadu S.J, Fr. T.L. Sundararaj, Fr. S. Devaraj, Fr. A. Susairaj. They helped the service team working as Directors one after another.
During the period of Fr. Susairaj as Director, Rev. Dr. S. L. Gabriel, Bishop of the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli, knowing the need and importance of the renewal made the Catholic Charismatic Renewal as a commission with 8 members in the Service Team. Catholic Charismatic Renewal was renamed as Arungkodai Illam and Fr. Maria Louis became its first Director and Prayer meetings were held at Arungkodai Illam on all Sundays of Every Month. But there was no proper place to conduct prayer meetings. At this time Our Bishop Rev. Dr. S.L. Gabriel, gave a permanent place, a huge shed opposite to Jenny Plaza for Arungkodai Illam to come together and pray. This is the starting place of Arungkodai Illam.
As an unique feature in the whole of Tamil Nadu on 14th of March, 1999 His Excellency Rev. Dr. S.L. Gabriel blessed and dedicated new Arungkodai Illam for Charismatic Prayer meetings. Fr. T.L.Sundararaj was appointed as Director from 1999 to 2002. During his period a new Chaplin room was constructed, the roof of Arungkodai Illam was modified and a huge water tank was erected.
Fr. Thomas John Julian who had taken this centre partially in addition to his Parish mission in the year 1997, was now appointed a full time Director from 2003 and Fr.T.L.Sundararaj as Spiritual Animator when Rev. Dr. Peter Fernando became the administrator of Diocese of Tiruchirapalli. During this period the activities of the Arungkodai Illam was enriched with a powerful music group and an effective sound system. A mega stage was constructed with an open space to accommodate about 4000 people. With the existing facilities retreats are being held for priests, sister and laity on request. A marriage bureau has been started to help people to find their matrimonial matches irrespective of caste and religion. A 24×7 prayer cell and the website of Arungkodai Illam was inaugurated and blessed by Rev. Dr. Antony Devotta on 6th November 2005.
Fr. James Selvanathan took the charge of Arungkodai Illam for one year and Fr. Chandran followed him and guided the centre from 2009 to 2013. Fr. Melchior Raja took up the charge and lead the Arungkodai Illam from 2014 to 2017. Fr. T Albert became the Director of the centre from 2017. In the year 2020 some remarkable things are undertaken. Website of this Arungkodai Illam is updated in collaboration with the Elroi software solution.