Vol. 15 No. 15 July 18 - 31, 2011
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ
Singles strengthen stronghold for Christ By Natalie M. Malayo About 2,000 members of SFC and other ministries of CFC from Metro Manila traveled all the way to Pangasinan Province to be part of the 2011 Metro Manila Conference (MMC). The annual conference kicked off on July 15 at the CSI Stadia in Dagupan. With “Stronghold” as theme, this year’s MMC aimed at providing SFC members with a better understanding of the grace of God. The events at the conference
were anchored on Jesus Christ as “the stronghold of grace.” During the Holy Eucharist celebration held on July 15, Fr. Vic Embuido of the Diocese of Lingayen raised the importance of recognizing and defending one’s stronghold, which he defined as one’s “base” or “foundation” in life. “Is there something wrong with our stronghold today?” Fr. Embuido asked the audience. “Is there something wrong with our foundations in life?” Fr. Embuido gave this example. “Noong wala pang cellphone, pagkagis-
ing sa umaga, pagdarasal ang ginagawa. Ngayon, hindi pa namumulat ang mga mata, cellphone na ang kinakapa!” (When there were no cellphones, people prayed as soon as they woke up in the morning. Now, they look for their cellphones, even when their eyes are still closed). To address this and other similar situations, four sessions were included in the MMC: “The God of All Grace,” “Battling Against Grace,” “Jesus: Stronghold of Grace,” and “Graced.” These sessions, along with the theme “Stronghold,” were based on 1 Peter 5:10-11: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Aside from the sessions, seven workshops were also held simultaneously in the afternoon of July 16. These were “Wounded Healer,” “Full of Grace,” “The Fight of Your Life,” “Grace Under Pressure,” “Be Graced,” “Grace for the Moment,” and “Falling Out of Grace.” “Grace Under Pressure” was the biggest out of the seven workshops, attracting some 257 participants. Here, Voltaire Lizardo, member of the Kids for Christ core team, reminded the audience that pressure is something that people encounter every day. “But the difference is how you handle it,” he
said, adding that if handled properly, “pressure can have positive effects. It helps us to perform. It motivates us to do our best.” MMC 2011 was not limited to sessions and workshops alone. In fact, delegates were welcomed with a cultural presentation by the Pangasinan provincial government employees who presented the 15 festivals of Pangasinan through traditional Filipino dance steps. The “Gloree Choir Competition” also added to the excitement. In this segment, the five sectors of Metro Manila – Big
North, Big South, Big Central, Big East and Big West – were assigned a specific song genre. Although all made exciting presentations, Big West earned the main accolade. The three-day annual conference ended on a high note, with all those present joining in the praise festival. The festive atmosphere in the Stadia during the final event left the singles with greater enthusiasm to follow God’s will, through responding to His grace and through Jesus Christ as “the stronghold of grace.”
CFC joins Episcopal Send-Off of Filipino Missionaries
By Allison Gozun
Saturday, 9 July 2011 - A special “send-off” ceremony was held for the outgoing Filipino Catholic missionaries at the Priory Chapel of St. Scholastica’s College in Manila. Organized by the Episcopal Commission on Mission of the CBCP and the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines, this ceremony was held only for the second time since 2006. Many priests and religious, as well as some lay missionaries of Couples for Christ, were honored participants at the event. The Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Mission, Most Rev. Bishop Edwin De la Peña, MSP, D.D., was the main celebrant of the Mass that was dedicated “for the evangelization of all peoples.” In his homily, Bishop De la Peña said that proclaiming Christ to the world is a call to every Catholic in every parish, and that this mission is “a challenge to go out and heed the call of Blessed John Paul II,” who is a great example of a true missionary. He affirmed the outgoing missionaries who are living the call as Filipinos, Christians, and Catholics. He added that missionaries, who give up so much, play a significant role in bringing
new life to the Church: “all that’s required is faith…[and] faith is strengthened when it is shared.” A Mission Sending Ceremony was held as part of the Mass proceedings. For many of our outgoing missionaries, myself included, it was a humbling and emotional experience to receive this formal commission from the Catholic Church. As lay missionaries of Couples for Christ, it was the first time that we had the privilege to take part in this ceremony. We formally answered the call to share the love of God, not just for our own communities but for the greater body of Christ, our Catholic Church. I imagine that some of the apostles felt the same urgency of the task that lay ahead when Jesus gave them the great commission to “make disciples of all nations.” A Missionary Cross was given to each of the missionaries, representing all the continents of the world. We are being sent to parts of Asia - Vietnam, Taiwan, Cambodia, Thailand, Pakistan, Indonesia; to the Middle East Israel; to Oceania - Cook Islands, Australia, Papua New Guinea; to the Americas - Mexico, Peru; to Europe - Netherlands, Rome; and to Africa - Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Nigeria. Those who were sent off for mission are as follows: 1. Comboni Missionaries
(MCCJ): Fr. Randy Recalde (Peru) 2. Couples for Christ (CFC): Mr. Rolly Zoleta (Ghana) Ms. Leah Custodio (Ghana) Mr. and Mrs. Ed and Bibeth Villegas (Ghana) Mr. and Mrs. Aurelio and Radel Guinto (Nigeria) Mr. and Mrs. Ronelle and Princess Mayella Tolentino, and daughter, Mikaelle Beatrix Tolentino (Kenya) Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Allison Gozun (Seychelles) 3. Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM): Sr. Daryl Lou de Guzman (Mexico) Sr.Janet Periquin (Pakistan) 4. Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP): Fr. Mark Louie Calo (Netherlands) Fr. Faustino Galo (Cook Islands) Fr. Percy Singco (Papua New Guinea) Fr. Roldan Zerna (Papua New Guinea) 5. Missionaries of Jesus (MJ): Bro. Kirby Bagaslao (Papua New Guinea) 6. Oblates of St. Joseph (OSJ): Fr. Jorge P. de Chaves, Jr. (West Australia) 7. Religious Missionaries of St. Dominic (OP): Sr. Noemi Quiambao (Cambodia)
Sr. Hedeliza Delariarte (Thailand) Sr. Gemma Tenedero (Italy) Sr. Sylvia Josefina Fadullo (Italy) 8. Rogationists of the Heart
(CSFN): Sr. Mary Michael Banquil (Israel) 10. Society of the Divine Word (SVD): Fr. Abraham Borja (Taiwan)
It is certainly true that our Catholic country has much to give in terms of our faith in the love of God. It is our privilege, joy and challenge to continue to answer this call of sharing
CFC missionaries, in their red CFC T-shirts, pose with their co-missionaries and Bishop de la Pena.
of Jesus (RCJ): Fr. Rey Vilamonte (Papua New Guinea) Fr. Alfonso Heredia (Vietnam) 9. Sisters of the Holy Family
Fr. Garry Bacol (Argentina) We were the only lay missionaries being sent off, a singular honor but an awesome responsibility as well.
Christ’s light to the nations. Let us continue to pray for these and all missionaries, that they may be blessed and strengthened by the Lord for His purpose, so that they may set the world on fire.
