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THE NEWS SUPPLEMENT OF COUPLES FOR CHRIST CBCP Monitor. Vol. 21 No. 1

January 9 - 22, 2017 C1

CFC Opens the Year with First Fruit Offering By Alma Alvarez " ... you shall take some first fruits of t he various products of t he soil which you harvest from t he land which t he Lord, your God, gives you, and putting t hem in a basket, you shall go to t he place which t he Lord, your God, chooses for t he dwelling place of His name. There you shall go to t he priest in office at t hat time and say to him, 'Today I acknowledge to t he Lord my God t hat I have indeed come into t he land which He swore to our fat hers He would give us.' The priest shall t hen receive t he basket from you and shall set it in front of t he altar of t he Lord, your God. Then you shall declare before t he Lord, your God, 'He gave t his land flowing wit h milk and honey. Therefore, I have now brought you t he first fruits of t he products of t he soil which you, 0 Lord, have given me. ' And having set them before the Lord, your God, you shall bow down in His presence. Then you and your family... shall make merry over all t hese good t hings which t he Lord, your God, has given you."

This passage from Deuteronomy 26: 2-11 has been the community’s anchor verse and center of the exhortation for the annual First Fruit Offering, a Couples for Christ tradition that members of the Mission Core have been faithfully practicing.

The Metro Manila Mission Core held the First Fruit Offering for 2017 last January 8, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. Several areas in the Philippine Missions held their First Fruits Offering simultaneously with Metro Manila. In his exhortation, Rouquel Ponte, Director for Pastoral Formation, shared three important points: 1. offering of the first fruits is God’s call to CFC to express gratitude for His abundant blessings; 2. the envelope containing the first fruit

The Metro Manila Mission Core Gathering featured the traditional First Fruits offering. The MCG was held last Sunday, January 8, 2016 at the Ynares Gym in Pasig City, with His Excellency Most Reverend Francisco de Leon, D.D. Auxilliary Bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo, celebrating the Mass.

offering is a symbol of giving oneself, an expression of profound worship and an act of consecration; and lastly, 3. the faith in the divine principle that God will truly take care of all of the needs of those who believe in Him. Ponte encouraged the Mission Core

to utter a sincere prayer of thanksgiving before offering their first fruit. As the music ministry played an offertory song, the Mission Core members, led by the International Council and their spouses, proceeded to offer their First Fruits envelopes. At the start of every year, the very first

CFC, ABS-CBN Sign Pluma 2 MOU

Mission Core Gathering, and the subsequent gatherings of every group down the line in every area, province and country, are consecrated to the Lord through this tradition. It is a most solemn and sacred occasion, worthy of the Lord's Holiness.

“Life is valuable. Killing is not the answer.”

ABS-CBN executives and CFC leaders renewing agreement for Pluma Season 2

Couples for Christ, represented by CFC Chairman Joe Tale, CFC President George Campos and Director for Communications

Michael Ariola signed the Memorandum of Agreement with ABS-CBN for the telecast of Season 2 of Pluma. The formal sign-

ing ceremony was held on January 11, 2017. Ma. Socorro V. Vidanes, Chief Operating Officer PLUMA ABSCBN, C2

Former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza of the BUHAY Partylist, LAIKO President Zenaida Capistrano, Bishop Broderick Pabillo and CFC Chair Joe Tale answer questions from the media regarding the sanctity of life.

a

JANUARY

14

CFC Leaders Conference

All CFC and Family Min members

SATURDAY

15

SUNDAY

17

GLEC

8:00am-5:00pm

TUESDAY Teaching Night

7:00pm-10:00pm MCG Members & Intl Mission Leaders

EA Meeting

Elders Assembly 8:00am-5:00pm

11-13 16&18

Mission 101

Foreign Deligates

20-22

MM Mission Core Weekend

SAT-SUN MM MCG

Members

JUNE

24

36th Anniversary Celebration All CFC and Family Min members

According to Philippine National Police statistics, the war on drugs of the current administration has taken more than 6,000 lives during the period from June 2016 to the present. The daily news about the extrajudicial killings were recently replaced by the proposal by the House of Representatives Justice Committee to reimpose the death penalty in the Philippines. These developments are a source of concern for pro-life advocates, particularly the Catholic Church in the Philippines. What has been even more alarming is that even those who call themselves Christian seem to approve of the killings and of reimposing the death penalty. The Council of Laity of the Philippines or Laiko held a press conference last January 11, 2017 to

