Vol. 17 No. 23
November 11 - 24, 2013
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Missionaries Join1 Philippine Conference on New Evangelization st
journey and a Spirit-filled experience. It later dawned on me that the concept of New Evangelization is best understood when it is actually experienced. More than the classroom experience, it was the ‘marketplace’ and ‘be with the people outside’ experience that defined New Evangelization for me. Truly, New
By the CFC Docu Team The first Philippine Conference on New Evangelization was truly a brand new experience for the 50 delegates from the CFC Global Mission Center, as well as the CFC representatives from the Sectors and parishes. The PCNE, which was held last October 16 to 18, 2013 at the University of Sto. Tomas, added “new flavor” to the lives of these participants in the light of their mission, inspired by no less than His Eminence, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. During the 3-day conference, the celebration of the Eucharist
Evangelization is not something you can box nor predict. New Evangelization is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, and that wherever the Holy Spirit blows that is where we must go. Adrian Enaje SFC Fulltime Pastoral Worker
I was a late registrant to the PCNE. The day before the conference, I realized there was no Handmaids of the Lord PFO delegate and felt the Holy Spirit prodding me to attend. Looking back, I praise the Lord that I listened to that “small voice” telling me to go and “leave work” for a while in exchange for
time to “listen to the Lord”. And how He spoke to me during the conference! Bernie Cuevas CFC HOLD Elder Humility—that was the lesson
PCNE / C2
became the central source of inspiration, from the Misa ng Bayang Pilipino on the first day, the Eucharistic Celebration with Confessio Pecatti et Laudis during the second day, and the Concluding Eucharist with Lumina Pandit of the third day. Cardinal Tagle, who was dubbed the “Rockstar of the Archdiocese of Manila” because of his intellect and magnetism, put together a stellar conference that would be very hard to beat. Here are some insights from among the participants from the CFC GMC: From the 1st day to the 3rd day, the PCNE was a Spirit-filled
BCOP Planning Yields Common Areas of Engagement Couples For Christ as well as the general directions in support to the CFC International Council Strategic Priorities for 2014-16. In the afternoon, each ANCOP and SocDev Program Heads presented the vision/mission, program objectives and key results of their various programs, after which, all participants were given groups and asked to identify shared objectives and areas of engagement. During the second day, Ting presented some learning from Matthew 13 to help lay the groundwork for engagement. In summary, Jesus’ story suggests that leaders need to promote the following: Clarity (Solid Base of Understanding), Realistic Expectations and the Priority of the Undertaking. Hizon then presented the summarized output of all the groups. The following were the common objectives of the BCOP Programs: 1. To create awareness and appreciation of all the programs among all members in the sectors and provinces; 2. To encourage both leaders and members to an acceptance of the programs as part of the CFC mission and to have the passion for the work; 3. To identify, appoint, and empower leaders to each or all of the BCOP programs; 4. To generate and source funds for the programs’ operation over and above the funding for our poor clientele; and 5. To do needs assessment and to develop training and operations manual that can be used for info dissemination and training in all areas. Fruitful two days, clockwise from bottom right: early birds register to the BCOP planning; Mindanao leaders in full force; Eric delos Reyes and Rudy Gaspillo lead the Lord’s Day Celebration; Fr. Tony Pegon, SVD, exhorting the CFC leaders: “If you serve the poor, you serve God.”; CFC leaders serving in BCOP ready for 2014; group workshop and reporting of common strategies.
