Lay preacher and founder of the fastest growing Catholic charismatic prayer community, Lalith Perera, will be leading several prayer meetings and retreats in the Parramatta Diocese in late January.
A one-time atheist, Perera founded the Community of the Risen Lord, an ecclesial community based in Sri Lanka.
“I was an atheist. Not just an atheist but a rationalist kind of atheist whose mission was to disprove the existence of God,” Mr Perera said.
“I had been a cultural Catholic all my life, so I could argue against my parents and others. But it was the Holy Spirit experience that changed it all.”
Perera says after becoming involved in the Charismatic Renewal in Sri Lanka, he was “baptised in the Holy Spirit” in 1976.
“I really came to know Him. My mind said he didn’t exist but my heart said, ‘I am being loved’. I fell in love with God and I ‘lost it.’ When you fall in love you become a fool.”
After he and his wife became actively involved in the Charismatic Renewal over many years, he says by the year 2000 he had began to lose sight of that “first love” he had felt.
That’s when he had a second major conversion experience. He says the Lord challenged him during a prayer meeting, saying to him, “If you don’t abandon yourself to me there is nothing much I can do with you.”
After abandoning himself to the Lord’s will, Perera says the prayer meetings he was conducting began to attract thousands of people.
The Community of the Risen Lord currently has growing prayer communities in the UK, Australia, USA and Canada.
The Community seeks to form Catholics so they can in turn form others in their parish communities.
Over the past 10 years Perera has made regular visits to the Parramatta Diocese and hosts weekly scripture-based teachings via Skype from his home city Colombo to prayer groups in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Wagga Wagga and Cairns.
Archbishop Christopher Prowse of the Canberra Diocese is the patron of the Community of the Risen Lord in Australia.
The Community also works closely with Fr Ken Barker, founder of the Missionaries of God’s Love.
Mr Perera will be in the Parramatta Diocese from 25 to 31 January leading a Healing Service, a four-step Healing Retreat, a Family Retreat, and several prayer meetings.