further articulate their sentiments with regards to the reimposition of the death penalty and the war on drugs. The members of the panel who faced the press were Mrs. Zenaida Capistrano, President of Laiko; Atty. Jose Tale, Chairman of Couples for Christ; Congressman Jose “Lito” Atienza; and Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo. The Council of Laity of the Philippines is a national public association of the lay faithful composed of 52 lay organizations and 51 diocesan councils. Couples for Christ is one of these lay organizations. Most Rev. Pabillo noted that the Church is mostly composed of the lay faithful, not the clergy. He reiterated that the conference was held to give the lay faithful a chance to speak and be heard.

To the oft-repeated claims of some that the Church has remained silent when it comes to issues affecting life, Rev. Pabillo said that the Church has kept on speaking even if no one was listening. The Church’s stance opposing extrajudicial killings and the death penalty remains constant, recognizing the value of the life of every individual, even those who have committed wrongdoings. Rev. Pabillo added that the Church encourages the lay faithful to be involved in politics. “Politics is supposed to be a higher form of service. It is a service for the common good. Politics is an exercise of love, love for the common good.” Rev. Pabillo concluded in his opening statement. The press conference was also called because

Laiko is launching “Walk for Life,” an annual event that aims to promote the value of life. “‘Walk for Life’ is not a form of protest [by the Catholic community] but it is an expression of our gratitude for life.” Mrs. Capistrano stated. “Walk for Life” will be held at the Quirino Grandstand on February 18, 2017. Details of the event are published on the Laiko website. Mrs. Capistrano added that she is 100% against the reimposition of the death penalty. “For us, life is valuable. It is given to us by God and only He can take it away.” She highly encouraged the institution of reforms instead of capital punishment and encouraged the lay faithful to support the Church’s position. LIFE, C2


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January 9 - 22, 2017 Vol. 21 No. 01

CBCP Monitor

CFC Airs at Veritas 846

From The Chairman Joe Tale

NEW YEAR MESSAGE As we begin another year, we recall as much as we can all the abundant blessings we enjoyed in 2016. Yes, there were low moments but in all the trials we went through we witnessed God's loving mercy which made us stronger in our faith. Indeed we can always REJOICE in the LORD knowing He wants only the best for His people. And so in PRAYER, with praise and

THANKSGIVING, we want to give Him all the honor and glory with the recommitment to try our best to live a life that pleases Him. For 2017 we ask God to bless our hearts with desires that are in accordance with His ways. May we live a life of prayer... always seeking His ways and living out the fruits of the Holy Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, humility, and selfcontrol (Galatians 5:22). May we STAND FIRM in our FAITH, always COURAGEOUS as we find our STRENGTH in the LORD. Most of all we ask God to help us grow in LOVE that we may do everything in love. A blessed and joyful 2017 to us all. May our JOY be in seeking God's will and following where He leads. CFC Communications Director Michael Ariola sits in during the interview of a CFC leader.

Your children around your table Psalm 128:3 Jun and Jean Uriarte have a regular series t hat t hey call “Letters from Priscilla and Aquila,” a venue by which t hey attempt to impart Christian values based on Scripture. This year, for t he Christmas season, t hey sent t he following article which t hey wrote in 2002 and which t hey deem appropriate for t he community at t his time – particularly in t he face of t he community’s deeper focus on t he family, highlighted by t he observance of t he tradition of prayer and honoring during t he Feast of t he Holy Family.