CFC recognized as a partner in missions By Sky Ortigas ON June 13-17, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Mission and Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) held their 58th Mission Directors assembly in Rivier Retreat Center, Catalunan Grande, Davao City. It was attended by priests from all 86 dioceses of the Philippines
who have been assigned as Mission Directors. CFC fulltime pastoral workers Clarke Nebrao and Sky Ortigas of the Couples for Christ Church Integration Office were invited to attend and be part of the conference. It was the second time for representatives from CFC to attend. The first time was last year in Cebu. The Joshua band of CFC Singles
for Christ in Davao also showed their support by entertaining the participants during the fellowship night. In turn, Couples for Christ was blessed to be given due recognition by the Episcopal Commission on Mission and PMS for attending and helping organize the whole assembly. Both groups are looking forward to more partnerships for the missions with CFC in the future.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 15 No. 15
July 18 - 31, 2011
Cebu Celebrates 21 years of CFC Life dong Banay” Competition which was participated in by families with at least five members. Winners in the competitions are: Talentadong Banay: Melo Family (Central 3 Sector) CFC Got Talent: North 2 Sector HOLD Pop Jazz: North Area SOLD Song Solo: Justino Torralba (South Area) SFC Duet: Noel Alferez and Nadine GAllerde (South 1 and 2) YFC HipHop: South Area KFC Band: Central Area Photo Contest: Nissie Iroy Most Inspiring Photo: Arnel Sacris
BY Jo Anne Rentutar Around 12,000 CFC members from all over Cebu province gathered in Hoops Dome, Gun-ob, Lapu-Lapu City to celebrate CFC Cebu’s 21st Anniversary. The event started with a worship led by Milger Pinote of Singles for Christ, after which the 12 CFC Cebu sectors, the different Family Ministries and ANCOP paraded on stage while dancing to a Sinulog beat. The praise parade was followed by a surprise number by CFC Cebu’s Area Governance Team, namely Cebu Provincial Area Director Arnel Sacris, Frank Noob, Doeman Patigayon, Ric Martinez and Vic Mayor. Different competitions showcasing the various talents of the members followed. SOLD competed in the Song Solo Competitions, HOLD in the Pop Jazz Competitions, SFC in the Duet Competitions, YFC in the HipHop Competitions while KFC joined the
Band Competitions. CFC meanwhile exhibited their talent in the CFC Got Talent portion. An added feature of the competitions was the “Talenta-
The celebration was graced by the presence of our new CFC Chairman, Ricky Cuenca who delivered the anniversary message. In the spirit of thanksgiving for 21 challenging yet glorious years of CFC Cebu, CFC Central Visayas Region Head, Reggie and Janet Ragojos, thanked the former CFC Cebu Provincial Head, Dong and Au Avila
who served CFC Cebu for seven years. Reggie extolled the Avila couples for their untiring support, commitment to duty and for loving their CFC brethren
in the province. The anniversary was also a fitting occasion to welcome the new CFC Cebu Provincial Head, Hermie and Remy Vargas, formerly PAH of Negros Occidental. Dong and Au Avila will be moving on as PAH of this province, replacing the Vargas couple. The event culminated in a Praisefest led by Frank Noob prior to the most powerful praise of all, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, traditionally the last activity of any CFC activity. The Mass was celebrated by CFC Cebu Spiritual Director, Msgr. Rommel Kintanar. The Cebu brethren had even more reason to celebrate as many of them went home with door prizes ranging from sacks of rice to hotdogs and wall clocks. The main prizes were a computer showcase, a living room showcase and one unit Multicab. Event hosts were Sayong Letigio, his daughter Angela Letigio, YFC fulltime worker Princess Señoron and SFC Chapter Head James Arela.
Streaming Faith and Victory through the Web By Layle Ancheta The weeklong celebration of CFC’s 30th Anniversary was indeed an inspiring and spirit-filled event for those who were physically present at the activities. The excitement and celebratory
spirit of the day to day events as they transpired were also shared by our CFC members all over world. This was made possible as the CFC Ugnayan Multimedia Center opened these wonderful events to the world through Video Live streaming. The Communications Group,
organized by the Ugnayan Multimedia Center, the Integrated Technology Department, and the Special Events Team made the live video streaming of all the anniversary activities in real time possible over the Internet. The interactive live streaming video, also known as streaming video-on-demand or event streaming, provided many of our international CFC brethren an opportunity to share and celebrate in the victory of our community in the comfort of their own homes, wherever they may be on the map. Our members were able to partake in the CFC Anniversary week celebrations by simply logging on to http://www.cfcevents. co.cc. This interactive link was viewed by more than 30 countries with 45,084 views for the whole week of the celebration (from June 19 - 26, 2011).
We had two major breakthroughs in our efforts to use communication and technology as powerful tools during the CFC anniversary events. First, we were able to do live video recording of the highlights of our anniversary week activities. Selected cideo highlights and clips of the anniversary week were recorded and captured, and repeatedly viewed even after the event. These videos can be viewed through this link [http://www.ustream.tv/ channel/cfc-events-channel/videos]. Providing this recording will give everyone an opportunity to continue to share and bask in these great events and be part of the history of our life in the community. Second was the simultaneous live streaming of all five activities during the main CFC celebration in Luneta last June
United Through Technology The livestreaming of the CFC anniversary activities and celebrations over Facebook generated hundreds of comments from all over the world. Below are comments from CFC brethren, excited to be part of CFC events even if they are oceans away:
Michael Johnson Cardino Jurado
Thanks to technology, I felt as if I was part of the celebration. Even if I’m in the Middle East I was “connected” with the celebration.
I am from RIYADH, KSA....I’m so blessed to be part of this community and to have been able to watch the anniversary live online... more power to the CFC FAMILY...
Frances Caringal Muhi
Ellen Padre Juan DelaCruz
I am from Doha, Qatar. I watched the Live Streaming starting Wednesday (June 22). The words from all the Conferences were truly powerful, and I shared them with our household
From Dubai: I really felt like I was there in the events of the CFC Anniversary! Thank you for the CFC Events Live Team...I really felt God’s love while watching the events online! May God bless us all…. Happy Pearl Anniversary CFC!
I’m truly blessed to witness this big
Malou Escalada Francisco
CFC HOLD Calgary, Alberta here. I watched the Anniversary events via live streaming since the first day although we are in different time zones. Thank you for the live streaming.. I attended most of the anniversaries before in person, and I know the feeling of being blessed through the events.. We prayed for nice weather in the Philippines for our celebration on June 26, and God is really good – He heard our prayers!..Happy anniversary to all of us.
Maita Javellana Cabinian
I felt uplifted and proud to be present at the Anniversary Celebrations at Rizal Park, especially since I was one of those who represented the Middle East. The country where I work really is “special.” My missionary heart is once again on fire, especially after learning that there are many CFC communities in other parts of the worldIt portrays the true meaning of the word “CATHOLIC” which literally means, UNIVERSAL. May the good Lord continue to bless our community especially our ministry, the SFC.
was also in Luneta. God bless the CFC community!
event of our community, one can really see the many delegates from around the globe. What really gave me goosebumps was seeing SO MANY PEOPLE wanting to make a change in the world through CHRIST. It is really a challenge for us to continue with the mission. Happy Pearl Anniversary to us all!
members. The best part was the Praise Fest on the last day, June 26...it’s like I was actually celebrating in Luneta. Once again, happy anniversary CFC!
Marci Fresnoza Espaldon
I’m from SFC San Pedro, Laguna. I was supposed to wake up at 3pm on June 26 to attend the Luneta Celebration, but I woke up at 5pm (Manila time), that’s why I wasn’t able to attend the event in person. Good thing there was live streaming, I felt like I
Photo shows livestreaming experts Nirva de la Cruz, Tina Rodriguez, Cesar Gallano and Layle Ancheta
26, 2011. Forming five technical and communication teams in each activity area, we created five channels where our online CFC viewers can select the daytime activities they preferred to view and be part of. Our livestreaming efforts have shown us that technology, if
used and maximized to the fullest and to our great advantage, can truly be a very powerful tool for evangelization and communication. CFC has continuously been utilizing the web as a powerful frontier in spreading God’s Word to millions of people all over the world.
CFC Brunei NFP Teachers Orientation CFC Brunei members attended the NFP (Natural Family Planning) Teachers Updating and Orientation at the Church of Our Lady of Assumption Parish Hall last July 13. The participants had previously attended the Billings Ovulation Method sessions many years ago and are now practicing NFP users. Charly Laiz, head of the Gift of Life Ministry, came all the way from Manila to conduct the session. The purpose of the session was to prepare the teachers for the NFP User’s Training to be held the following day. On July 14, 2011, CFC Brunei conducted the NFP User’s Initial Training for their members. Attending the training were young couples and engaged members of Singles for Christ. Charly Laiz, assisted by wife Mel, conducted the session that dwelt on Responsible Parenthood and the Overview of the Billings Ovulation Method. He also spoke about sexuality and fertility as a gift coming from God. A total of 15 persons attended the initial sessions, everyone enthusiastically responding to the invitation to come back one week after for the follow-up training.
Happy Anniversary CFC! It was great to be part of the vibrant CFC Singapore delegation this year! So happy to return to Manila and see so many old friends, several of whom have also moved out of Manila. It’s wonderful how CFC has brought us all together again! Praise God for giving us CFC!
It’s really a blessing that we were able to participate in the celebration even though that we are here in New Zealand. The live stream is using technology to the fullest in spreading the love and grace of the Lord through CFC. We are indeed blessed to be with CFC. Happy Anniversary to CFC and God Bless us all.