By Alma Alvarez After the positive turn out of the “Building the Church of the Poor (BCOP)” engagement activity a few months back, Couples for Christ leaders and heads of ANCOP and the Social Development (SocDev) Programs came together for a weekend BCOP Planning last October 26 and 27, 2013 in Tagaytay City. Thelma Hizon, CFC HOLD BCOP Coordinator, facilitated the activities during the event. BCOP Director Ricky Cuenca once again enkindled the participants’ passion to be catalysts of engagement in the various BCOP programs, not because the leaders tell them to, but because
it is God’s call for each CFC member to have preferential love for the poor. Cuenca echoed Fr. Tony Pegon’s exhortation in his homily during the morning Mass: “Jesus said the poor will always be with us. Who is the poor? Jesus could be referring to Himself, who was born poor. Didn’t He say, ‘Whatever you do to the least of your brethren, you do unto Me?’ If we serve the poor, then we serve God.” Rizal Ting, CFC ANCOP Operations Director and Social Development Coordinator, then presented a brief status update of our BCOP engagement as of 3rd Quarter of 2013 and the effort in reviewing the mission statement of each program as it relates to the overall vision and mission of
Also highlighted were twelve common strategies for BCOP engagement for CFC: 1. Conduct BCOP appreciation workshops for leaders and members in the sectors/provinces; 2. Organize Road Shows (Regional or Provincial); 3. Bring discussion and sharing of the benefits of the BCOP program/s to the household level; 4. Provide leaders with manuals and materials of all the BCOP programs; 5. Appreciation and understanding for the work should start from the top leadership down to the Households; 6. Top leaders with passion for the work should inspire the membership; 7. Serving the poor is a means to spiritual growth, thus PFO should include this in our teachings; 8. Appointed BCOP leaders should be empowered and given support by top leaders and other
pastoral leaders; 9. Appointed leaders to be given training and equipped with materials; 10. CFC to allocate funds for SocDev programs; 11. Monitor, support, and manage the social development programs; an office with staff similar to ANCOP should also be set up; 12. Programs with training (Values Formation), facilitators and trainors shall support the capability building needs of the provinces. Eric Delos Reyes, BCOP Deputy Director and CFC ANCOP President, raised additional 4 actionables for 2014, which was agreed by the planning body & International Council (IC) in attendance: 1. Provide a BCOP (Ancop/SocDev) office space in the GMC building; 2. Create & maintain a BCOP website linked with the CFC Global Communications Office; 3. Develop and mainstream BCOP Pastoral Formation Tracks; 4. Rationalize & schedule a joint BCOP programs roadshow. The session ended with positive responses from the ICs, Arnel Santos and Ricky Cuenca, who capped the activity with a prayer for empowerment.
Vol. 17 No. 23
November 11 - 24, 2014
A Call for an Intensified Work with the Poor Couples for Christ exists for the mission of Building the Church of the Home and the Poor. Let us first consider why in such sequence – home then poor. Since 1981, couples have been called to renewal through CFC. We have been blessed with exponential growth starting with only 16 couples. In 1993, the Family Ministries was launched and it reinforced our call to family renewal. By God’s grace, we peaked to about 1.4 million members and spread to more than a hundred countries. God intended CFC to be built as an army with a strong spiritual and pastoral foundation and a passion for family renewal to prepare us for the great work of Building the Church of the Poor. Without this foundation, our endeavors will fall short and will not be sustainable. As early as 1995, CFC started to do its work in Bagong Silang through ANCOP and side by side build up the different Social Ministries. In 2000, during the Jubilee year the bigger CFC community started to embrace the Work with the Poor and officially launched it in 2003 through Gawad Kalinga. We went through difficult phase in understanding the CFC way of answering the cry of the poor. In 2009, we let go of GK to pursue the CFC way of helping the poor, making Christ the face of our work, and evangelization as our primary purpose through ANCOP. In 2013, the efforts to societal renewal were merged under the banner of BCOP or Building the Church of the Poor. BCOP is now presented in two branches, namely ANCOP and the Social Development Programs (formerly Social Ministries). A basic appreciation of the history of BCOP is essential to our continuous growth, the deepening of our convictions, and in increasing our confidence that what we are doing is truly God’s will for CFC. A Preferential Love for the Poor “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19. Through this verse, we are reminded that Jesus chose to be poor, from the manger all the way to the Cross. He declared bringing glad tidings to the poor as His mission. He is biased for the poor. In fact in our Orientation talk, we point out the differ-
ent types of “poor” people – the blind, the lame, captives, etc. In CFC, we have to address the different types of poverty: a. The Spiritually poor – Growing to holiness in Christ; b. The Emotionally poor – Building the Church of the Home; c. The Physically and Materially poor – Building the Church of the Poor. CFC is called to the work of Total Christian Liberation. God has come to liberate us fully and totally. God’s love is not partial, it is always complete – it is perfect. And as the Lord has a bias for our poverty, we too, as Altus Christus or “Another Christ” must develop a preferential love for the poor. The way to do this is to seek the face of Christ in the poor. Loving the poor means loving Christ. If we are truly lovers of Christ, we are lovers of the poor. Intense Love for Jesus “The work we do is only a means, not an end in itself. No matter how beautiful the work may be, it is still just a simple means. After all, what matters is to belong to Jesus. The work we do is our love for Christ transformed into deeds.” (One Heart full of Love, Mother Teresa of Calcutta) The intensity of our love for Christ is manifested in the way we love the poor. Are we truly lovers of Christ? If we cannot see the sufferings of Christ in the marginalized, in the unjust social structures, in the prisons, in the degradation of the environment, in the victims of calamity, then we have to look into our own hearts and renew our love for Jesus. Have our hearts become calloused? Are we so used to see poverty around us that we have been desensitized of the obvious need of our fellow man? Are we afraid of the kind of commitment needed to serve the poor? Let us accept the challenge to love fully. An intensified work with the poor requires an intensified love for Christ. How can we respond concretely to BCOP? First, simply your life. One of the major reasons why there is widespread poverty is a lack of sharing. What things do you have that you no longer use? Many of us have unused clothes that are in our closets for over a year. A lot of us spend much money in eating unhealthy food instead of simple and nutritious food. We also waste a lot of food that we could have easily shared