God is good! This Christmas and New Year was our happiest ever with all our children and grandchildren celebrating with us. Our eldest son, Joubert, and his wife Cyril, were the first to arrive from Manila on Saturday, the 22nd of December. Then our son Jenner arrived from London on Wednesday, the 26th of December. Finally, our daughter, Joyce, her husband Mickey, and their children, who live in Jakarta, arrived on Saturday, the 29th of December. With our youngest son, Jon, who lives with us in Bangkok, the entire family was in Bangkok for the New Year. Anticipating their arrival, we delayed the opening of gifts, the Noche Buena and the treasure hunt to coincide with New Year’s eve – a sort of a combined Christmas and New Year celebration. Our fifth child, Joel, would have been 24 years old had the Lord not taken him into His heavenly kingdom. We knew that he came to join us from heaven. Joel was a victim of the Rubella virus. Born autistic, deaf, mute, blind and with tetralogy of fallot, God gave him the special grace to be incapable of committing any sin. Thus, we know that he is now among the saints and angels in heaven where, next to the Blessed Mother, he is our most powerful intercessor. When we attended Mass on the 30th of December, the feast of the Holy Family, we felt that the responsorial psalm, taken from Psalm 128, was God’s message for us: Happy are all who fear t he Lord, who walk in t he ways of God, What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be happy and prosper. Like a fruitful vine your wife wit hin your home, Like olive plants your children around your table. Just so will t hey be blessed who fear t he Lord. May t he Lord bless you from Zion, all t he days of your life, That you may share Jerusalem’s joy and live to see your children’s children. Peace upon Israel!

We began our Christmas-New Year’s eve with a prayer following the usual CFC prayer meeting format. After two praise songs and a worship song, we offered prayers of thanksgiving and petition. We were all so touched by the Holy Spirit that when Joubert cried while saying his petition everyone was teary-eyed.

The start of 2017 will see CFC trying out the airwaves with guestings and co-anchoring stints at "Pamilya Mo, Pamilya Ko", a two-hour radio program anchored by veteran radio man Bernard Canaberal. The radio show, which broadcasts daily from 10:00 AM to 12:00 NN, will showcase personalities from the community who will be talking

about a whole gamut of topics such as health, the law, finances, among others, all within the context of faith and the family. Couples for Christ will be co-producing and co-anchoring the show. "Pamilya Mo, Pamilya Ko" with CFC will be launched formally on February 1, 2017.

CFC Migrants Program Fun Ride Set

For our discussion and sharing, we chose Psalm 127: Unless t he Lord build t he house, t hey labor in vain who build. Unless t he Lord guard t he city, in vain does t he guard keep watch. It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night. To eat bread earned by hard toil – all t his God gives to his beloved in sleep. Children too are a gift from t he Lord, t he fruit of t he womb, a reward. Like arrows in t he hand of a warrior are t he children born in one’s yout h. Blessed are t hey whose quivers are full, They will never be shamed contending wit h foes at t he gate. We were pleasantly surprised when our youngest son Jon offered to share first. He related his reflection on the psalm and how it applied to his life as a student. Jenner shared his experience in the UK and described how lonely he felt living far from his family. Joubert shared his struggles in trying to develop the ability to reach out to other people. Joyce and Mickey gave a very touching sharing about their life that brought everybody to tears. After the family prayer, we had our traditional Christmas-New Year’s eve dinner. This was followed by the much-awaited treasure hunt. The children always look forward to this activity, which we started many years ago. We would hide clues around the house and the children would look for them. This year, as in last, we used verses from the Bible as clues. The final clue, which was to lead them to the treasure, was from Proverbs 2:1-8: My son, if you receive my words and treasure my commands, Turning your ear to wisdom, inclining your heart to understanding; Yes, if you call to intelligence, and to understanding raise your voice; If you seek her like silver, and like hidden treasures search her out: Then will you understand t he fear of t he Lord; t he knowledge of God you will find; For t he Lord gives wisdom, from his mout h come knowledge and understanding; He has counsel in store for t he upright, he is t he shield of t hose who walk honest ly, Guarding t he pat hs of justice, protecting t he way of his pious ones.