Charly Laiz expounds on the benefits of NFP to a rapt audience.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 15 No. 15 July 18 - 31, 2011
Handmaids Plant Trees! By Sylvia Soriano In 1999, CFC had its first corporate Christian Life Program (CLP) at the National Housing Authority (NHA) through the initiative of the Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD), Kamuning Chapter. The harvest was more than 30 women. Since
then, a CLP has been conducted every year, the latest of which was held in November 2010. We thought our work at NHA would be limited to evangelization and taking care of CLP graduates. But God has more plans for our community. In September 2010, West B-HOLD, through the NHA Chapter requested for a piece of
land within the NHA premises to be used as nursery for our seedlings and to hold another CLP for NHA staff. Both requests were granted by Atty. Chito Cruz, General Manager of NHA. But again, there was more to it. We were invited to a partnership, where CFC, through the HOLD, will provide seedlings for NHA housing projects in Bulacan ,Valenzuela, Caloocan, Pampanga, Bagong Silang, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna and Muntinlupa. CFC HOLD will also, together with NHA staff conduct workshops for the Homeowners association members especially the Green Patrol Brigades in these project areas. After the workshop, HOLD will participate in the planting of the seedlings and
will continue to monitor the growth and care of the trees planted Another partner is Rotary Club-Metro West. They will provide the planting tools. This partnership is covered by a Memorandum of Agreement. On June 14, 2011, we had the first Tree Growing Seminar/ Workshop at NHA Operations Center in Elliptical Road, Quezon City. This was followed by another similar workshop in July 5, 2011. The talks on Stewardship of God’s Creation (including an activity on values essential to care for the environment)and Global Warming and C limate Change were given by Thelma Hizon; HOLD’s “Ang Ganda Mo” Program on environment by Dory Sarmiento. There were also speakers from the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of DENR who discussed tree
growing and soil preparation. Bamboo growing was part of the presentation. These workshops were attended by NHA Staff and Homeowners Association officers from all the housing projects and the Handmaids from all Manila sectors and Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Muntinglupa, and Laguna. The HOLD “Ang Ganda Mo” Core realized the magnitude of the work to be done. To prepare
the Handmaids for the work, a training on how to conduct similar workshops was given to HOLD teams. This was held at Vista Concorcia Resort in Jala-Jala, Rizal last July 7, 2011. Attendees came from the Metro Manila Sectors, Pampanga, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna. The training included practicum on proper way of planting and the most exciting part of all—participants went home with seeds and seedlings for planting.
CFC Timor Leste - Going for the Great Prize
By Emmanuel Asunto Ever since CFC started in Timor Leste in 2001, God has truly blessed our community. The Holy Spirit has captured many more hearts through our Family Ministries. Our CLPs and camps have been blessed with good harvests and we have never stopped bringing Christ even to the farthest districts of the country. All these have come about through God’s grace, and also thanks to our empowered local mission volunteers and fulltime workers, with the full support of our Filipino mission team to Timor Leste, past and present, who shared
their time, wisdom, and passion for the mission. The leadership of our local CFC Governance Team is also crucial in all the developments of the mission here. This year’s theme “Put on the Full armor of God…” (Ephesians 6:10), affirms our growing community as we envision the fullness of Christ’s plan for Timor Leste in the next 10 years. Our annual National Conferences have grown bigger and have garnered more support from the three Dioceses. Last May 7 and 8, SFC gathered in Ermera, a district two hours away from Dili, for their 5th National Conference entitled “Hamrik Metin”
(I Stand) which was attended by close to 300 participants. During the concluding Mass celebrated by Fr. Angelo Salsinha (director of the Diocesan Youth of Dili), villagers filled up the amphitheater where we presented to them our community during the last part of the Eucharistic celebration. Both SFC members and the villagers were able to experience a renewed commitment to accept and follow God in the most exciting way. Our 5th YFC National Conference is scheduled on August 12 – 14 in St. Paul School, Audian, Dili. About 800 YFC members will gather in this event with one voice saying “Ba Manan!” (For the Win!) We are blessed to have the presence of the Bishop of Dili, Bishop Ricardo Da Silva to open the event with a high mass concelebrated by our very own Filipino priests and other local diocesan priests of Dili. Senor Luis Guteres, the second-incommand to the Prime Minister of East Timor, will also give his message to the youth. We look forward to the other National Conferences this year. KFC will be having their 5th National Conference in September, HOLD in October and finally CFC will celebrate their 10th Anniversary in November 19 – 20 in Dili. Parabens to CFC Timor Leste! Other than the National Conferences, our young ministries were able to make breakthroughs that set the hearts of the young on fire. Last June, our 100% Pure program of YFC went
on “Campus Tour” to three major schools in Oe-cusse, a district located in the western part of the Island of Timor. It was a very inspiring event that brought inner transformation to the students and drew the interest of the school administration and its faculty, such that they wanted us to conduct the program on a regular basis as part of their students’ formation program. SFC leaders, on the other hand, went on a pilgrimage to the highest peak of East Timor – Mt. Ramelau, located in the district of Ainaro, about 70 km away from Dili. As we ascended 9,721 ft above sea level, we started
to say the Rosary in groups until we reached the top of the mountain. It was a five-hour spiritual journey, an adventure that strengthened the commitment and dedication of our single men and women to continue what the Lord has started in them. The majestic view from the top awed us and made us shout our praises to God in worship. It also made us realize how beautiful God’s creation is and that we need to respond to the call to preserve the environment by being good stewards of the Earth’s riches. Maromak diak nafatin! God is good all the time!
Armor of God conferences continue to be echoed Over the weekend, two more provinces echoed the weekend retreat entitled “Put on the Full Armor of God,” based on the year’s theme for the entire community. The retreat has been echoed in most of the provinces and in countries abroad. The retreat is an annual activity of CFC, focusing on whatever theme has been discerned for the year, such theme serving as the community’s direction and plan of action for the coming year.
CFC QUEZON By Nat Deveza CFC Quezon trooped to the provincial center in Ikirin, Pagbilao, QUEZON, for their echo conference last July 16 and 17. Almost 800 persons attended the retreat, completely filling the huge gym within the complex. CFC Romblon, led by their Provincial Area Director Luna Fajilagutan and CFC Marinduque, with their PAD Mel Lauresta, joined their Quezon brethren in the retreat. The opening mass was celebrated by Rev Father Dondon Endiape, Spiritual Director of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Seminary in Lucban, Que-
zon. In his sermon he quoted Mother Theresa’s words that the fruit of knowledge is love. He encouraged everyone to grow and be victorious in putting on the full armor of God. The five talks of the conference were spread over the two-day period and was punctuated by segments imitating the live anchor TV broadcasts of Philippine channels. Acting as news anchors between talks were Max Bunyi, Jerry Inojosa, Benjie de Ocampo, Andy Alquiros and Quezon Provincial Area Director Jun Oabel. Speakers came from Metro Manila, beginning with Flame Ministry Head Rommel Ancheta (for the first talk “Field of Battle”), Quezon Provincial Area Head Robert Ardiente (“Rely on the Mighty Power of God”), MM West B Sector Head Arnel Santos (“Stand Firm Against the Foe”), Chito Nepomuceno (“Put on the Full Armor of God”) and International Council Member Jun UriTop photo shows Rey and Lulu Espiritu, Pampanga PAD, giving “God-tags” to their leaders. arte (“Victory in Ocampo, newly-elected IC member, prays over the brethren after his talk. the Spirit).
Rev. Father Eric Mercurio officiated at the Holy Mass on the last day of the conference. The service team for the conference was headed by Adel and Cherry Ambrocio of Quezon CFC East Sector.