with those who have none. We also unnecessarily buy expensive things to simply entertain us. It is not to cast judgement on what we spend on, but to apply social justice in our own simple ways. Second, give your best to the poor. The poor does not deserve scraps, but the fines we can offer. The story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-23 depicts how the rich man suffered in hell not because he maltreated the poor, but because he gave scraps to the poor. Often, our tendency is to give what we do not need that can be considered junk. We have to offer the best for the least because it is Christ to whom we are offering. Third, commit to the work of BCOP. All of us have a role to play in Building the Church of the Poor. The growth of our mission is highly dependent on the commitment you have to the Lord through the service that he has called you. The Lord has made us accountable, not to burden us, but to save our own souls. Our commitment also translates into the salvation of our souls. It is not that we are a blessing to BCOP but BCOP can lead us to our own salvation. Then they will answer and say, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?” He will answer them, “Amen I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:44-46. Intensified Work with the Poor What does it mean to be intense? Intensity means to be expressive of great zeal, energy, determination or concentration. Intense love for Jesus should be translated to an intensified service! How? Through serving with great zeal for ANCOP, and serving with energy and determination in our Social Development Programs. Let us look upon our Mother Mary as our model. In her poverty, she followed and served Jesus. With a pierced heart, she endured many sufferings and remained faithful to the Lord. The work of BCOP will not be easy. It will require much love and sacrifice. Together let us serve with passion and intensity and ask for the intercession of Our Lady of Banneux, the Virgin of the Poor who said, “I come to relieve suffering.” Like Mary, we are called to relieve suffering in the world brought by the evils of poverty. Let us ask for God’s grace and Mary’s help.
Strengthening CFC’s Church Relations The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 states, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Fulfilling the Great Commission isn’t always easy, especially in areas where we are starting our Couples for Christ communities with limited resources. Partnering and developing relationships with the local dioceses/ parishes typically pose a challenge. Last year, I was asked to help out our Church Relations office in securing CFC recognition and developing partnership with our local parishes all across the USA. When hurricane Sandy hit the New York/ New Jersey area in 2012, it gave CFC ANCOP USA the opportunity to help out through fundraising for the Sandy victims by working with the Catholic Charities of New York. This helped pave the way for CFC to secure a recognition from the Archdiocese of New York, include a meeting with His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan to discuss our CFC mission and how we can help the NY parishes through
our CFC communities. The meeting gave me the courage and inspiration to try to explore different ways to reach out to the lost for Jesus Christ—if we want to build God’s kingdom by spreading His Word, if we want to serve those living in desperate poverty while offering hope for the future, then developing a partnership with our local parishes/ dioceses can be an avenue to help us pursue the Lord’s call to missions. It is evident that we need a multi-pronged approach in our evangelization work. The first part involves understanding the key importance of a CFC recognition to work in the local diocese/ parish. The second part involves utilizing our work with the poor as an entry point. Our mission to “Build the Church of the Poor” is a special call that promotes the love of children and those in need, through God’s love and compassion. The third part involves assessing the needs of the local diocese to find the best program. According to Poland’s Statistical Institute of the Catholic Church, weekly church attendance has dropped from 53% of the population in 1987 to less than 40% in 2011. It is the low-
est number ever recorded, said Bruce Porter-Szucs, a history professor at the University of Michigan who writes extensively about Poland. This statement holds true across Europe. It is therefore imperative that we should encourage household groups to openly welcome their Priest or Deacon in one or more of their regular household meetings. For example in Athens, Greece, Luis Ilagan and the CFC team work closely with the Archdiocese of Athens’ Fr. George and Archbishop Faloskos in reviving interest and promoting vibrancy in the local parishes. Partnership and collaboration with the church helps us achieve the clergy’s appreciation of our CFC life and mission. Together, let us make a big difference in our evangelization work, not only in the United States, in Europe, and other developed countries, but across the globe. Let us strengthen our Church Relations team. And let us make our presence felt in our Archdioceses, Dioceses, and Parishes as we approach the Year of the Laity. Roger Santos is a member of the CFC USA National Council, Executive Director of ANCOP Foundation USA Inc. and Country Coordinator of Greece.
COUPLES FOR CHRIST thru its Global Mission Center in Manila is accepting donations for the victims of “Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), most especially our affected CFC brethren. For cash donations: ACCOUNT NAME: Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Inc., BANK ACCOUNT: BPI Account No. 0120-1101-01, BRANCH: Aurora Cubao, SWIFT CODE:BOPIPHMM or www.cfchomeoffice.com/calamityfund for credit card. Thank you and may we all be one in prayers that the “SON will SHINE” once again in their lives.