The CFC Migrants Program will hold the "1st CFC-MP Family Fun Ride" a cycling event that is the Program’s first major event for 2017. The fun ride will be held at Greenfield City, Santa Rosa on January 22, 2017. Hundreds of amateur bikers are expected to converge at 5:00 AM for up to 20 kilome-

ters fun ride around the commercial and residential district in Laguna. The proceeds of this event will be used for the continuation of the following programs for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs): • Moral Values Re-Orientation for departing OFWs • Values Formation Pro-

gram for families left behind • Reintegration Program for OFWs Tony Obien, CFC Migrants Program Head for Laguna has issued the following invitation to the CFC community: "We hope to see you there! This will be a fun way to help our Migrants Program grow."

PLUMA ABSCBN, C1

We expected them to think of my Bible after reading these verses. And we were very delighted when they all did! Inserted in my Bible was the “treasure” – a piece of paper on which was written: “God’s word is the greatest treasure of all.” (Get $100 from Mom). After the treasure hunt I put on the Santa

Claus hat for the distribution and opening of gifts. As we watched our children open their gifts, this thought crossed my mind – God’s greatest gift to us: Our children around our table.

LIFE, C1

Atty. Tale emphasized that “Life is a precious gift from our creator. We are called to preserve it, nurture it and help others live it with dignity.” He informed the media present that Couples for Christ is fulfilling their part in preserving and nurturing life and responding to the problem of drug addiction through a program for substance abusers called Project ReForm, an acronym for Rehabilitation and Formation. “We know that some of our members had substance abuse problems but we have seen them change. They changed because they have accepted God in their lives once again. This is an actual experience that shows that the solution to drugs is not to kill the addicts but to introduce them to the Lord and guide them toward reformation.” Atty. Tale added. He also mentioned that strengthening family ties and teaching every family member to value life is a lasting and effective solution to problems such as substance abuse. Cong. Atienza, a devout Roman Catholic, remains pro-life even in the realm of politics. He

has voiced his opposition against any campaign that encourages the culture of death. “We continue to fight in valuing life.” Cong. Atienza said. To the question on “why do some approve of the killings even if the Philippines is a religious country?” Cong. Atienza replied that fear and anger feed the justification for the killings. The Church and the lay faithful have joined the war against drugs but their methods are different from the government. At the core of their efforts are programs meant to give drug users hope that they can change and that people care, such as feeding programs, medical and dental missions, and the conduct of values formation programs. As Laiko explained, the press conference was held not only for the lay faithful but for the common masses, to affirm that the war on drugs can be fought and won without sacrificing our moral values, to inform the public that there are existing initiatives to help others who are distraught and to remind everyone that, as Christians, we are all called to value life. (Christina Quiambao)

ABS-CBN COO Cory Vidanes and CFC Chairman Joe Tale shake hands after the signing of the agreement for Pluma Season 2

for Broadcast of the network, together with Ralph Marvin Menorca, Head of Programming Content and Management and On-Air Operations, and Catherine Lopez, Head Finance for Broadcast and Integrated News, signed on behalf of ABS-CBN. IC member Joe Yamamoto and newly-appointed Sector Head for South A Robert Labayen, an ABS-CBN executive, also attended the signing ceremony. As with Pluma Season 1, Season 2 will be

telecast on ABS-CBN Channel2 and its Regional Channels, iwanttv.com, The Filipino Channel and Jeepney TV. According to Ariola, followers of Pluma can expect more stories from outside of Metro Manila, as 8 of the episodes will feature stories from the Philippine Missions and at least 3 from the International Missions. Pluma Season 2 will begin airing on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017, at 5:30 AM.


CBCP Monitor

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January 9 - 22, 2017 Vol. 21 No. 01

ANCOP STORY

ANICA CRUZ: Starting the Future Now

To be a doctor, a nurse, a police, a lawyer, an actor/actress, a teacher… these are the most common responses that children usually give when asked what they want to be when they grow up.

poverty.) At a tender age, she has started working towards her ambition. A sixth grader at Dulong Bayan Elementary School in San Mateo, Rizal, Anica is the eldest child of Cathy and Eduardo Cruz. At age nine, she took on the responsibility of taking care of her two younger sisters when her father left them to return to his legal family. Cathy bemoans that “Nararanasan ni Anica ang hindi pa nya dapat maranasan na hirap,” (Anica experiences hardships she should not be experiencing at her age.) As soon as Anica comes home from school, her mother goes out to work, leaving her to do the household chores and look after her sisters. On weekends, she does the same chores as her mother also works during those days.