CFC PAMPANGA AND TARLAC By Ric Miranda
In lower photo, Mannix
July 17, 2011, Pampanga. Once again, God showed Pampanga and Tarlac His might and power. More than 700 leaders of Couples for Christ from these two Central Luzon provinces, headed by their respective Provincial Area Directors Rey Espiritu (for Pampanga) and James Maglalang (for Tarlac), renewed their commitment
to continue God’s work by evangelizing people during a daylong echo of CFC’s “Put On The Full Armor of God” Weekend Retreat. The newly-appointed Provincial Area Head of Pampanga, Lito Legaspi, and the PAH of Tarlac, Omy Santos with wife Fe, were also in attendance. The retreat was held in Heroes Hall of the provincial capitol in San Fernando, Pampanga. It was a spirit-filled retreat given by Manila leaders, Mannix Ocampo, Tony Gimenez, Hermie Vargas, Romy Alfaro, Lito Tayag and Lito Legazpi with the support of their respective spouses. The activity started with the Holy Mass officiated by Fr. Dane Lumabas of Society of St. Paul who, in his homily, reminded everyone that the field of battle also lies within each one’s heart. The retreat was highlighted with very powerful sharers from the youth, who everyone believes will continue the work for Couples for Christ for the next 30 years or more. Inspirational songs of worship were rendered by the Pampanga Band Music Ministry. The retreat ended with the very moving commissioning of the leaders present who were given “God tags,” symbol of their commitment to proclaim God to all areas of their respective provinces and in all aspects of their lives.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 15 No. 15
July 18 - 31, 2011
By Ricky Cuenca, CFC Chairman
CFC is GOD’S PLAN! The CFC Pearl Anniversary that saw a hundred thousand army of Christ marching in Luneta, a huge number of foreign delegates witnessing GLOBAL IMPACT and the many miracles created in CFC following the two major storms show clearly that CFC is God’s plan. CFC is Divine Providence manifest. “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come out and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me, if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortune and gather you from all nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29 Verse 11-14. When I was convicted to stay with CFC in the first storm, this message of Jeremiah and the belief that “THE TRUTH WILL SET US FREE.” guided me. When I took on the role of CFC USA Country Coordinator in the midst of that first storm, I felt like David conquering a GOLIATH. Trusting in the Lord, I underwent a renewal. The CFC community was also undergoing a renewal process so I allowed
myself to be transformed, journeying with the CFC community. We embraced Christ with courage, submitted to God’s plan and moved forward continuing to love one another with a love flowing with the movement of the Holy Spirit. The pains of growth and separation enlightened and strengthened our resolve to serve the Lord in our work with the poor, Pro Life and evangelization. We were renewed in the image of Him who created us. And God’s plan unfolded. The many miracles of transformation in CFC brought us to the gift of pearl anniversary. “Ang sarap!” It’s great to be nurtured and cradled by the Lord. “The truth indeed set us free.” Thank you Lord. During the IC election process, when the nomination and voting by the Elders Assembly resulted in my becoming a member of the IC, and later on as IC Chair after the voting by the nine IC members themselves, I was surprised. A strong fear enveloped me. My first question was, Why Lord? I doubted myself. Lord, I am not worthy. Who am I? What is my role? I heard the voice, “Do not be afraid, God does not choose the anointed, He anoints His chosen.” When I was reading the scripture guide In His Steps last Wednesday July 13, the
reading for the day was taken from Matthew 11:25-27. It was an assurance from the Lord. The message was: God is to be revealed to all. The Lord is made known not to the mighty, intellectual or the proud, but to the humble, the pure of heart, to the child-like and to those who seek Him fervently through God’s grace. He chooses the ordinary so that it is through His power and might that His works might be glorified. Jesus does not pick the scholars or influential people to be His apostles but rather the lowly and humble so that His empowerment and grace working in them may be all the more made apparent. Through His disciples, He carries on His mission of making the Father known to all mankind and spreads the Good News of Salvation. One of the many lessons I learned in the difficult years of transition is respect for our CFC process of anointment and succession. I took for granted our practice of next generation leadership formation in the Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ, Singles for Christ, Handmaids of the Lord, Servants of the Lord and Couples for Christ. In the recent CFC National and International Conferences, Youth for Christ and Singles for Christ leaders rallied the congregation to put on the full armor of God. With-
out our knowing, we realized that we now have a steady pool of trained leaders in our CFC culture. It was when I saw young leaders speaking boldly about our being rooted in Christ that I realized that we have a natural process of changing the guards and forming new leaders. Our Elders Assembly, Board of Elders and IC members, bereft of ego and self preservation, gracefully allowed themselves to be part of this process of anointment and succession in engaging new leaders. The virtues of true servant leadership, shepherding with humility and meekness in submission to the will of God were modeled. Let’s continue our sacred practice of formation, anointment and succession leadership in developing our leaders of tomorrow and journeying with them through the many lessons still to be learned. And before we know it, we will have the gift of GOLD.
ship from household leaders up to the cluster, sector heads, and the Elders Assembly. I would like my presence felt in humble servant leadership, sharing the love of Christ in conversations with far flung community members and leaders across the country and in missions abroad. Pastoral care also means building the foundations for Pro-Life and Pro-Family, reaching out and strengthening our membership and leadership to grow in faith and love. The 3 Cs- Connecting, Communicating, Communing with our members and leaders in genuine love - are key elements in our pastoral care. Modeling discipleship, encouraging our leaders, enabling the positive heart, challenging the process and having a shared vision are good practices of servant leadership. Like Christ, let us shepherd the flock with our compassionate love and true servant leadership. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
Evangelization. This is the very root of our existence as an organization. How can we strengthen our evangelization? Although our membership multiplied in the last five years, it is not enough. The harvest is rich and the need is plentiful. We need passion and zeal in our evangeliza-
Pastoral Care. The process of renewal brought many pains, sufferings, distrust and broken relationships in the community. Thus I would like Pastoral Care to be the cornerstone of my leadership. I would like to care genuinely for the general membership and leader-
tion. Let us commit to spend time and energy in co-initiating and co-creating approaches in evangelization that produce results. Spreading the Word of God is our mission. Let us look towards mainstreaming the general population in our missions abroad. Language and culture of countries are important. The global mandate to evangelize is in our nature as an organization. CFC will be trailblazers, we will be breaking new grounds. Work with the Poor. Work with the poor has been my passion from the very start of our CFC mission to bring glad tidings to the poor. My charism is identified with our work with the poor. The Holy Spirit must be sending signals to the Elders Assembly and the IC to put emphasis on this work in my election as Chair. ANSWERING THE CRY OF THE POOR is an integral part of our mission. Christ’s mission in the world continues in our Faith in Action. I have three years as IC member as covenanted. I look forward to the next three years with you, building the church of the home and the church of the poor, focused on our vision of Families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth. May God be praised!
By Melo Villaroman, CFC Executive Director
CFC ON FIRE! “We need to be on fire again, for our hope is no longer an easy hope. We live in a culture of despair within which Pentecost can no longer be taken for granted. Hence we must take upon ourselves the burden of the times and refuse to make the Holy Spirit a piece of private property but a spirit that matters.” - Mary Jo Leddy, Catholic theologian and missionary Our Couples for Christ expanded vision declares, “CFC is a global united community of family evangelizers that sets the world on fire with the fullness of God’s transforming love.” To be a light to the nations, spreading God’s salvation to the ends of the earth, we in Couples for Christ need to be a people always “ON FIRE”! Even our Pearl Anniversary guest speaker Christopher West enunciated that if CFC were to set the world on fire, then first, we ourselves need to be truly ablaze. Do we then consider ourselves to be “on fire” today? To live constantly ablaze across nations in the Spirit’s mighty flame, to be families on fire with eternal hope so needed in a darkened world, to serve with Christ-like love that lights for the poor a brighter path to God – these are challenges for Couples for Christ and its ministries as we press on our journey from Pearl to Gold. It will not be an easy journey, for true gold is purified only through the test of fire, but it will be a most fulfilling
one, in which we will witness lives and families around the world moved and transformed by the warmth and power of the Pentecost! We have marvelled at the Lord’s blessing upon CFC the past 30 years, leading the Community from strength to strength, despite our individual frailties. As we start our 31st year of service to the Lord, let us also allow this Spirit-led term or acronym “On-FIRE” to remind us of our most important mission priorities in CFC. These priorities and directions flow out of our Vision and calling, and therefore are for each CFC leader and member in any part of the world to share, and to passionately help bring to life: One Community, one with the Catholic Church – We live and cherish the clarity and dynamism of our oneness with the master evangelization plan of our beloved Catholic Church. This is God’s inalterable “blueprint” for CFC, a calling under Christ’s headship and a mission consecrated to our Blessed Mother. Our oneness with the Church is also reflected in the strength of our oneness within CFC. The unity flowing out of our CFC vision and mission is a great gift, tested and strengthened through storms. We fully trust God who anoints CFC with one leadership and one set of mission directions, choosing to follow His commandment to love, to move forward, to embrace Christ’s Fullness, and to put on His full armor, never again to be bogged down by storms and distractions along the way. Fullness – How blessed we are to be called to a mission of Fullness in Christ,
