Vol. 17 No. 25
December 9 - 30, 2013
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
“Family, Live the Joy of Faith!”
CFC at the Pilgrimage of Families in the Year of Faith together with the other CFC delegates, awaiting the gates of St. Peter Square to open for the weekend event. It was really an awesome and inspiring experience to be one with the multitude of people from different races, different nationalities and culture sharing that great love for God and standing firmly on their conviction in the sacredness and importance of the gift of love, marriage, family, parents, grandparents and children. The Pope’s central message that day focused on three assurances:
By Cynthia Campos It was Thursday, October 24, 2013, 1:15pm when we arrived at the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome. It was my second time to visit this beautiful city. The first one was during the Jubilee Year in 2000 where we were privileged to come so near to John Paul II who was Pope then. Going to the Vatican this time with my husband George, my eldest son, Patrick and my youngest daughter, Christen was really an unexpected blessing for our family. We, together with over 90 other Couples for Christ delegates from Italy, UK, Canada and the Philippines represented the CFC global community in this historic Pilgrimage of Families. At 9:30 am of October 25, Friday, George, my two children and I, together with Mannix and Aileen Ocampo, Joe and Mila Yamamoto appeared at the Dicasterate of the Laity where George, Mannix and Joe updated Canon Law Doctors of the ac-
tivities of Couples for Christ and presented the various programs of the community in relation to building the church of the home and building the church of the poor. Couples for Christ was assured of their continued support as well as its Pontifical Recognition. Our group then proceeded to the Dicasterate of Evangelization where we were blessed to meet His Eminence Fernando Filoni, J.C.D., PhD, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He was delighted to be updated of CFC’s missionary work and appreciated the contribution of the global community in propagating the faith and sending missionaries to the different parts of the world. After the fruitful one-hour meeting, Cardinal Filoni gifted everyone with a Rosary with the Holy Father’s emblem on it. His Excellency, Cardinal Filoni was assigned as Papal Nuncio to the Philippines in 2006 for a year before he was recalled back to the Vatican. Finally, on the 26th, we lined up under the heat of the sun
1. Despite the struggles and hard work that goes into the defense of the family, and the seeming lack of love in the world, God gave all of us His word from Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, so that your joy will be complete.” Pope Francis added, “Take home this Word of Jesus, carry it in your hearts, share it with the family. It invites us to come to Jesus so that he may give this joy to us and to everyone.” 2. Pope Francis took the words from the matrimonial vows, “I promise to be true to you, in joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health; I will love you and honour you all the days of my life,” and honored both the engaged and married couples for taking a journey into the unknown together, for promising to stay together, and remain healthy to raise their children. The Holy Father also reiterated on the three essential words in marriage: please,
thank you and sorry. Pope Francis stated, “The life of a family is filled with beautiful moments: rest, meals together, walks in the park or the countryside, visits to grandparents or to a sick person… But if love is missing, joy is missing, nothing is fun. Jesus always gives us that love: he is its endless source. In the sacrament he gives us his word and he gives us the bread of life, so that our joy may be complete.” 3. Finally, Pope Francis pointed to the icon of the presentation of Jesus in the temple, a beautiful picture of three generations—Simeon and
Anna, Joseph and Mary, and Jesus in Simeon’s arms. He describes the elderly couple representing faith as memory, and proceeds to ask the congregation, “Do you listen to your grandparents? Do you open your hearts to the memories that your grandparents pass on?” The Pope urged the faithful to reflect on the role of grandparents in the family, exhorting that a people who does not listen to their grandparents is one that dies as they are considered the wisdom of a people. Pope Francis stresses, “Like the Holy Family of Nazareth, every family is part of the his-
tory of a people; it cannot exist without the generations who have gone before it.” All throughout the weekend, people were praying, singing and playing music. Everywhere, you can hear different languages being spoken. There were smiles and laughter in the people’s faces, nobody was complaining even if they were standing for a long time. There were presentations, dances, songs, testimonials and storytelling for the children. And before blessing the faithful, Pope Francis reminded everyone, “Remain ever close to Jesus and carry him to everyone by your witness.”
Top Photos: CFC leaders and their respective families at the Dicastery of the Laity; Bro George Campos (CFC Executive Director) and Bro Joe Yamamoto. Photos Below: Colorful balloons with messages for the Pope released by the delegates; Official delegates from Couples for Christ gather together as one family.