An early start

Teaching by doing

Eleven year old Anica Cruz dreams of becoming a teacher someday because “Gusto ko pong maging teacher at matulungan po sila Mama maiangat sa kahirapan.” (I want to be a teacher someday and help Mama rise from

Anica’s mother is unhappy that her daughter cannot focus well on her studies because of her tasks and responsibilities at home. “Tinutulungan ako ni Anica sa lahat ng bagay kaya hindi nya naiintindi ang pag-aaral

nya.“ (Anica helps me out in in all things at home so she is not able to give more time for her studies). But Cathy is proud of and deeply appreciates what Anica does for her. Anica may be young, but just like a teacher, she is able to educate herself and her siblings not through lessons in class but by means of example and selfless service. Taking on the role of a second parent, she takes care of her sisters, cleans their house, washes their clothes, fetches water, cooks their meals and still finds time to study and do her school projects. A fuel to fire up dreams

Being an ANCOP Europe scholar since 2012 made a big difference in the life of this young student and her mother. Coming from a poor family herself, Cathy has persevered in providing for her children especially when Eduardo left them two years ago. Anica has shown her mother how much she can be depended on. As a scholar, she has become firm in her ambition to become a teacher some-

day and make a difference in the lives of others. Their poverty is not a hindrance in reaching for her dreams; instead, it has fueled the fire in her heart to rise above their present life situation. Grateful and hope-filled hearts

Anica’s mother claims: “Malaki ang naitutulong ng ANCOP dahil meron na siyang pambili ng mga project at hindi na nanggagaling sa aking bulsa…lahat ng ibinibigay ng ANCOP ay nakatutok sa bata.” (ANCOP is a big help to us because it helps finance Anica’s school projects and I don’t have to get it from my own pocket…Everything that ANCOP gives are all meant for Anica’s needs). Both mother and daughter are grateful for the support that ANCOP Europe has given them. Anica’s mother prays and hopes that her daughter’s sponsor will continue to provide for her educational needs until she graduates from college. She also vowed to continue to guide and to do everything she can for her children’s future.

Couples for Christ recently celebrated 35 years of its journey of faith – a journey that has seen triumphs in its evangelization and mission efforts, phenomenal growth globally, evolution from a simple outreach for couples to a cohesive program for every member of the family and every sector of society, two instances of painful separations or what we call “storms” and a deeper commitment to continue the work of bringing Christ to every corner of the world. The past 35 years have generated a wealth of stories – from individual stories of faith transformation to shared stories of how the

Year-end formation module for PMA cadets, with top CFC leaders handling the sessions.

The module entitled “Only for the Brave” included five talks given by Art Alabanza, CFC OSM Head, Lawrence Quintero, International Coordinator for CFC Youth for Christ, Willy Ona, vice head for CFC OSM and George Campos, CFC President. A number of Couples for Christ and Singles for Christ volunteers were among those in

the service team. With the strong support of the chaplain, Fr. Carl Buslon, CFC through the Order of St. Michael continues to give values formation talks for PMA cadets and also to the uniformed personnel to help them imbibe the values imparted by the Character Enhancement programs and to guide them in their walk of faith.

KENYA, C4

them as parents, I realized that the Lord is calling us to “pay it forward” (pass on the love, care and mercy to others who need it). In a way, ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) is the venue to do this. As CFC, we can begin by taking a closer look at our immediate community following the guidelines of ANCOP. The Families on Mission Conference has taught us a great deal. We learned that the CFC community in Kenya is doing all these programs on a regular basis and so this is ANCOP in one form. The next two days were free days, devoted to cultural experiences

which included visits to the museum, snake park and the Bomas of Kenya (traditional homesteads). We also had a safari tour/ game drive, visited the Giraffe center, Kazuri workshop and visited the elephant orphanage. Global Day Of Service