building the Church of the Home, and Building the Church of the Poor! What a wonder that each element of our calling is blessed to flourish only if integral to the wholeness of Christ: Evangelization, Formation, Family Renewal, and Work with the Poor forming together one mission that allows us to feel the embrace of God’s fullness in our lives. Our CFC ANCOP Mission and the fast-developing CFC “CORNERSTONE” convergence approach across public schools, are great examples. The young are graduating not just from good education but from Kids for Christ and Youth for Christ, their parents participating in spiritual formation through the CLP/CFC Formation, many partners stepping up to spearhead food and nutrition, whole families starting with ours transformed forever by the fullness of the living Spirit! International/Global CFC CallingOur mighty God is intent in His plan to send and bless CFC families to help continue His mission in “renewing the face of the earth” and “to make disciples of all nations.” The active life of CFC and its Ministries in more than a hundred countries, and the representation of Bishops, Clergy, Religious and CFC from 35 nations in our recent Luneta Pearl Anniversary celebration is the Lord’s strong affirmation that He desires for CFC to become a truly global community! We are reminded that Global mission work is a calling not just to CFC full-time missionaries but to each and every member of the community. Through official CFC missions, planned volunteer missions, and even by way of social technologies and web-based enablers that “connect the world,” there are
expansive opportunities for each one of us to evangelize across nations! Relevant Life and Formation: We are blessed with key elements of our relevant life and formation in CFC – our lifeblood for the mission. At the center and core is the Holy Eucharist, “the source and summit of our Christian life.” As best as we can, we should appropriate our daily mission energies from the Eucharist. This is our highest form of worship, and our daily, sacred opportunity to be able to touch the body of Christ, and for His living presence to touch our lives. Within CFC, the “household meeting” is another crucial channel of life. A living expression of a “small Christian community” at work week-in and out the past 30 years, the “household” is one of the Spirit’s unique and magnificent gifts bestowed upon CFC. Through this venue, the Spirit refreshes, renews, and readies us for mission through prayer and fellowship with brothers and sisters. The strength of the family as a nucleus, and the power of the Spirit within the deliberate collection and connection of families comprising the households, make up the solid foundation and future of CFC and its influence in society. Let us also remain faithful in attending all our CFC formation and assemblies. The Eucharist and Sacraments, our household meetings, and our CFC Formation will keep the flame of the Spirit in our families and in our mission assignments burning! Neglect these, and we will find our mission energies easily “burning out.” Effective Governance and Stewardship: God bestows upon CFC blessings that are boundless, a calling that is heaven-bound and an armor that is
full. Yet, for now, we are tasked to carry out the mission here on earth, through “earthen vessels,” exercising faithfulness, and fruitfulness as stewards of the Lord’s treasures. Let us never hold back in the generosity and fidelity of our giving (tithes, “Build My House”). It is our act of living out our Christian worship and trust upon our Lord who is always faithful to us. Through our sharing of resources, we honor and support the bare-basic mission needs of young missionaries who will nurture CFC for our own children, support the reach of CFC evangelization to more countries awaiting the Gospel, bring the living embrace of Christ to the poor, and most of all, delight our Father in heaven with our hearts. As good stewards, we will also target for all CFC big events to be financially self-supporting, and even missionresource generating, so that we can support the expansion of the mission according to God’s greater call. Brothers and Sisters, I, my brothers in the CFC International Council, and our families are as excited as you are, facing the next 30 years of Couples for Christ and beyond, with the loving grip of the Lord’s hand upon us, a hand that will not let go, a hand that is always victorious! Let us together in CFC be ON FIRE, daily lives ablaze with the transforming love of Christ. We shall see the Spirit of Pentecost sweeping our country, and blessing our land, spreading light and warmth to many nations, and majestically setting the world on fire with the fullness of God’s transforming love!
By Jun Uriarte
Do You not yet have Faith? A story is told of a man traveling alone in a vast desert with his water jugs now empty and dry. He was nearly dying from thirst when he saw a shallow water well equipped with a hand pump. Upon reaching the well he saw a container filled with clean water with a note attached saying, “Pour this water into the opening to prime the
pump before operating.” Not knowing if the note was true or not, he thought to himself, “I am now dying of thirst. I have but a few hours to live. If this note is true, I can have all the water I need to survive. But if this note is not true, if I pour this water and the hand pump does not work and no water comes out, I will certainly die.” After paus-
ing for a moment to consider his choices, he decided to risk it. He poured the water into the opening and started operating the hand pump. Nothing! He pumped some more. Nothing! He pumped again. And water started flowing from the well, abundant clean potable water, all that he needed to quench his thirst, to wash his face and
arms, and to fill his empty water jugs. Now refreshed but before continuing on his journey, he filled up the water container and added to the note, “Do not be afraid. Have faith.” Jesus had the same message for his disciples when they were caught by a storm at sea: Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And
other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them,
“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (Mk 4:36-40) Brothers and sisters, this wellknown miracle story on the calming of a storm at sea, which is reported in all three synoptic gospels, evokes many ideas and passages from the Old Testament. First, control of the sea is seen as a sign of divine power: Faith / C5
CBCP Monitor Vol. 15 No. 15 July 18 - 31, 2011
Know Your Board of Elders
Last June 27, right after the Elders Assembly voted for the nine members of the International Council, they returned to the polling booths to select 15 men and women who will serve for the next two years as members of the Board of
Elders. Of the 15 selected, three are women. Nine are first-termers, with two of them coming from Mindanao and one from Negros Occidental. They are a mixed crew, the youngest being Shok
Ariola at 35 and the oldest being Joey Arguelles at 68. All, however, are one in their commitment to be “elders,” if not in the chronological sense, definitely in the wisdom and commitment to responsibility that they will bring to
AGUINALDO, Ding RH Northeastern Luzon A CPA, in private business
ARGUELLES, JOSE (Joey) - 68 PAH Batangas & Misamis Oriental/CC Israel/Director, Church Integration Office RH Micronesia Retired from full time pastoral work at CFC
their new calling. Bong Arjonillo, one of the first-termers put it aptly and perhaps he speaks for the group when he says that this new service will “keep me firmly rooted in Christian values, constantly guided in
being responsible for my flock, comfortably integrated in my different roles in life and in community, constantly motivated to strive for personal holiness and humbled in my worldliness and pride.”
CUEVAS, BERNADETTE (Bernie) – 56 CFC Fulltime worker now assigned to Cornerstone, CFC’s work in education for the poor HOLD Regional Coordinator Bicol, HOLD country coordinator Japan, HOLD PFO
GALSIM, REMEDIOS (Didi) – 63 International HOLD Coordinator
DE LEON, Ramon (Mon) - (59) Sector Head South B/PAH Laguna
ARIOLA, Michael (35) RH Southern Africa/ SFC Intl Coordinator/ Head, Migrants Workers Program Fulltime Pastoral Worker
RESPICIO, Leonides (Nides) – (58) STMA Natl Coordinator/ Core Group Gift of Life Ministry/Country Coord Guam Practicing lawyer, estate planner and real estate broker/lecturer
ARJONILLO, Rabboni (Bong) -- 52 SH Central C/Reg’l Coord Greater Mekong Area/ PAH Iloilo Senior VP and Chief Risk Officer, China Bank
BREVA, Rene (53) PAH North Cotabato/RH Southeastern Mindanao/ PAD Davao City Businessman
CAMPOS, George (48) Country Coordinator Vietnam/PAH Nueva Viscaya Consultant: Power development/retired Meralco executive
GIMENEZ, Zenaida (Zeny) – 63 Head, Ugnayan Multimedia Center, Home Office Husband Tony is Regional Head Western Visayas Fulltime worker
PENALOSA, Ramon (Mon) – (57) PAH Guimaras/ Provincial AGT and ANCOP Head, Negros Occ Agri-preneur/agriscientist
ILAGAN, Jaime (49) Sector Head Central A Consultant, Sime Darby Pilipinas/CPA
SANTOS, Arnel (43) Sector Head West B Government employee
SESCON, Sofronio (Boie) – (66) Country Coordinator Netherlands/RH Northcentral Mindanao/ PAH Lanao del Sur A doctor/Fulltime pastoral worker
By Joe Yamamoto
MEGUMI RECENTLY, Couples for Christ in Japan celebrated its 15 years of existence. In Japan, they refer to CFC as Kamisama no Megumi, God’s gift. This is an appropriate label because one who experiences the joy of transformation in life and continues to enjoy it will not miss out on the reality of CFC as MEGUMI, i.e. gift or blessing, being received. The last fifteen years have seen invigorating and progressive growth of the community from one prefecture (Tokyo) to the present 14. CFC Japan feels blessed, and rightly so. They have received “megumi,” but they do not stop there. They who receive the megumi become the givers of the same. With the examples of their daily lives, our CFC Japan brethren are proving to be a blessing to others. They have become the models of dedicated lives and demonstrate the way to “pay forward.” Two sisters in the com-
munity, Elma Diaz and Mel Kasuya, who battled with two bouts of cancer each but never wavered in their passion and love of God and neighbour, are prime examples of megumi spread and shared to others. Elma, the wife of CFC Japan country head Dennis Diaz, underwent a modified radical mastectomy for cancer in her left breast five years ago. All was well until a few weeks before our CFC 30th anniversary, when a new malignant lump was found on her right breast. Not wanting to slow down their members’ preparations to travel to the Philippines and join the anniversary celebration, she bravely decided to postpone her surgery until after the event, trusting that God is in control. Between her two cancer surgeries, Elma experienced one major trial after another- their newly renovated house in Cainta, and everything in it including their car, were buried in the floodwaters of Ondoy. Not too long after that calamity, her father died. Shortly before he died, Elma learned that he had
resented Elma and Dennis being so passionate for CFC and was hurt because he felt that the couple had put CFC as priority over family. By God’s grace, father and daughter were reconciled. Her battle with cancer is far from over but the outcome is never in doubt- God’s love and healing will prevail. Mel has been a member of Handmaids of the Lord from as far back as 14 years ago. As part of a career move, she accepted work in Japan, met a handsome Japanese, Hiroaki, and eventually married him. Mel is one of select few foreigners who hold doctorates in biological sciences from the prestigious Todai University. What makes her truly special, beyond her professional achievement, is her passionate dedication and quiet service to CFC and her own inspiring outlook in life. Mel was diagnosed to have uterine malignancy a few years back and was surgically treated. Not long thereafter, she had another bout of malignancy in one of her kidneys which again was successfully operated upon.