Msgr. Paul Tighe Exhorts Netizens: ‘Communicate the Word!’ shy away from it, this will leave social media open to malicious content.” He adds, “We can only be effective communicators if we are soaked in the Word. Who is the Word? Jesus Christ. We do not only share the Word, but we invite people to get into a relationship with God.” Below is an overview of Msgr. Tighe’s keynote address during the CSMS:
By Alma Alvarez “The language of digital social communications is conversational, interactive and dialogical. If our communication is to touch people’s hearts and minds, we must be able to listen to them and engage seriously with their questions.” This is how Msgr. Paul Tighe, Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Vatican, addressed the participants of the Catholic Social Media Summit v2.0 at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Manila last November 23, 2014. Msgr. Tighe, who manages the Pope’s twitter handle @Pontifex, flew in last November 19 to deliver the keynote address in the said event. Msgr. Tighe acknowledges the power of social communication in the modern times. “Social media can be a nasty place. This can make good people shy away from it. But if we who are responsible social media practitioners
By Alma Alvarez
Sharing the Word: The Church in a Digital World Communications is at the centre of the life of the Church. As a community called together by Christ, our mission is to share the Good News of God’s love for all people with those we meet on the pilgrimage of life. The fullness of God’s love is revealed in the person of Jesus, the Word made flesh. Jesus communicated in word and deed; the Church is called to proclaim and to witness to the continuing presence of Jesus among us. The Church has always sought to use media to communicate. Currently, we are living through a radical transformation of the media and the Church is focussed on understanding the ‘newness’ of the culture of digital communications in order to be communicate effectively. If we are to share the Good News with our brothers and sisters in the ‘digital continent’, we must speak a ‘language’ they can understand and be present as authentic witnesses to our faith. The’ language’ of digital and social communications is conversational, interactive and dialogical. If our communication is to touch people’s hearts and minds; we must be able to listen to them and engage seriously with their questions. As a Church, we are more used to preaching, to teaching and to issuing statements. These are important activities but the most effective forms of digital discourse are those that engage people individually, that seek to respond to their specific questions and that attempt to dialogue. It is a basic truth of communications that our witness – our actions and our patterns of behaviour – is often more eloquent than our words and proclamations in expressing who we are and what we believe. In the digital arena, a particularly significant way of offer-
ing such witness will be through a willingness to give oneself to others by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence (Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Communications Day 2013). It is therefore important to know how to dialogue and, with discernment, to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages. Allow yourselves, without fear, to be this presence, expressing your Christian identity as you become citizens of this environment (Pope Francis, 21 September 2013). If we look carefully at the activities that drive social media, we see that people are seeking human friendship, searching for information and sharing their knowledge. These activities manifest the basic and persisting human
needs for love, meaning and purpose. We must ask ourselves: are we up to the task of bringing Christ into this area, or better still, of bringing others to meet Christ? Can we walk alongside the pilgrim of today’s world as Jesus walked with those companions to Emmaus, warming their hearts on the way and bringing them to an encounter with the Lord? (Pope Francis, ibid). Even as we acknowledge the challenges to effective communication, we should remember that ultimately it is not our work but the grace of God that will change hearts. It is necessary to be absolutely clear that the God in whom we believe, who loves all men and women intensely, wants to reveal himself through the means at our disposal, however poor they are, because it is he who is at work, he who transforms and saves us (Pope Francis, ibid).
Photos (clockwise from left): Msgr. Paul Tighe, Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, III, Director, CBCP Media Office; Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines; and Msgr. Paul Tighe; Msgr. Paul Tighe at the mini Press Conference held on day 1 of the Catholic Social Media Summit.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 25
December 9 - 30, 2013
CFC Global Website relaunched!