CFC North B Welcomes New Parish Priest
Standing from left are: Dr. Rene Reyes (NB SGT-BCOP), Bong Bongcac (NB SGT-Evangelization/Mission and Church Integration) , Ermie Sebastian (NB SGT-PFO), Rev. Fr. Marlou LeMaire (Parish Priest, St. Peter Parish Shrine and Treasurer of the Diocese of Novaliches), Ernie Balarbar (North B Sector Head), Jake Ayson (NB2 Cluster Head), Bobot Bautista (NB SGT- Mission Support and Treasurer-St. Peter Shrine), and Andy Palma (NB2 Chapter Head and St Peter Shrine Parish Pastoral Council President); Seated from left are the leaders’ wives: Cynthia Reyes, Alice Bongcac, Pat Ayson and Echie Bautista.
CFC Metro Manila North B Sector Leaders met with Rev. Fr. Marlou V. LeMaire, the new Parish Priest of St . Peter Shrine, last October 16, 2013 at the Max’s Restaurant along Commonwealth Avenue, Q.C. Fr. Marlou and the North B leaders agreed to work hand in hand in spreading the good news of the Lord through the CLPs, teachings, and other activities of the St. Peter Shrine.
CFC Migrants Program Holds Family Fun Run
The Couples for Christ Migrants Program, one of our BCOP Social Development Programs, is inviting everyone to the 1st CFC Migrants Family Fun Run to be held on the 24th of November, 2013, Sunday, 5:00 AM at the Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Sta. Rosa Laguna. The Fun Run will have 3 events—the 10K (P500 entry fee), 5K (P400 entry fee), and 3K (P300 entry fee) with cash prizes. The activity aims to create awareness on the Migrants Program. Proceeds will fund the various activities of the Program in its effort to bring the Values Formation programs to the different Parishes, Schools, Barangays, Recruitment and Manning/Crewing Agencies and Organizations and Government Institutions involved with migration. For those interested to join, you may contact Jess M. Ferrer at 09189134628 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tony Obien at 09178632481 or email@example.com. PCNE / C1
that stuck to me the most during the entire PCNE. Since Day 1, Cardinal Tagle had somehow constantly reminded his fellow Archbishops, Bishops and Priests to allow the laity to take communion first before they did. And when His Eminence asked for forgiveness from the leaders of other faiths for the shortcomings of the Catholic Church—that truly floored me! However, on a more personal note, I felt God giving me a dose of the humility pill as well. After getting bored during the Streams and Faith sharing sessions, thinking, “I don’t need this, I know this already!”, one of the catechists shared about how the workshop had changed her. It was as if God was telling me, “Not everything is about you, my child.” And that’s when I realized how easy it is for us in ministry work to fall into the sin of pride. But through the model set before me in the person of Cardinal Tagle, I was somehow ‘tamed’. Deo Oliveria Visual Artist, CFC Comm
topic Popular Religiosity and New Evangelization. Popular religiosity is an expression of Catholic faith as well, and that it is also the work of the Holy Spirit. I am reminded not to lose these practices especially in these modern times. I will try my best to preserve and share what I have learned because through these teachings, Christ is also shared to others. Also learned from Fr Arevalo that, “You do not know that there is much holiness in the ordinariness of life, in the poor.” As a YFC serving in advocacies where we encounter different stories of the young, especially the less fortunate, I am now mindful that every encounter with them is definitely a step towards holiness. On Fr. Arevalo’s closing statement, I learned that “victory comes from God. When it comes from God, it comes through the hands of Mary.” Regina Luy YFC Fulltime Pastoral Worker
Jing Jing de Guzman Human Resource
In the faith and group sharing circles, I met people from different places and different communities and ministries. As I was sharing joyfully what CFC has given to me as a community, I was also inspired and amazed with their stories and ways of serving God. In one reflection, I saw a vision of myself on a journey, lifting up a heavy cross. That journey wasn’t that hard for Jesus was also with me, also lifting His cross. Though I fell and got tired, and put down my cross, Jesus kept on, inspiring me more and more. I believe that as a missionary, we are like Jesus who will bring joy and peace to an ever-changing world. This conference helped me to be united with the other servants of the Catholic Church, believing that God makes all things new. Cardinal Tagle said, “You are not just the future, but also the present Church”. We are called to embrace our religion, spread the faith and be more effective evangelizers. We are the saints of the New Millenium.