All through her period of trial, she remained steadfast in her faith and continued to express her love for the Lord even if following Him involved many sacrifices. As if that were not enough, her husband Hiroaki suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and lapsed into a coma. A delicate and last ditch emergency surgery brain surgery was performed in spite of the dismal prognosis. Because of much prayer and excellent medical care, Hiroaki’s condition stabilized while remaining comatose. His hospital stay spanned two years and much of his hospital course was touch and go. In between taking care of the seriously ill Hiroaki, Mel continued unfailingly in her service to CFC and her academic work. During one episode when it appeared medicine could do nothing more for him, Mel called for a priest to administer the last rites of the Church. But Hiroaki was not a baptized Catholic, and the rite could not be administered. Hiroaki survived that episode but Mel continued
to pray that God will show the way for Hiroaki to be baptized. Finally the time came, with Hiroaki agreeing to it. Hiroaki was baptized and his Christian name is John Paul in honor of the beloved pontiff, now beatified John Paul II. In the course of two years, John Paul slowly and miraculously recovered, beating the odds. The examples of these two CFC sisters are embodiments of modelling grace under trial and steadfastness in their love for God and the community. TSUNAMI hits Japan Last March 6, the country was suddenly hit by the strongest earthquake experienced in the last 300 years. The gigantic tsunami that came in the quake’s aftermath caused indescribable havoc and destruction in a large area of Sendai and endangered the world because of the resultant explosion of the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. The government of Japan considered the natural calamity as the worst tragedy to befall the island nation since World War II.
Japan reeled and trembled while the rest of the world was gripped by fear and worry. Estimates of loss in human lives number into twenty thousand or likely to be more. The property and material destruction range in the hundreds of billions of dollars. OUR PEOPLE ON THE GROUND Three days after the destructive quake and tsunami, displaced people were still being relocated to temporary shelters and their basic needs attended to by the Japanese government and private citizens. Meanwhile, our embassy in Tokyo fielded an emergency team to take care of the Filipinos who are in Sendai and environs. At the head of that rescue and relief team was our CFC brother, Solphie Confiado, Consul-General of the Philipppine Embassy. While it is part of his responsibility as government official to Megumi / C7
Faith / C4
Lord, God of hosts, who is like you? Mighty God, your loyalty is always present. You rule the raging sea; you still its swelling waves (Ps 89:9-10). Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the depths of the sea into a way for the redeemed to pass over? (Is 51:10) Second, more than a sign of divine power, the calming of the sea is seen as a sign of God’s love and care: They saw the works of the Lord, the wonders of God in the deep. He spoke and roused a storm wind; it tossed the waves on high. They rose to the heavens, sank to the depths; their hearts trembled at the danger. They reeled, staggered like drunkards; their skill was of no avail. In their distress they cried to the Lord, who brought them out of their peril, hushed the storm to a murmur; the waves of the sea were stilled. They rejoiced that the sea grew calm, that God brought them to the harbor they longed for. Let them thank the Lord for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortal (Ps 107:24-31). This ancient prayer clearly depicts the situation that Jesus’ disciples are in. Third, peaceful and untroubled sleep – as displayed by Jesus in a boat being tossed by powerful waves – is a sign of perfect trust in God: Whenever I lay
down and slept, the Lord preserved me to rise again (Ps 3:5). In peace I shall both lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me secure (Ps 4:9). When you lie down, you need not be afraid, when you rest, your sleep will be sweet (Prov 3:24). And you shall be secure, because there is hope; you shall look round you and lie down in safety, and you shall take your rest with none to disturb (Job 11:18-19). This miracle story can also have several levels of meaning. Let us focus our reflection on the cry of the disciples: Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? It takes only a few moments of reflection to see that this cry suggests that the disciples sense a danger that apparently threatens them but does not necessarily threaten Jesus. It further suggests that they believe Jesus can do something about the situation but only if he were awake. The first level of meaning reflects the experience of the early Church, the community that Mark was familiar with. Mark’s community was perhaps faced with many difficult problems and they felt helpless and abandoned. They felt as if Jesus were asleep and did not care about what was happening in their
community. By relating this miracle story, Mark wanted to teach his community that the mere presence of Jesus, whether asleep or awake, was sufficient assurance of their safety and well-being. Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples was meant to remind Mark’s community to have complete faith and trust that Jesus’ mere presence should be enough for their fears to be stilled – that they should neither worry nor fear since Jesus was in their midst. The second level of meaning reflects the experience of our community. During the past few years, as we moved from silver to pearl, our community was buffeted with two successive storms. Although we were confident that Jesus was present in our community, he appeared to be asleep, not minding the dangerous situation we were in. In fact even up to the first few days of our anniversary week, stormy weather and heavy rains accompanied our various activities. But on the very day of our pearl anniversary, Jesus awoke and calmed the storms, both literally and figuratively. The heavy rains completely dissipated on our anniversary Sunday and we enjoyed a perfect day. There
was absolutely no rain, not even a slight shower, and the sky remained overcast reducing the heat of the sun. And as if Jesus wanted to assure us of his continuing presence and active action in the community, we saw the largest gathering ever of the community converging at the Rizal Park, estimated to be about a hundred thousand members from about 35 countries (over 700 delegates from outside the country), accompanied by over a hundred archbishops, bishops and priests. Brothers and sisters, the third level of meaning reflects our own personal experience. We have now reached retirement age but we receive no pension and live merely on our savings. Thus we feel as if we are in the midst of a “retirement storm” but instead of fearing that the boat will soon fill with water, we fear that the savings will soon be empty of funds. Already too old for any regular corporate or international positions, we pray that there will be consultancy projects that will pay for our expertise and experience. But Jesus seems to be asleep. But our greater concern is not how we will continue to support our daily
needs but how we can continue to financially support our service in the community. We have always used our personal funds to support our missions to various countries to give talks, retreats and teachings and to participate in the multifarious activities and conferences of the community. We have chosen to be like Paul and Aquila and Priscilla, who supported their service in the early Christian community through their income as tentmakers. Thus, since our retirement early this year, we have tried to live a more modest and simpler lifestyle. As the Lord has called us to greater service, we hope, with God’s grace, to serve even more intensely and actively the various communities in the Philippines and abroad by giving talks, retreats and teachings. And so like the disciples we cry, “Lord, help us to continue supporting all these!” Brothers and sisters, we continue to pray that God will calm the “storm” of our retirement and give us the grace of courage – that we may no longer fear the uncertain future – and the grace of faith to believe that Jesus is truly with us. And that should be enough.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 15 No. 15
July 18 - 31, 2011
Letters From Abroad
THE anniversary is over but the spirit of fellowship, of wonder and of love continues to be manifest. Here are some letters from CFC brethren from many places abroad who came to Manila, joined all the anniversary activities and came away awed at the sheer magnitude not just of the CFC Family but of the love that Jesus has for us. Fr. Robin Rai, Parish of the Assumption, Nepal The 30th Anniversary of Couples for Christ was really a heart-touching religious event. Through the different activities, I could sense the unity of the Catholic faithful from the Philippines and elsewhere. It was great indeed to see people from all walks of life, “big” and “small,” giving their best to help one another spiritually and physically. This really showed
Bro. Michel Beaudoin, Brothers of Christian Instruction On July 3, 2011, the CFC chapters from Yokohama and Tokyo had a graduation ceremony, during which many singles and handmaids became part of Couples for Christ. I was given 15 minutes to show the group 50 pictures of the CFC’s Pearl Anniversary celebrations in Manila. It was an occasion for
people’s commitment and love for the Church. The sessions of the conferences, especially those which talked about ANCOP were, for me, the concretized version of CFC i.e. the Gospel in action. The Celebration of the Holy Eucharist during each event was done with much devotion, which I found spiritually uplifting. Thanks be to God for allowing me to join CFC in their celebrations.