Prayer, Faith, Joy A Call For All Families Last October 26 and 27, Cynthia and I, together with 90 other CFC couples from other parts of the world, attended the Pilgrimage of Families at the tomb of Peter in the Year of Faith. Through an invitation from the Vatican via the Pontifical Council for the Family, Couples for Christ was represented to this very joyous gathering about a month before the close of the Year of Faith. After pondering on the events which took place during those two blessed days, I was led to reflect on the homily given by Pope Francis on the Sunday readings of that weekend. What was God’s message for me and my family? What was God’s message for CFC? In his homily, Pope Francis zeroed in on three basic, but very important features of what a Christian family should have. First, the family prays. The Gospel reading that Sunday was about the two men praying in the synagogue—the Pharisee and the tax collector. In his exhortation, the Holy Father pointed out the difference between authentic and false prayer. The Pharisee, in his arrogance, embodies an attitude of self-satisfaction and glorification, whereas the prayer of the tax collector is “a poor man’s prayer”— humble, acknowledging his unworthiness and his needs. In the light of the Gospel, the Pope challenged us: Do you pray together as a family? How do you pray? The family needs God—his help, his strength, his blessing, his mercy, his forgiveness. And despite the difficulties that
may surround the family which can keep families from praying together, we must simply pray, and we must pray simply. Praying the Lord’s prayer together is easy. Reciting the Rosary as a family gives us strength. And praying for one another—husband and wife, parents and children, grandchildren and grandparents—these are what will make our families strong. The second feature that Pope Francis mentioned in his homily is the family keeps the faith. The context of keeping the faith is not to keep it within the family like keeping it in a box or treating it like a personal bank account, but to proclaim it to the world. Like St. Paul who said in his second letter to Timothy, “I have kept the faith!” by going to the ends of the earth to boldly proclaim the good news, we in CFC must also be witnesses of this good news. How? By conducting our lives in a manner pleasing to God, by our acceptance of others and by our openness. As we sing in our Couples for Christ theme song, our families must become “salt and leaven of His people, lamps that shine in the dark”. As families who keep the faith, we are called to be missionary families, not just to faraway lands, but within our own households, our neighborhood, to people who are in need, the marginalized, in our day-today lives. The last thought Pope Francis emphasized is the family experiences joy. The entire psalm that Sunday is a song for God who is the source of peace and joy. The psalm assures each one of us that the Lord is near, He hears the cry of the desolate and defends us from evil. That gives us enough reason to rejoice! Deep joy only comes from the presence of God in the home. When there is the presence of God, there is harmo-
ny, togetherness and mutual support and respect. When there is the presence of God, there is love and mercy and patience. “God alone knows how to create harmony from differences. But if God’s love is lacking, the family loses its harmony, self-centeredness prevails and joy fades. But the family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally,” Pope Francis added. As another challenge, Pope Francis presented everyone with a “homework”: to answer these two questions—How are things when it comes to joy at home? Is there joy in your family? Hearing this message from the Holy Father that Sunday, I cannot help but say a prayer of thanksgiving and praise for bringing me and my family to Couples for Christ. Like all the other families in the community, it is in CFC where my own family is growing in prayer, in faith and in joy. It was also a great blessing that Cynthia and I were able to bring two of our children—Patrick, our eldest, and our youngest Christen— to the pilgrimage. (Our two other daughters, Therese and Kat, were unable to join us in that trip.) I believe that through the message for families in his homily, Pope Francis brought this very timely message to every CFC family and to all Catholic families in the world amidst the challenges and attacks against the family and on life. Like our mother Mary, may we ponder all these in our hearts. And as we enter the Christmas season, may we always live in faith and simplicity, like the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Discover 12 Ways to Live Christ this Christmas
CFC GMC Recollection Ushering the Season of Advent
The CFC Global Mission Center employees took a breather from the daily grind for an afternoon Advent Recollection with Fr. Benedict Lagarde from the Missionaries of Jesus last November 28, 2013. During the recollection, Fr. Benedict set the tone for the CFC GMC mission workers to be able to experience the three journeys: inward (self-examination), upward (How am I with my relationship with God?), and outward (How is my relationship with others?) In order to do this, he presented 14 possible roadmaps, and asked each person to reflect on what road they took during the past year. After a brief dyad, Fr. Benedict shared insights on the CFC theme for 2014. “Behold and ponder”, according to Fr. Benedict, is “others-centered”. “Christ did not call attention to Himself as He hung on the cross. He instead drew attention
towards His mother and His beloved disciple, and was concerned more about their welfare,” Fr. Benedict emphasized. Another point that Fr. Benedict shared is that the first household gathered by Jesus was the one at the foot of the cross. Like CFC’s own household groups, this group was messy, with a sprinkling of blood from the wounds of Christ. But despite the mess, it was a household of faith. He likewise entrusted both the man (John) and the woman (Mother Mary) with each other, acknowledging the mutuality of men and women. The afternoon was capped with a Mass, and a reflection on the importance of Jesus’ birth in the manger instead of the inn. Fr. Benedict shared that while an inn is a place for travellers who are just “passing through”, a manger is a place of permanent shelter. This signifies that Jesus is meant to stay in our lives.
ANCOP Scholar Passes CPA Board As we usher in the Advent season, we are inviting you to join us in our effort to promote a positive spirit in everyone’s heart this Christmas. CFC has come out with an online Christmas campaign entitled, “Live Christ this Christmas”. It will feature ads with inspiring messages highlighting 12 practical ways to live out our CFC way of life this season. Please visit our official website (www.couplesforchristglobal.org), “Like” Couples for Christ Official fanpage (facebook.com/CFC.Global.Mission) and “Follow” @CFChrist on Twitter starting December 1 culminating with the Feast of the 3 Wise Men on January 5, 2014.
How to support this campaign: 1. Connect online with CFC (website/twitter/FB) during the entire Christmas season. 2. Promote the message: “Live Christ this Christmas!” #livechristthischristmas. 3. Check out the series of ads (total of 12 ads) which we will be releasing every week and share it to as many people as possible through Social Media Together, let us be one in reminding our family and friends that Christ is the true essence of Christmas.