The Global Day of Service was the final day of the families on mission, where we all visited the Remand Home for Children found in Lower Kabete, Kenya. The children in this home are there for various reasons: theft, drug abuse, lack of discipline, being out of school, some are abandoned, some forced into marriage and a few with

murder cases. At the Remand home, we started with a teaching session aimed at informing people about the importance of caring for those in need. Then we set off to clean the compound, the rooms and field together with the children. Later we interacted with the children. The delegates realized that there is really a need to build strong families in order to prevent the situations that the children of Remand home were in. Before Going Home

All the delegates attended the Holy Mass celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal John Njue at the Minor Ba-

silica of Holy Family in Nairobi. In his homily, he urged all families to have Christ at their center and commended CFC for the good work of evangelizing families. At the end of the conference, International Kids for Christ (KFC) coordinator Adrian Enaje urged the families to go home with three important Swahili words namely: HURUMA= MERCY, FURAHA= JOY, and PENDO =LOVE. The call is for each individual (me and you), for the family and definitely for the community, to live out and share God’s love, mercy and joy to others. (James

Ssemwangu)

The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Michael C. Ariola IC Oversight Zenaida A. Gimenez Editor-in-Chief Deomar P. Oliveria Layout Artist

Alma M. Alvarez Associate Editor Christina Quiambao Writer

Evangeline C. Mecedilla Circulation Staff

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 31 Direct line : (+63 2) 709-4856 www.couplesforchristglobal.org cfcglobalcommunications@gmail.com

facebook.com/CFC.Global.Mission

Anica remains focused on her dream. “Pinapangako ko po na magaaral akong mabuti para makapagtapos. Para pag nakapagtapos ay maghahanap ng trabaho para matulungan po ang aking pamilya.” (I promise to study hard to finish my studies. When I graduate I will look for a job and help my family.) With a thankful heart, Anica pledges to fulfill her dream so that she can truly be a professional teacher someday – teaching and nurturing young minds to help transform the world one child at a time. (By Lorlina M. Pamintuan, Interviewed by Ed Naco)

Do you want to help ot her students like Anica? Contact ANCOP today at Landline (+632)709-4868 local 49, Mobile (+63)915-118-4552, Email ancopeducation@cfcancop.org to ask about t heir Education Programs! If you are outside t he Philippines, you may call our local ANCOP offices. Read more about ANCOP at cfcancop.org

CFC LAUNCHES HISTORY BOOK SERIES

“Only for the Brave” track shared to PMA cadets

Three hundred cadets and plebes from the Philippine Military Academy gathered for the year-end activity conducted by the CFC Order of St. Michael (OSM) last December 29, 2016 in Baguio City. OSM conducted sessions, sharing and group activities that aimed to foster camaraderie and allow the students to share about their faith.

A dream to fulfill

@CFChrist

Moved by the Holy Spirit

community has struggled to maintain its course. In order to document these stories, CFC has launched a history book series called “Journey of Family Evangelizers,” which will focus on the major aspects of its growth and development. The series is anchored on CFC’s expanded mission statement:

Moved by t he Holy Spirit, one wit h t he Cat holic Church, blessed to witness to Christ’s love and service, Couples for Christ is a united global community of family evangelizers t hat sets t he world on fire wit h t he fullness of God’s transforming love.

The first volume of the

series, titled “Moved by the Holy Spirit,” chronicles the major events of CFC’s community life which shaped it. This first book will focus on how the Holy Spirit has indeed been moving in community, bringing CFC from a 16-person household in 1981 to a force, numbering hundreds of thousands, that is truly God’s global army. The book will be launched during the International Leaders Conference on January 14, 2017 at the MOA Arena. Four more books will be published in order to complete the series. The second volume, due for release next year, is titled “One With the Catholic Church.”