I was drawn by the passion of Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ who gave us a fresh perspective on the
Jonathan Polinar KFC Fulltime Pastoral Worker
After I learned about the 8 stages of life and how each person experiences brokenness in every stage in the workshop I attended, I am now more aware of every individual’s character, and why some are very easy to get along with, while others take time to warm up. A person’s traits and reactions to certain situations may be brought about by how they grew up or how they were raised as children, and in my new mission as a Recruitment and Employee Relations Officer, the lessons I learned became an eye opener for me not to judge people on how they handle or react to circumstances. These new learnings will help me to do my mission more effectively by being more understanding of the people I work with.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 23
November 11 - 24, 2014
CFC–UAE Sponsors Baybay, Leyte Surgical Mission
Christ@Home: Being Family Evangelizers
An empowering weekend for everyone serving in Kids for Christ; Fr. Lousito Alambra celebrating the Holy during Day 1 of the event; CFC Executive Director George Campos welcoming all the participants; Mannix Ocampo, CFC Family Ministries Director.
By Ramuel Garcia A team of CFC surgeons, doctors, and nurses led by Dr. Joe Yamamoto and Dr. Bernie Cueto, Provincial Area Head for Abra and a surgeon from Makati Medical Center, arrived at the Tacloban Airport on 12 September, 2013 and braved a 2 hour road trip to reach Baybay, Leyte for a surgical mission. The team included 5 senior surgeons, 1 plastic surgeon, 1 OBGYNE, 1 ophthalmologist, 1 otorhinolaryngologist, 1 internist, 5 junior surgeons, and 5 nurses. Demy Pascual, CFC Servants of the Lord United Arab Emirates National Coordinator and a nurse by profession employed with
the Dubai Police, joined the surgical mission team. The team completed at least 45 major surgeries, 60 minor surgeries, and gave out 300 reading glasses. All patients were verified indigents. Conservative present day estimates based on the type of surgeries performed is PHP 2.2 million to have the major surgeries done, another PHP 300,000.00 to do the minor surgeries, and PHP 45,000.00 for the reading glasses. The CFC Surgical Mission was made possible via a partnership with the Provincial Government, the Western Leyte Provincial Hospital, and the CFC – UAE community for generously funding the surgical mission.
JPMC Visits Cornerstone Kids
By Pearl Barretto, Maryknoll Maagad and Erika Enaje “Christ@Home: Family Evangelizers”—this was the theme of the 2nd National Couple Coordinators’ Conference, where 650 Couple Coordinators of CFC Kids for Christ all over the Philippines gathered for another Spirit-filled weekend with God and with the members of the community. The conference was held at the Kaban ng Hiyas in Mandaluyong City last 18th of October, then at the Amoranto Sports Complex last October 19th and 20th 2013. Friday evening started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Fr. Lousito Alambra, followed by the opening worship led by Rico Gamogamo. The KFC Couple Coordinators were welcomed by George Campos, CFC Executive Director. On the same night, Coordinators showcased their talents through the different creative competitions: Modern Cultural Dance Showdown, Tunog-tao Acapella, and Harana Duet. The night ended with a closing prayer led by Badz Dimacutac. On the second day, Fr. Joel Jason celebrated Mass, exhorting the participants with this powerful message: “to evangelize the kids, we do not start with rules but we start with our lives”. The opening worship was then led by Raffy Mundo, followed by the 1st Session titled “Christ at Home”, given by Bong Arjonillo. The session reminded everyone that aside from having a caring, loving, and sharing home, families should especially have a Christ-centered home. After the session, the Couple Coordinators joined in the Special competitions: R.A.K. Race,
Captured (Photography), Minute to Win It, Family Evangelizers Short Film Competition, Trophy-Making Contest and in the fun games. The highlight of the day was the Top ModelCoordinators’ Edition, where the Coordinators themselves donned and modeled gowns made of indigenous materials. In the afternoon, Jason Briones and Nice Geraldez, along with 70 ROCK Facilitators of Metro Manila, conducted a workshop wherein the Coordinators enjoyed acting like Kids for Christ members in a mock KFC assembly. Come evening, Nic Escalona Jr., KFC Intenational Coordinator, delivered the 2nd session, “Evangelized Families”. In this session, Escalona stressed that the family is regarded as the primary place for transmitting faith. Moreover, as families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth, CFC is given the task to nurture faith in God and develop growth in holiness at the family level. Even if the family is under attack, the family should always remain faithful to God amidst all the challenges. The session was capped by the praise fest led by Andrew Macatangay. For the last day of the event, Fr. Francis Lucas reminded the Coordinators in his homily, “being faithful to your faith is the most extreme challenge”. After the opening worship led by Gilbert Ocampo, Voltz Lizardo gave the 3rd session entitled “Family Evangelizers”, motivating the participants to become family evangelizers by being united in faith and love, as well as becoming the “L-I-G-H-T!” of Christ as a family.