CFC-Archdiocese of Lipa (Batangas) 26th Anniversary: A Testimony of Obedience By Paul Dimayuga
Members of Couples for Christ and its Family Ministries all over Batangas gathered together in celebration of the great love and bountiful blessing of the Lord for the 26th Anniversary of CFC Batangas, last November 10, 2013 at the Batangas City Coliseum. Early Sunday morning, attendees arrived in their colorful dresses and costumes for the Wedding at Cana theme. The highlight of the event was the praise parade competition participated in by the twelve different clusters of CFC Batangas. The vibrant and lively dance and praise gave the audience of about 3000 one great show. Jay Calingasan added brightness to the anniversary celebration by leading the afternoon worship. His inspiring story, the powerful music of the band and the members of Youth for Christ dancing in praise truly rocked the entire coliseum.
Thereafter, Singles for Christ Batangas presented a Cana Musical Stage Production which vividly commemorated the selfmanifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ at the Wedding at Cana, a miracle of love and obedience. International Council member and Philippine Missions Director Jimmy Ilagan, with his wife, Lorna and another IC member Noynoy Dalman both shared their thoughts making the celebration filled with wonderful messages from the Lord. Ding Aguinaldo, Regional Coordinator of CFC Southern Tagalog, arrived later to greet the participants. This momentous event was then closed by Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Archbishop Arguelles, who also celebrated his birthday last November 12, reiterated the essence of the renewal of our faith and evangelization— “Live Christ. Share Christ.” Archbishop concelebrated the Mass with Msgr. Boy Oriondo, Fr. Oca Andal, Fr. Dale Barreto Kho, Fr.
Eugene Penalosa, Fr. Peewee Cabrera and Fr. Donald Dimaandal. The event also became an opportunity for CFC Batangas to share to the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda, when they contributed thru the Mass collections the amount of Php54,148.00 as initial fund. This was endorsed later to the Archdiocese thru LASAC, the social action commission. Vic Alvarez, the Provincial Area Director of CFC- Archdiocese of Lipa, announced the highly anticipated winners for the praise parade competition. West Sector Cluster A bagged the first place award, while North Sector Cluster B and South B Sector ending up in second and third place, respectively. Jun and Anlyn Angeles of CFC, Stephanie Landicho of SFC and Ian Dimayacyac of YFC hosted the said event. Truly, this day for the Lord was an evident manifestation of victory through wholehearted obedience of all the faithful servants of God, the Couples for Christ and its Family Ministries.
CFC ANCOP Scholar Mary Grace Padida passed the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Board examination given by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) last October 2013. Mary Grace graduated with a degree in Accountancy at the Polytechnic University-Sta Mesa Campus last March 2013. She was provided financial and other support by CFC ANCOP under the Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) Adopt a Scholar Program (HASP) beginning in 2010 until she finished college, or a period of 4 years. Mary Grace’s father is a security guard. They live in a house owned by a relative. She dreams of providing her parents a decent housing and also to send her younger sibling to college. Mary Grace is a conscientious student. She learned from her mother the value of saving money, persistence and determination to succeed. Her mother is an active member of the CFC HOLD Ministry while Mary Grace has been with Youth for Christ –West B. (Efren Tompong)
CFC KFC Indonesia Revved Up to “Follow Jesus”
The first ever Kids Village Indonesia held last November 9, 2013 in Sta. Helena Auditorium in Karawachi, Tangerang was an astounding success. The event was an adaptation of this year’s IKV held last April in Sydney, Australia. KFC Fulltime Worker, Veni Doodoh, who attended the event in Sydney, echoed the IKV event to KFC Indonesia by doing a similar program. Talks, scripts and workshop materials were translated in Bahasa Indonesia. The program included Praise Parade, Power Book Presentation, Workshops, Teaching of KFC Songs. The story play portrayed by the Sunter Youth group gave the children a good understanding of God’s Creation of the world, Adam & Eve, the 10 Commandments, the story of Noah’s Ark, all
pointing to one central message: that Jesus wants them to always love and follow their parents. Kuya Miguel Mercado led the ROCK team to teach praise songs to the kids such as the Chada, 10 Commandments Boogie, Follow Jesus and Every Move I Make. The CFC Canisius Chapter Head, Jojo Apolo, delivered a talk on Raising Pure Kids during the Parents Workshop. There were about 90 kids and 48 parents from 4 different chapters who attended the event. Seeing the children in the community grow in faith in God through this kind of activity is such a big joy and fulfillment, and KFC Indonesia is certainly looking forward to the International Kids Village in 2014.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 25
December 9 - 30, 2013
Returning to Kenya
By Malou Clarito