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January 9 - 22, 2017 Vol. 21 No. 01

CBCP Monitor

Toronto Catholic students Immerse in ANCOP

Students from Toronto building not just homes but relationships

On December 27, 2016, student leaders from the Toronto Catholic District School Board embarked on a life-changing journey. The group, composed of 23 students, four teachers and one adult volunteer from the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and who call themselves Team #PH2016, left their families and boarded a plane to Manila to put their faith into action by serving the poor through CFC ANCOP. Aside from their personal effects, each member of the group carried a second luggage filled with as many donated goods as they were able to accumulate. The goods were to be distributed to the five ANCOP villages, one orphanage and one elementary school they were scheduled to visit. The first stop after the airport was a visit to Barangay Don Galo Elementary School to play with the kids and drop off donations in the form of school supplies. Then they were off to last

year’s build site, Sitio Masagana in Quezon City. Their next few days were filled with visits to other sites, including to the mountainous area of San Mateo to visit ANCOP village – Our Lady of Banneux, the 2013-14 build site of AKC – ANCOP Kapatid Community, a feeding center in Payatas, Quezon City, the ANCOP AVANAI community in Visayas Avenue in Quezon City, and an ANCOP community in Tarlac. But it wasn’t all immersion work for Team#PH2016. On New Year’s Eve, the students took a tour of the capital city of Manila and celebrated the countdown to the New Year at the Mall of Asia. They also appeared on the Good Morning Pilipinas morning show, sharing with the hosts their joy and excitement at being part of this mission team. They had the opportunity to visit the homes of some of the kids they

The Ssemwangu family, together with other delegates from Uganda, cherished the memories they created as a family in Kenya

church premises and the surrounding area. What did we learn from this Build My Church activity? In the mission, we all have a role to play .We complement each other more especially through the family. The Lord will provide the resources needed for mission as long as we have the will to serve. This was evident when we started moving the soil with almost no tools. Eventually the residents saw the good work being done so they came in to join us and even brought the tools we needed like wheelbarrows, spades, etc. When we do our part and put Christ at the center of the mission, we will always inspire others to join. This was evident to the residents of Muringa. When we left the place, they were continuing the work themselves. Afterwards, the first batch from Uganda had to return while those who were left continued with day two at the Huruma home of the elderly.

While at the home we cleaned the quarters of the sick and elderly men and women, cleaned the compound and cleaned their individual rooms. We shared food with them, chatted with them and entertained them with music and dance performed by the different delegates from the different countries. Many of the elderly were sick, lonely, and desperate, with no family members to give them care. They were genuinely glad to spend time with us. We offered them some gifts like soap, toiletries and some food. Day 3 - Park Lands (St. Francis Church). All of us—parents and children—cleaned the church, mopped the floor, wiped the windows and benches. The church compound was cleaned, as well as the nursery school at the church. At the end of the task, we shared lunch with the community members who joined in the work with us. We also visited the Sisters

of Charity Home in Nairobi. There, we found disabled children but we could see God’s love in them. This is the legacy of St. Teresa of Calcutta. The caretakers at the home were committed to serving these helpless children without reservation despite the imaginable discomfort. Some of the children were very young babies, others were pregnant mothers who were either helpless, abandoned or raped. When one listens to the stories of many of these people, it is hard to hold back one’s tears. This visit became very significant for us as a family, as we were able to reach out to others as much as possible without counting the cost. It is not easy but with the grace of God, we believe we can do something similar together with other families.

It was a very cold Friday morning on December 16, 2016, when members of Couples for Christ (CFC) met with the Apostolic Nuncio, the Most Reverend Luigi Bonazzi, in his official residence in Rockcliffe Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Francis Yap, National Director of CFC Canada, and his wife Jessie led the CFC delegation. Ferdie Velasco, Mission Coordinator for CFC Ottawa, his wife Mariel, and Jojo Razon, Chapter Head of CFC Ottawa, presented the Papal Nuncio with a gift -- a picture of His Excellency and members of CFC taken during the 2016 CFC Canada Eastern Region Conference held at Nepean Sportsplex in Ottawa last May. It was a timely visit because, coincidentally, December 18, 2016 was the Papal Nuncio's third anniversary as Apostolic Nuncio to Canada. To commemorate this special occasion, the community presented His Excellency with a beautiful cake decorated with the coat of arms of the Papal Nuncio. During the meeting, the Papal Nuncio spoke about the challenges that the church faces and the role that Couples for Christ plays in society. His Excellency reminded CFC that while the community may not feel the physical presence of