Running the Race, the ANCOP Way By Pat Villanueva
JP Morgan and Chase distributed back-to-school kits to Cornerstone children from Northville Elementary School, Pampanga (October 4, 2013), Ramon Magsaysay Elementary School, Quezon City (October 11, 2013), Bubukal Elementary School, Laguna (October 14, 2013), and Kapitan Eddie Reyes Memorial Elementary School, Taguig City. The activity marked the beginning of a long-term partnership between Cornerstone and JP Morgan and Chase. A simple program accompanied the kit distribution, wherein the students and JPMC volunteers sang and danced and had a great time together. (Sherryl de Leon)
CFC Handmaids of the Lord Environmental Efforts Recognized by NHA
The CFC Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) received the Housing Award from the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and National Housing Authority (NHA) during the 2013 Housing Fair at the SM Mega Trade Hall last October 25, 2013. The award, given by Vice President Jejomar Binay and NHA General Manager Chito Cruz, was accepted by Thelma Hizon on behalf of the CFC community. CFC HOLD was given the award for “its vital role in promoting efficient delivery of housing strategies and programs thus enhancing the provision of housing services truly responsive to the needs of the Filipinos”. During the awarding, recognition was given to the CFC HOLD specifically for its contribution to the
NHA Relocation Areas as “the most dynamic group that contributes to the environmental needs of the NHA housing”. As provided for in a MOA with NHA, CFC HOLD has been donating seedlings and planting these in almost all the relocation areas around Metro Manila for the last 2 years. Values Formation on Stewardship of God’s Creation, Climate Change and Waste Segregation has been conducted in these housing projects. Its latest project was donating 2,000 fruit bearing seedlings and 2,000 malunggay cuttings for the NHA Tanay Housing Project last July, 2013, as well as a one day Values Formation Seminar held at the Tanay Municipal Hall for all the officers of the Housing project.
ANCOP USA volunteers and marathon participants from the Southwest Region, hit the streets before sunrise on Sunday, October 13, for the Long Beach Marathon. The Long Beach Marathon started in 1982 but this year was made extra special because of ANCOP USA’s participation after a long hiatus. In addition to the marathon, half-marathon, and 5K walk/run, a bicycle tour began by going south on Shoreline Drive and continued on to the final 20 miles of the marathon course. All of the proceeds will go to the beneficiaries sponsored by ANCOPUSA. For some racers, the event was a family affair. Bong Cristobal came with his wife Nette and both of them participated the bike tour. Eric Picazo and his wife, Gretchen, along with their daughter Leslie Ann walked the 5K course. A few more couples from CFC joined the half marathon. The father and daughter tandem of Sonny and Sarah Berberabe were the top donation-getter based on the online web donation page. The event organizer for ANCOP USA, Noli Calingo, participated in more than one event. After finishing the bike race, he mustered enough strength and participated in the 5K run. Eric Villanueva, ANCOP USA President and National Director for Couples for Christ USA, together with wife Pat, was one of the participants. Festive music and a lot of supporters from various or-
ganizations and community groups offered runners an encouraging push. Members of Couples for Christ from different chapters and different ministries manned water stations and distributed water to the runners. The runners, bikers, and walkers were rewarded with a sumptuous lunch lovingly prepared by the Handmaids of the Lord of Southern California together with CFC members and the rest of Southwest-B Region ANCOP volunteers.
As of this writing the total donation collected through the website is close to breaking the 20K barrier. This is not counting thousands of donations that have gone by way of cash and checks. Chito Noriega, one of CFC Chapter Leaders, and many others are already looking forward to next year’s marathon and are envisioning a bigger participation of Couples for Christ in the Long Beach Marathon to raise funds for a good cause, all for the love of the poor, and for the greater glory of God!
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 facebook.com/CFC.Global.Mission
‘Beloved’ Conference Goes to the Middle East
Vol. 17 No. 23
November 11 - 24, 2013
Retreat Prepares CFC UAE Mission Core for 21st Anniversary By Ramuel and Beth Garcia
By Mel Torralba It was yet again another very memorable experience for Singles for Christ members who attended the 15th SFC Middle East Conference. Entitled “Beloved”, the conference whose anchor verse is taken from 1 John 4:19 (“We love because He first loved us.”), was held last October 25-26, 2013 in the lush green oasis city of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Over a thousand delegates from Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, Seychelles, Manila, and UAE attended the conference. SFC leaders gathered the night before the conference for the Singles Core Group (SCG) Summit. All SFC leaders in the region came together for a night
of empowerment leading to oneness and a common understanding of the principles and morals SFC stands for as a ministry. SFC fulltime missionaries, headed by Noli Manuel, who is also the SFC International Coordinator and SFC Middle East Region Head, facilitated the SCG Summit. The Conference started with the Holy Mass celebrated at St. Mary’s Church, with CFC’s Spiritual Director, Msgr. Allen Aganon officiating. God faithfully blesses each SFC conference with a different experience of Jesus. Every year leaves a mark and every year leads to an enriching life in Christ. The theme “Beloved” was expressed so profoundly during the conference, making participants realize that they
are indeed God’s beloved in the truest sense of the word. Hosting a major event in a conservative community like Al Ain presented many hurdles for the service team. Surpassing these many challenges during the planning stages, preparation, and execution of the event made the conference and the theme even more meaningful. For instance, despite having the necessary permit to hold the event, local authorities still came by a number of times during the day for spot checks. Everyone present took this positively, making Jesus shine further. The realization that all are God’s beloved sons and daughters strengthened one’s resolve to be like Christ and bring His love to the far ends of the earth as all have been commissioned.