We praise and thank God for allowing us to visit Nairobi, Kenya for the third time. ELDORET It was God’s providence as He made it possible for us to meet Kenyan priest, Rev. Fr. James Kairu of St. Patrick Parish in Vancouver during our Fulltime Pastoral Workers’ Retreat last October. He was able to connect us with another priest, Rev. Fr. Peter Gichure based in Eldoret, Kenya and the Bishop of another area, Homabay. The latter was to organize a Christian Life Program in his parish, St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Eldoret is a 6-hour drive from Nairobi. The rain-drenched, rugged and muddy road did not dampen our spirit. Upon our arrival, we paid a courtesy call to the Bishop of Eldoret, His Excellency Cornelius Korir who, upon learning about CFC, gave the go signal right away to do the very first CLP in Eldoret. The activity yielded total graduates of 8 Couples, 29 Handmaids of the Lord, 12 Servants of the Lord and 5 Singles for Christ. One couple participant was given the sacrament of matrimony by Fr. Gichure on the day of dedication. It was a simple but festive celebration of love and their renewed faith in God. After the CLP, we were brought to UPENDO FM, a radio station of the Archdiocese of Eldoret where CFC was given a 20-minute airtime to promote Couples for Christ. One of our fulltime pastoral workers, Goi Villegas, was asked to record a Christian song which was aired on the very same day. Goi is the man behind the successful LIVELOUD concert in the Philippines. Our stay in Eldoret became more meaningful when Fr. Peter brought us to two of the most depressed areas in that village. The first was a primary school for children, whose classrooms are made basically of mud and very light materials that are not very conducive to learning. The school needed help to improve their current situation. The children were among the poorest of the poor in that area. The second place we visited is called St. Anne’s Little Home, a home built for children who were abandoned by their parents because of their deformities and various other physical challenges. The place served as their haven of hope where they are warmly welcomed and loved. These two places will be our newest addition to our ANCOP’s Child Sponsorship program. After those visits, we went to San Loreto School where we were welcomed by more than 800 high school students. The program started with a mass. Goi Villegas our fulltime missionary and the group taught the students the action song “My Life”. Fr. Peter Gichure requested Goi to perform a Christian Song. The students loved it very much that they gave Goi a very loud applause. We invited all the students to attend the first ever Youth camp in their campus which will be held at a later date. This early, the children are very much excited to join. HOMABAY With the help of the parish priest from Eldoret, we
were able to go to Diocese of Homabay to meet His Excellency, Bishop Phillip Anyolo. We presented him the CFC program and he was so excited to know that we can replicate said programs to the different parishes under his Diocese. “CFC is the organization that will help the parishioners to strengthen family relationship since we are now moving from The Year of Faith to The Year of the Family”, he said. The Vicar General Fr. Peter promised that he will organize the first batch of participants to the first CLP which is to be held either first week of December or early January of next year. SOWETO Through the invitation of Rev. Fr. Jose Eudes Rebeiro dos Santos, we went to Soweto to visit Canada’s 15 sponsored children and their parents. We found them busy doing Christmas cards for their sponsors in Canada. Our team also gathered profiles of new children for sponsorship. At the end of our stay, Fr. Jose offered a mass for all the missionaries, sponsored children together with their parents, as well as thanksgiving for all CSP sponsors from Canada. “The children and their families are now filled with hope because of the generosity of all our sponsors,” he said. NAIROBI We also attended the Planning Retreat of the Area Governance Team of Kenya. The planning started with a recollection given by Rev. Fr. Jose Eudes Rebeiro dos Santos, parish priest of St Joachim and St Anne Parish. The team responded with a very passionate commitment to double their effort to serve the Lord in their respective assignments and to make Kenya an even stronger area. After a week, the Christian Life Program was held at Donum Dei Center with 8 couples graduating. We welcome all of them as new members of the CFC family and ended the program with celebration of the mass given by a Filipino priest, Fr. Eusebio Manangbao, SVD. We were blessed to meet the new parish priest of Don Bosco Church, Fr. Salema who gave us a warm welcome and committed to give his full support to all CFC program in the parish. A very significant event happened while we were there, as we welcome to the Christian world the latest addition to the family of our Philippine missionaries, Onnel and Maia Tolentino. Baby Benedict’s baptism was officiated by no less than Bishop David Kamau. As part of our mission trip, we conducted different household visitations, one on one with the missionaries and give talks to the different retreats and CLP. MOMBASA The last leg of the mission was a 10-hour bus trip to Mombasa. The leaders were given directions as they deliberated on their plans and activities for 2014, all geared towards strengthening the CFC community. We thank the Lord for His mighty presence in this very successful mission trip. Truly, He led us the way to continue His work to the ends of the earth. CFC Kenya has been transformed by the grace of God and is ready in unity to Behold and Ponder for 2014. We bring back all the praises and glory to HIM.