CFC Toronto)

Considering our five healthy children and how we had been always there for KENYA, C3

CFC ANCOP NorCal Winter Project

CFC NorCal outside the St. Vincent de Paul Center

Michael Consul)

God, they can still feel His presence through a personal relationship with Him. Yap informed the Nuncio that CFC’s current membership in Canada now numbers 17,000 individuals. His Excellency remarked, "An army, yes, God's army." Yap also spoke of CFC Canada’s evangelization and mission work in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone and India. He shared that bishops in these countries support Couples for Christ. His Excellency replied, "That's a reason for joy for the bishops—your presence is a joy for the bishops." His Excellency affirmed that Couples for Christ was called to spread the good news about the family. Now, more than ever, the community needs to help build stronger families in order to have a strong Church and society. The Papal Nuncio acknowledged the importance of Filipinos in Canada, citing their faith, their dynamism and their ability to blend with other cultures. Should his schedule permit, the Papal Nuncio agreed to celebrate Mass at the 2017 CFC North America Eastern Conference in Toronto in May. ( Mariel Velasco,

Our Lesson

In the spirit of the Christmas season, CFC North California (NorCal) distributed thick clothing and other related items to the residents at the St. Vincent de Paul Center in Pittsburg. Members of CFC NorCal who sorted and packed the gift bags were present at the distribution, led by Ramon Ebriega who spearheaded the project.

time they had to leave a site. According to the students, the mission trip allowed them to experience a whole gamut of emotions from happiness at playing with the kids at the feeding center, to sadness at leaving them behind knowing that they would probably never see them again, to joy at reconnecting with them in their community, to depression at seeing the living conditions in the surround areas, to motivation as they became aware of poverty outside of their normal lives, and desire to help and give back. All of the students agreed that now that they know what poverty exists beyond what they normally see, they will never be able to ignore those less fortunate than themselves. And as with the previous batches of students who have come to Manila for this unique experience, the lives of the students of Team #PH2016 will never be the same. (by

Papal Nuncio to Canada meets with Couples for Christ

FAMILIES ON MISSION EXPERIENCE IN KENYA Great Lessons, Touching Experiences

The 25-member Uganda delegation that attended the Families on Mission Conference in Kenya starting on the 11th of November 2016 arrived in Karen after the opening ceremonies, which included Holy Mass celebrated by His Lordship Bishop Kamau of Kenya, had begun. The theme of the events was TOGETHER WITH JESUS, and this was echoed all throughout the eight-day conference. The conference featured family presentations on what creates a strong family, with the individual families present given time to sit together and review what was said in the talks. These included making family resolutions, a family household prayer and a family dream board. The delegates participated in worship at St. Francis Church in Park Lands, Nairobi, and then set out for the Build My Church activities at Muringa St.Joseph Catholic Church. The delegates cleaned the

played with at the feeding center in Payatas. The team was amazed that despite the living conditions of the children, which is a far cry from their experience back home in Canada, the students realized that the people are happy. As some of them later shared, they realized that it is not material things that make people happy, but rather family, relationships, and community. To show that the Philippines has another face, the hosts took the student volunteers to visit the city of Makati. They marveled that Payatas and Makati are drastically different. The highlight of their Makati visit was a tour of the American War Heroes Memorial, where they had a debriefing and discussed the contrast between the haves and have-nots. As of this writing, the volunteers are preparing to leave. But for all of them, parting is indeed such sweet sorrow. Tears were already shed each

Stephen Krank, manager of support services of the St. Vincent de Paul Center, expressed his g rati tu d e t o the CFC community for the generous and timely support to the poor and to the homeless brothers and sisters in the area. After the gift-giving, several items were left over; these were turned over to the St. Vincent de Paul Center as well.

CFC Canada pays courtesy call on the Apostolic Nuncio


Web vol 21 no 1 January 11-24 2017