Alaska Conquered! By Pat Villanueva
The very 1st CLP in Barrow, Alaska graduated 17 new members dedicated into the CFC Alaska family. With the support of Fr. Nelson (who himself attended and became one of the Servants of the Lord members), the Mission Team composed of Eric & Pat Villanueva, Bert and Chary Araneta and Giovi Paras had an enjoyable time. In spite of the below zero weather (negative 7), the team was welcomed with the warmth and hospitality of the participants. Barrow, Alaska is so remote that Fr. Nelson only comes by twice a month to hold Mass in the area. It is the northernmost City in the whole of the US. With God’s grace, our courageous mission team braved the elements and was rewarded by the vibrancy of our new members here in Alaska. After the CLP, the word spread like wild fire and potential participants already expressed their interest in joining the next CLP. Join us in welcoming the 37th State in the CFCUSA family!
Namibia Embraces Couples for Christ
CFC International Council Spiritual Director, Msgr. Allen Aganon, conducted a Spirit-filled retreat last October 18-19, 2013 for 220 members of CFC United Arab Emirates Mission Core Group to prepare their hearts for the upcoming CFC UAE’s 21st anniversary celebration this November. Bishop Paul Hinder generously allowed CFC to use the newly constructed St. Anthony De Padua Catholic Church located in the Northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. Msgr. Allen celebrated Holy Masses for the Mission Core and led the group into adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Msgr. Allen gave four talks during the two-day retreat. In Talk 1, Msgr. Allen gave an introduction to the CFC Spirituality—following Christ under the direction of the Spirit and beneath the guidance of the Catholic Church. He discussed the changing times from pre- to post-modernism and the resulting insecurity and hopelessness which leads to a desire to return to the past, a hunger for spirituality, and a hunger for healing. During the guided meditation, the attendees paused and pondered where each one was in their relationship with God and their path to holiness. In Talk2 (“CFC as Christ the Beloved Son”), Msgr. Aganon discussed the Lord Jesus Christ’s relationship with God the Father and how the participants can deepen such relationship with God through prayer life. Msgr. Allen likewise exhorted everyone to follow Jesus’ example of always wanting and excited about being with the Father at the end of the day in prayer, of having “monastic hearts” regardless of how tiring, busy, or stressed out one’s day had been. He further stressed that there must be a conscious awareness of one’s identity as beloved sons and daughters of God, (alter Christus) by
Bishop Paul Hinder Appoints Spiritual Advisers for CFC Areas
By Ramuel and Beth Garcia By Bads and Agnes Ellica
After several attempts to visit Namibia, a mission team from CFC United Arab Emirates finally reached the rugged but very fertile land of this predominantly Christian country. In Namibia, the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church are the biggest faith groups representing over 90% of the populace, while the remaining 10% is evenly distributed between Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus. The total land area of Namibia is about three times the size of the Philippines but has only 2.2 million people, compared to the 95 million people that inhabit the latter.
Archbishop Liborius N. Nashenda, OMI shepherds this growing community with two other Bishops sharing the responsibility of guiding 89 parishes. In an audience granted to Bads Ellica and Fr. Max Jacobs (Parish Priest of Omaruru), his Excellency shared his vision that all families in every parish shall eventually become members of Couples for Christ. More than two years ago, a missionary team from CFC South Africa visited the Archdiocese of Namibia and conducted a CLP. However, due to the far distances of the homes of members from each other, the CFC culture and way of life was not given the chance to flourish. This time around, a CLP was conducted among participants
organized by Sr. Aida Manlucu, National Head of the Family Life of the Namibian Bishops’ Conference, in coordination with the nearby parish of St. Augustine at Soweto area with Bads & Agnes Ellica, Fulltime Missionaries for CFC Middle East, as the speakers and with the communities of Middle East and South Africa as the prayer warriors. The 2-day CLP was conducted at St. Charles Lwanda Seminary on October 12-13, 2013 and garnered 17 CLP graduates. What is exciting to note is that the mission team left Namibia with a plan of organizing a series of CLP’s with over 30 couples to join, hopefully by January 2014.