Cana Conference in the Himalayas
By Ramon Santiago Possibly one of the last Cana Conferences held globally, the one held in Kathmandu, home of the Himalayas, was held during the last week of October. More than 150 members of CFC from the various areas of Nepal such as Kathmandu, Godavari and Pokhara came for the one-day conference. Fr. Robin Rai, Parish Priest of the Assumption Church in Dhobighat, Lalitpur, Kathmandu, and also the Spiritual Director of CFC Nepal, gave the welcome message. He said that the the wedding at Cana was very significant as it was Jesus’ first miracle; it was there where the water which filled six stone jars was transformed into the best quality wine. He said that this can be likened to the radical transformation of many people leading empty, tasteless lives and who have completely plunged themselves into a world of emptiness and what God’s graces can do in bringing back joy and happiness into their lives. The first talk, “The Wedding Feast”, was given by Chirendra Satyal, CFC Nepal Unit Head, with his wife Caroline Satyal as sharer, together with, George and Celestina Subba, couple coordinators for SOLD and HOLD, respectively. Carol and the Subba couple shared about their marriages, how they just surrendered all the challenges in the hands of God, and the vital role CFC has played in transforming and making them the new persons that they are. Chris Ebreo, CFC Bahrain Country Head and outgoing CFC Nepal Country Coordinator , gave Talk 2, “Do Whatever He Tells You”. The sharers of this talk were Damien and Juliana Shrestha of CFC Pokhara, an area which is in the central part of Nepal. Damien shared the challenges that came when their daughter was born who was mentally challenged. Eventually, after joining CFC, she learned that one should yield to the Lord’s plan and accept it. This led them to start a school looking after and giving care to the mentally disabled children. The third talk, “Empty Jars, Filled to the Brim” was given by Gyan Rai, CFC Nepal Chapter Head. The sharers were Gyan’s wife Sujata Rai, and Juliana Yonzone. Reflecting on her personal life, Sujata shared that she used to be so full of herself, but Jesus helped her get rid
of all of these through the support of her loving, very patient and understanding husband, and all the life-changing and enriching teachings of CFC. She also shared about their trials with their son, but she was confident that through all of this His wine of joy and peace will come with the morning and they will be filled to the brim. Juliana shared that she was born in a Catholic family but gradually began to distance herself from her religious activities as she was growing older. However, during and after the Christian Life Program she was overwhelmed by the Lord’s presence, which led to her transformation. Looking back, she saw how empty her life had become then and now she strongly believes that she has been filled to the brim with sweet wine of joy and happiness. Mar Japitana of CFC Bahrain and incoming CFC Nepal Country Coordinator gave the fourth talk, “From Water to Wine: Radical Transformation”. Rajendra and Manita shared how God’s transforming love manifested through CFC. The last talk of the conference, “Witness! God’s Glory Revealed”, was given by Mon Santiago, CFC South Asia Regional Coordinator. The sharing was given by his wife Tita and a SOLD member, Yashpal Rai. Yashpal shared that the Christian Life Program had a strong influence in transforming him, and the “Bible” is the wine that stimulates our spirit, gives us strength, encourages us to stand in the forefront among the wolves. Tita shared about how God has revealed His glory throughout their married life of 40 years, and how God has blessed their marriage in raising their four children especially after they joined CFC 18 years ago. Towards the end of her sharing, she honored her husband for being the true man and servant of God he is today, far from what he was when they first met, and asked forgiveness for sometimes becoming the “obstacle” to his service. She shared that their trip to Nepal and her one-to-ones with the sisters further strengthened the Lord’s affirmation of her purpose in joining her husband during the mission trip. Before the conference ended, Fr. Robin instituted a renewal of marriage vows, after which the couples shared wine authentic Cana that was mixed with local wine. The conference ended with a mini-praise fest and empowerment prayer led by Chris Ebreo.
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
The Ugnayan News Supplement is published by the Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Inc., with editorial offices at 156 20th Avenue, 1109 Cubao, Quezon City. Editorial trunk line: (+63 2) 709-4868 local 23 Direct line : (+63 2) 709-4856 www.couplesforchristglobal.org firstname.lastname@example.org Victory in mission, clockwise from top left: Jun and Malou Clarito with Filipino priest in Nairobi, Kenya, Fr. Eusebio Mangbao, SVD; the Eldoret mission team with His Excellency Bishop Cornelius Korir of Eldoret; the author children from Eldoret Primary School; wedding of new CLP graduates; the mission team with Bishop Philip Anyolo of the Diocese of Homabay.