ology of the Body. I hope to be able to echo what I have learned during that blessed week. Being with thousands of dedicated laymen and laywomen who have placed Christ at the center of their lives was a real Church experience for me. Coming from a cold country (French Canada) where faith in Christ has become frigid, I welcome the burning heat of the Couples for Christ, who want the whole earth to be ablaze
Back: Carol Arjonillo, Bishop Dominic, Fr. Robin, Bishop Paul, Bro. Michel, Bong Arjonillo Front: Topper Arjonillo, Robbie Arjonillo
me to relive that great week. I cannot thank you enough, my CFC family, especially the Arjonillos of Metro Manila Central C, for having hosted me during that time. I was privileged to be part of the family for more than a week. Since my trip to Manila and attending the conferences with Christopher West, I have been listening to his talks and gathering information from the internet on Phenomenology and the The-
Abraham Indrias and Meskerem Negusse, CFC Eritrea CFC Eritrea, Asmara When our country leaders based in Abu Dhabi sent us the invitation letter, tickets and itinerary for the 30th Anniversary Celebrations, we could not help but be grateful for their immense support. At first we thought going to Manila would be easy but when we tried to process our visas in preparation for the trip, it was really difficult as we didn’t have a Philippine Embassy in our country. We opted to look for an Embassy in the nearest country, and our CFC brothers and sisters in Nairobi ended up assisting us. At the last minute though, our passports were lost due to miscommunications between DHL Nairobi and Asmara. Nonetheless, our CFC brethren kept on praying for us, encouraging us to have faith. Indeed, for us it was truly a miracle that we were finally able to leave Eritrea and join in the celebration. Upon arriving in Manila we came face to face with the traditional Filipino hospitality. We were greeted with love, enthusiasm, and smiling faces. The way our Filipino “family” greeted us was so amazing and we really felt at home. The 30th anniversary celebrations were wonderful and well-organized, and we were surprised to see that so many people could gather for one objective i.e. to praise the Lord. Our spiritual director for CFC Asmara, Abba Siyum Kifle Zeragiorgis, also had a chance to participate in all the activities. We learned a
with Jesus Christ. There is hope for men and women of goodwill even in Japan when they can see couples and singles living for Christ and trying to make a difference in their society. I also thank God the Father and his Son Jesus for bringing more freedom in my life and offering me the grace to love others more like Jesus has and is still doing to this very day. Thank you CFC for all that you have given us.
lot from the conferences on the ‘Theology of the Body’ and the celebration at Rizal Park. We felt united as one family especially while we waved our country flags during the parade. The week after the celebrations, we were able to attend training sessions organized by Mon Santiago of the International Missions Office. During the whole week, we were hosted in different homes and everyone allowed us to feel the same everywhere, of being truly “at home.” We were able to attend household prayer meetings, unit leaders’ household meetings and a chapter assembly under CFC Metro Manila East A. These enabled us to gain more practical knowledge on how to conduct a prayer meeting, to put our training into practice, to meet a lot of people, and even a chance to eat different types of Filipino food. We were also pleasantly surprised by the way people interacted with each other, always smiling upon greeting each other, and the young always seeking to be “blessed” (mano) by their elders. We are also truly grateful for our brothers and sisters who hosted us, and gave of their time, their homes and their money, especially Mon and Tita Santiago, who not only organized our training, but opened their homes to us and shared God’s love to us every day. The training sessions enabled us to have a more holistic vision of CFC, which we plan to share with our brothers and sisters in CFC Eritrea. We are really happy to see CFC growing spiritually throughout the world by the power of the Holy Spirit and continue to pray for God’s blessings upon us all.
Mon and Ammie Alano, CFC Brunei As members of the CFC Brunei National Council, the recently concluded 30th CFC anniversary celebration gave us an insight and a new dimension of our mission in the community. The series of events ranging from the International Church Integration Congress, the CFC Cultural Night, the Freedom to Love Conference and the CFC anniversary grand celebration in Luneta Park served as catalysts of blazing fires in the hearts of the men and women of CFC. CFC Center, Our Home The “igniting force” started from seeing the new CFC home, a product of the generosity of the members of the community all over the world. Gazing at the structure strategically situated within the heart of Cubao, Quezon City allowed us to rejoice and look upon God in jubilant praise. The warm welcome of people manning the center,
the humble hospitality extended to all the members of the community from the provinces and other countries waiting for their respective hosts, plus the abundance of refreshments and food for the hungry guests, indeed reminded us of the parable of The Good Samaritan. Our Host, Our Second Home The home of our host family, Romy and Estela Gasgonia in Taguig, did not only become a shelter for us, but an oasis of love and care, and we spent the nights sharing our lives, our trials and our weaknesses with one another. Despite our hectic busy schedule, we made it a point to have this sharing of experiences, as it made our day more meaningful. Significant Lessons From The Series of Scheduled Events The remarkable lessons we derived from the wisdom of Christopher West and his Theology of the Body inspired us to be set on fire. As he said: “To be Couples for Christ, you need to be Couples of Christ first. To be Couples of Christ, you need
to be set on fire….you cannot give what you do not have.” That kept ringing in our ears. We heard this many times before but this time as it was said by somebody declaring the Gospel of Life, particularly the Theology of the Body, its message seemed almost deafening and was given with great authority and conviction. We truly felt as if it were God Himself speaking to our whole being. Also, the Church and Clergy Integration Congress on June 24 allowed us to appreciate more clearly the mission of being a consecrated celibate. The CFC Cultural Night later in the evening was a showcase of talents well-preserved in each CFC delegation’s culture and tradition. The human spirit was well entertained with songs and dances inspired by the Holy Spirit. The grand celebration at Rizal Park on June 26 was an awesome work of an awesome God.
The weather just simply cooperated with God’s will, a calm scenario before the storm. Tens of thousands of faithful members of the community from all over the world gathered in Jesus’ name, proclaiming His goodness and identity. It was as if we were experiencing “heaven on earth.” Indeed, God is good not only this time but all the time. We are looking forward to more of these events, where we can truly say that God is working miracles in and through the CFC community.
Sudhir Masih Randhawa, CFC Pakistan
I truly feel that the CFC community is a real and spiritual platform for salvation in Christ Jesus. I also admire To my brothers and sisters in the dedication and devotion of CFC, the CFC global family towards Greetings in Christ! the Lord. I’m writing to offer my heartfelt I’m thankful to all the thanks to you for giving me a CFC brothers and sisters chance to take part in the CFC in the Philippines who 30th Anniversary Celebration provided us foreign delegates held in Manila last month, which with accommodations, was truly a great event to praise transportation, spiritual the Lord our God. company, excursions and I feel proud to be part of really delicious food during the CFC community and was our stay there. May God truly blessed during my stay in reward you all for your the Philippines. I’m impressed service. We will never forget and amazed with how CFC is actively promoting the love and From left to right standing - Leslie D’ Costa of Bangladesh, Sudhir Randhawa of the love and care you have Pakistan, Muriel D’ Costa of Bangladesh, Celestina Subba of Nepal. Seated left to care Jesus has for His people by right - George Subba of Nepal, Nadeem Feroze of Pakistan, and far end Fr. Terence extended to us. I offer myself for the growth being united as one family. CFC Rodrigues of Bangladesh. and development of CFC, is really victorious in converting especially in Pakistan. I love, sincerity, loyalty, unity, spirituality, and uniting different cultures to be on “one platform,” united as one family caring and hospitality, which is the real continue to pray for the prosperity, growth essence of CFC’s culture.......what a truly and victory of the CFC community. May in Christ. God bless us all! I have come to appreciate the spirit of amazing miracle of God!