A Celebration of Love
By Roni Van Tassel & Angie Magsisi
It was raining outside but the mood inside Cristo Rei was festive and full of excitement. The church and the reception hall were decorated in red and white but these paled in comparison to the beaming, elegantly-clad couples who arrived with their families to renew their wedding vows. As they went down the hall, they were greeted by flashing lights from the paparazzi led by Bert Yu and his wife, Brenda. The mass and the renewal of vows were officiated
by Fr. Carlos with ardor and with a burning fire in his heart. He seemed inspired with this particular celebration as it epitomized a lasting marriage, a blessed legacy to children of all generations. As he reminded the couples to “be careful with his/her heart, be faithful, forgive and accept because God is watching you,” Fr. Carlos also called on their children when he said, “you may not be present when your parents said their I dos but today you are witnesses to the renewal of their vows, an expression once again of their love for each other. When you go home tonight thank your
pure grace and the need to deepen that precious gift of the Father’s love given freely and generously. Talk 3, “CFC as Christ the Beloved Spouse”, discussed in detail Christ’s love for the Church and how as bridegroom, His love is consummated on the cross, giving himself fully to his beloved. Msgr. Allen exhorted CFC to follow Jesus’ example of self-sacrificial love for spouse. In post-modernism, people tend to doubt or question institutions like marriage. The enduring love, happiness, and solid relationship as married couples in CFC challenges those who question marriage as each couple lives out their identity as beloved spouses. Concluding that having a missionary spirit is the strongest element in CFC’s spirituality, Msgr. Allen encouraged everyone in the Mission Core to go on mission in his last talk titled “CFC as Christ the Missionary”. During the Mass of the second day, every participant was “sent off” empowered, aware of his identity as another Christ (ad extra), ready to proclaim the good news to the ends of the earth.
The Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, His Excellency Bishop Paul Hinder, met with the CFC United Arab Emirates National Council and Area Governance Teams in the presence of CFC International Council Spiritual Director, Msgr. Allen Aganon, and Rev. Fr. Troy Dos Santos on October 26, 2013 at the Bishop’s House and spoke about the work and ministry Couples For Christ throughout the country and beyond. CFC UAE National Director and Country Head, Ramuel Garcia, presented in detail the organizational framework, life and mission of CFC, and the current status of the community as CFC UAE celebrates with grateful hearts twenty one years of God’s grace and blessings. Garcia expressed CFC’s desire to work even more closely with the various parishes in the Vicariate and extend to all parishioners the many values formation teachings and youth programs of CFC and its Family Ministries. Msgr. Aganon, on the other hand, explained the role of a Spiritual Adviser, how they connect CFC to the Catholic Church, give guidance and suggestions on how CFC can improve and provide more services in the various parishes, provide
parents and congratulate them.” The affair saw a procession of 54 couples assisted by the Knights of Columbus and flowers girls who handed a rose to each wife as the couple marched towards the altar to the tune of “Cherish the Treasure.” Reception and fellowship followed with a beautiful, 3-layered, red velvet cake taking center stage giving the couples a chance to take souvenir photos. The smooth flow of the program was adeptly managed by Marisa Gozun and Mel Riazo, the emcees for the night. Upon completion of a scrumptious dinner buf-
spiritual guidance and help leaders discern major decisions and actions. Bishop Paul Hinder thanked the CFC leaders for the work being done in the Vicariate, as well as extending to mission countries in the Middle East and Africa. He gave an exhortation based to the day’s first reading, Romans 8:5-11, and touched on the importance of spiritual guidance by priests. At the request of the assembly, Bishop Paul Hinder appointed and confirmed the following as Spiritual Advisers for Couples for Christ and its Family Ministries: Fr. Antonio “Gob” Yapchiongco for CFC Northern Emirates (Sharjah, RAK, Fujairah); Fr. Tomasito “Tom” Veneracion for CFC Dubai (Dubai and Jebel Ali); and Fr. Troadio “Troy” dos Santos for CFC Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Ruwais). CFC UAE welcomes the newly appointed Spiritual Advisers with much joy and gratitude and look forward to working more closely with the Parish Priests in the Vicariate all for God’s glory. The CFC National Council and Area Governance Teams also met last November 9, 2013 for the 2014 Planning Session, led by CFC’s Executive Director, George Campos. Included in the mission plans and schedules are the new programs and services to be proposed to the parishes.
fet, a well-scripted video of the couples’ original wedding and family photos were shown. Quite irrefutably, this was one of the favored highlights of the night before each couple was introduced. As they were called, each couple walked their way to the dance floor … enjoyed their special moment ... a special dance ... while the rest watched enthralled. Truly, these celebrants were living witnesses to the parish, to the community and to the whole world that marriage does work. What an eventful affirmation of CFC’s theme for 2013, Obey & Witness indeed!