CFC Prepares for 51st International Eucharistic Congress in 2016
It was truly a great afternoon as our CFC Church Integration Coordinator Michael “Shok” Ariola and CFC Cebu Church Integration Officer Vic Abarquez met with Archbishop Jose Palma. The meeting was all about faith, hope and love. As the year of faith came to a close last Sunday, November 24, 2013, CFC Cebu was very much excited to join the Catholic Church in preparing for the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in January 2016. The IEC is an international gathering which aims to promote the awareness of the role of the Eucharist in our lives, in the life of the Church and in the problems of society. The said gathering takes place every four years. This was the very exciting
topic during that afternoon. CFC assured Archbishop Palma of the full support of the whole community. Aside from talking about the IEC, CFC and the Archbishop also discussed about the calamities that struck Visayas, with Ariola sharing with Archbishop Palma the efforts that were being initiated by Couples for Christ to help in the relief and possible rebuilding of Eastern Visayas. They discussed promising collaborations and integrations to also help in the efforts of the Archdiocese of Cebu. The meeting ended with the Archbishop praying over the CFC missionaries who met up with him. It was a prayer for strengthened faith, finding hope amidst everything, and sharing love whenever possible.
Vol. 17 No. 25
December 9 - 30, 2013
CFC USA Recognized by Clergy in Two More Dioceses
CFC USA with Bishop W. Francis Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington
CFC USA with Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington
4,000 Attend CFC UAE 21st Anniversary Celebration
In two separate occasions, Couples for Christ USA received recognition from the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington in Delaware and the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. The Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of Wilmington, and the Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer, Bishop of Lexington, both recognized the initiatives of CFC USA and ANCOP in promoting Family Life and Evangelization and have endorsed the community to parishes in both Dioceses.
By Ramuel and Beth Garcia / Ernie and Mini Uson It was a spirit-filled day as CFC-United Arab Emirates celebrated its 21st Anniversary at the UAE University in Al Ain last November 15, 2013. The joyful anniversary celebration started with a Thanksgiving Mass at St. Mary’s Church with His Excellency Bishop Paul Hinder as the main celebrant. In his homily, Bishop Paul Hinder stressed the importance of becoming a true witness of experiencing God’s love and sharing this to all. Members of the CFC UAE National Council together with Jimmy Ilagan, a member of the CFC International Council and Philippine Missions Director, later met with Bishop Hinder and parish priest Rev. Fr. Anthony, assuring them of CFC’s continuing support of all church activities and expressed desire to work even more closely with the church in pastoral formation and new evangelization efforts. Preparations for the anniversary celebration started a month before as CFC’s International Spiritual Director, Msgr. Allen Aganon, visited the UAE and conducted a spirit-filled retreat attended by the 220 CFC UAE Mission Core members. Msgr. Aganon likewise visited the various parishes, celebrated Holy Mass, and gave the talk “Sacraments - Keeping the Faith as a Migrant Worker” to all parishioners. Approximately 4,000 members coming from the various emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah attended the celebrations. The day commenced with a parade representing all areas and family ministries. After the parade, National Council member, Mario Dizo, led a short but moving prayer focused on asking God to take good care of those affected by the recent calamity that struck the Philippines and use CFC community to ease the suffering of our beloved countrymen back home. Ramuel Garcia, UAE National Director and Country Head delivered his State of the Mission Address (SOMA) encouraging all members to continue loving, serving, and praying for one another. He also stressed that all are called to be a missionary. After the colorful presentations, Jimmy Ilagan delivered a very inspiring anniversary message, calling on each one to be vigilant and to con-
tinue to passionately serve God and His people. Ilagan introduced the new set of members of the UAE National Council and asked all present to extend their hands toward the council members and their spouses, asking God for continuous guidance, protection, and wisdom. The new set of CFC UAE National Council (effective January 2014) is as follows: • Ramuel Garcia (Country Head and National Director) • Ernie Uson (NC Mission, Evangelization & Church Integration Head) • Mario Dizo (NC Family Ministries Head) • Mar Santos (current Area Director of CFC Sharjah and Northern Emirates) • Bal Quiambao (current Area Director of CFC Abu Dhabi) • Bong Valencia (currently a member of Abu Dhabi AGT and Sector Head of CFC Al Ain) • Arnel Batusin (currently a member of Dubai AGT and Sector Head of CFC Dubai & Jebel Ali) The 21st CFC UAE Anniversary celebration activity ended with a closing prayer led by Leo Verdolaga, out-going National Council member, thanking God for being so faithful for 21 years of CFC existence in the UAE. With 8,500 active members, CFC UAE is the third largest CFC community outside of the Philippines, after CFC USA and CFC Canada. By God’s grace, CFC UAE has become a Regional Mission Center and takes care of CFC’s mission and evangelization work in 10 Countries in Africa, 4 Countries in the Middle East, and 4 Countries in Central and South Asia. This year, CFC UAE funded ANCOP projects worth Php6.5M. Education projects include sponsoring 80 college scholars in ANCOP’s Child Sponsorship Program and funding of 18 Cornerstone projects. CFC UAE also funded two surgical missions in Baybay, Leyte and Bangued, Abra, bringing Christ’s love to the over 150 poorest of the poor who otherwise would not have been able to afford major surgeries. Community development projects include completion of a multi-purpose hall in Kanlungan ng Pag-asa Village in Bani, Bataan and 185 emergency shelters for Davao typhoon victims.
CFC Metro Manila West C Meets Harold Sala
By George and Chit Miravite
November 15, 2013 was an eventful teaching night at the St. Vincent Parish Church in Tandang Sora, Quezon City for CFC Metro Manila West C sector as well-known speaker, author and Bible teacher Harold Sala and his lovely wife Darlene, alternately talked about “Writing the Story of Us with a Happy Ending”. Jun and Jean Uriarte, member of the International Council, were also present at the well-attended event that almost filled up the huge church. West C Pastoral Formation Head Norman Robles opened the event with a powerful worship, which was followed with the warm welcome and introduction of the speaker-couple by the Sector Head, Steve maningat. To the surprise of the audience, the couple, both aged almost 80, still looked vibrant, energetic and very much in love. Unmindful of the scaffoldings due to the ongoing church repairs, the Sala couple started by excitedly introducing their growing family, and talking about their 15 years of pastoral work in the Philippines, their ministry and more importantly their love story. The first challenging statement from the couple was that marriages with happy endings are the result of learning to cope, being willing to be vulnerable, living without selfishness, embracing
God’s way, forgiving quickly and being willing to change. Impossible? No! Difficult? Yes! Couples still argue that often, men do not understand their wives while wives think their husbands are completely ignoring them, but what they really need are unwavering commitment, a Christcentered life, an open communication, immediate resolution of conflicts and issues, forgiveness, having fun together, meeting each other’s needs, building confidence, and living with a purpose to achieve longevity and blissful endings. As the night progressed, the Harold and Darlene, as well as the audience, constantly exchanged stolen glances timid smiles, intermittent laughter and serious looks with their spouses, clearly an indication that love was indeed in the air. Finally, the Sala couple encouraged CFC to continuously build and support each other regardless of the circumstances in their life. They exhorted their audience to live today as if it was their last day together. Happy endings are indeed celebrations of God’s goodness. As couples held hands together and whispered sweet nothings as they exited the church doors, it was encouraging to see that the love stories of those couples will have happy endings that are about to be written.
With His Might, We Fight! By Alma Alvarez “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.” -John 1:15 This was the opening salvo of Catchfire 2013, the prayer rally organized by Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (ALNP) Community last December 1, 2013. The ULTRA was jam-packed as members of ALNP and its affiliate communities Lingkod ng Panginoon, Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP), Christ Youth in Action (CYA), Tahanan ng Panginoon, Familia, Women for Christ, and Couples for Christ rocked the stadium with a powerful opening worship following the Mass celebrated by no less than the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, His Excellency Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas. After the testimonials of Manny and Arlene
Arcilla, Mon Dalay, and Atty. Ted Te on how they fought their battles with the might of God, Bobby Quitain, an elder of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community, delivered a formidable talk on the Catchfire theme, “With His Might, We Fight!” Quitain presented 4 ways. 1. Choose to enter. In whatever battle, all are encouraged to enter the battleground. Instead of being bystanders, every Christian must be soldiers. “Whatever your station is in the battlefield, fight your battle there. You may be a housewife, a government employee, or just a member of your prayer community. The Lord is telling you to fight where you are,” he emphasized. 2. Choose to equip. David was not used to the armor Saul gave him. Instead, he got his ever-reliable sling and his five smooth
stones and used them to slay Goliath. Quitain added, “What are our five “smooth stones”? Remember the 5 spokes the wheel— community, prayer, scripture, sacraments, evangelization.” 3. Choose to entrust. Whomever God owns, He takes care of. “Let us not only entrust our lives, but also our battles, to God. If we do this, He will win the battle for us, but in His own terms,” Quitain quipped. 4. Choose to engage. Perfect love casts out all fear. Christians must not turn their backs on the enemy. The Lord may not spare His people from the storm, but He will never, ever let go. To close the prayer rally, the leaders of all the affiliate communities were called onstage to pray over the entire congregation.