Moses Brainard, CFC Sierra Leone I am the Chapter Head of CFC in Sierra Leone. Through God’s blessings, I found myself in Manila on June 23, 2011 to join the CFC 30th Anniversary Celebrations, which took place between June 19 and 30. But my journey started way before that. In late October 2010, our Missions Director for CFC West Africa, Ricky Cuenca, invited my wife Jane and me to come to the Philippines for the celebration. He asked us to start praying about it, encouraging us to always put God first in everything we do. Since that time, God started working His miracles, and by early April 2011, I got an email from Ricky and Eric Villanueva from the US, that they could only cover the travel expenses of one person. My wife was happy to let me go alone, and assured me of her prayers. My first pleasant experience during the trip was at the Manila airport where I met fine Filipinos who welcomed me with open hands and smiles on their faces. My accommodations, meals and transportation costs from one place to the other were all handled by the CFC families with whom I was blessed to stay. This made my visit truly memorable. I was overwhelmed when I saw the gathering of the CFC family worldwide at the Rizal Park for the celebration proper. People came from countries all over the world
and what gave me more zeal and strengthened my commitment to our CFC mission was when I saw the great number of CFC from China. I realized that CFC is indeed a global family truly living out the vision of “Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth.” Moving around from one host family to another also helped me gain a wealth of experience, which I have committed to take back home to my people in Sierra Leone, in order to strengthen their faith and encourage them to live out the culture of CFC. The training I have undergone in Manila, through the leadership of Mon Santiago from the CFC International Missions Office, is an added advantage for me. With all that I have learned, I hope to empower my community in Sierra Leone as to how we should all live out the culture of the Vision and Mission of CFC. I truly appreciate all that I have gone through and I promise that, by the grace of God, I will put them all into practice, so as to make CFC a sustainable mission community within the Catholic Church, particularly in Sierra Leone. Couples for Christ has transformed me and I am grateful to God for all His blessings, and I pray that I will live my life for Christ and work as a servant for my community, with humility, love and care for my people who are truly in need of God’s love.
Moses Brainard (Sierra Leone) in a jeepney.
George and Celestina Subba, CFC Nepal Greetings from Nepal. We are back in Kathmandu, arriving here on July 1 after a three-day stopover at Bangkok. But we still can’t forget our Philippine trip. The CFC Pearl Anniversary Celebration was one of the most wonderful and memorable experiences for us, and we never thought that we could participate in such a spectacular event. We enjoyed every moment of our stay in Manila, and extend our gratitude to those who helped arrange everything for our trip. We were amazed at the efficiency and organization of
all the arrangements, and the culture and values of CFC were clearly visible in the faith, hospitality, openness and humility of all the Filipinos we met. There are so many things we want to share with our members, which we will do in our upcoming household meetings. We are especially very grateful to those who hosted us, and took care of our transportation and meals. Getting to experience riding the tricycle, jeepney, taxi and LRT on the last day made our trip even more meaningful. Truly, we are blessed to have formed beautiful friendships in CFC, and are grateful to God for establishing CFC 30 years ago.
Melo and Nini Villaroman, seated with Mon Santiago, pose with (standing left to right) Abraham and Meskerem of Eritrea, Leslie and Muriel of Bangladesh, Edith So-Kargbo of Sierra Leone, Nadeem Feroze of Pakistan, Moses Brainard of Sierra Leone
CBCP Monitor Vol. 15 No. 15 July 18 - 31, 2011
ANCOP U.S.A. Leaders Hold Nationwide Summits By Manny Caballero As part of the program to make every CFC member in the USA aware of
ANCOP and its vision of building the church of the poor, CFC USA held two summits, one in the Eastern USA and another in Western USA. ANCOP Western Summit “In a short period, CFC-ANCOP has become a global movement of God’s people in the service of the poor to share the love of Christ.” Those were the opening words of Ricky Cuenca, ANCOP U.S.A. Chairperson and newlyelected CFC Chairman, during the June 3, 2011 ANCOP U.S.A. Summit held in Portland, Oregon.
The ANCOP official also emphasized that ANCOP is a ministry of Couples for Christ, the global family renewal movement that started ANCOP, an acronym for “Answering the Cry of the Poor.” O t h e r summit speakers were Tony Ventura, ANCOP U.S.A. President and CEO; Roger Santos, Child Sponsorship Program (CSP) Director; Elmer M. Pacia, Com-
munity Development Program (CDP) Director; Joe Yamamoto, CFC Executive Director and Ricky Coronel, 2011 ANCOP U.S.A. Walk Manager. In his presentation, Tony Ventura explained the symbolisms behind the new ANCOP logo, which reflects the global dimension of ANCOP and its mission of bringing Christ’s love to the poor by proclaiming Him, uplift-
ing lives and transforming communities. The ANCOP U.S.A. President also announced that the 12 ANCOP regions around the U.S. will sponsor one community each composed of 30 houses. In addition, Ventura said that the goal of this year’s ANCOP Walk around the U.S. is to raise $1 million for its projects. Roger Santos informed the audience that currently there are over 400 poor children being sent to various schools in the Philippines for free by ANCOP U.S.A. under CSP. Elmer Pacia announced that a number of housing communities for poor Filipinos will be established soon in Rizal, Batangas and Bataan. Dr. Joe Yamamoto announced that health is an integral part of CFC-ANCOP’s program for the poor. He said that henceforth, CFC-ANCOP will promote a qual-
ity health care system responsive to the needs of the poor people living in CFCANCOP communities. R i c k y Coronel, in his talk, announced that the ANCOP U.S.A. Walk will be held on August 20, 2011 in t welve
key cities around the U.S. For more information about the ANCOP U.S.A. Walk, please visit their website: www. ancopwalk.us. ANCOP Eastern Summit The Eastern Summit was held a month later, on July 8 t0 10, at the BWI Marriott Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. Once again, Ricky Cuenca was the keynote speaker, ably supported
by his ANCOP USA team -- Tony Ventura, Roger Santos, Elmer Pacia and Ricky Coronel. The two top winners from the U.S. in the recently-concluded ANCOP Theme Songwriting Contest held in Manila during the 30th anniversary week, performed during the Conference. Jona Peralta of California sang (together with Egbert Francisco), “One Hope, One Dream.” Her composition won the grand prize during the songwriting competition and will be the theme song of ANCOP. Marc Bernardo of Florida sang “Let Love Unfold,” one of the ten finalists in the same contest. Ex Funtera, member of ANCOP U.S.A. Board of Directors, helped make the Summit lively with his one-liners as he emceed the program.
Lace Up Your Shoes For The ANCOP Global Walk
By Alma Alvarez
FUN runs and marathons for a cause are definitely the “in” thing nowadays. There’s the KapitBisig Para Sa Kalikasan organized by ABS-CBN for the rehabilitation of Ilog Pasig; the Victory Fun Run for the planting of a new Church in Baguio City; The Pink Run for “D’Feeting Breast Cancer”; and the longestrunning of all, the National Milo Marathon, which is now on it’s 35th year of providing running shoes to thousands of school children all over the Philippines. These marathons actually hit two birds with one stone: one trains for the run and thus gets
physically fit; at the same time one is able to give to his or her favorite charity. This year, CFC ANCOP is joining the fund-raising bandwagon by staging the ANCOP Global Walk. But a Walk is different from a Run, isn’t it? So why organize a “walk” rather than a marathon? Ricky Cuenca, Couples for Christ Chairman and former CFC ANCOP President and CEO, puts it simply: “We just want everyone to be able to participate.” The ANCOP Global Walk is open to all, Couples for Christ and non-CFC members alike. Everyone, young and old, from all walks of life, can participate in the ANCOP Global Walk. All
they have to do is register, pay the walk donation of P300 (either through their CFC leaders or friends, or via BDO Savings Account Number 107-020-754-1), go to the SM Mall of Asia on August 21 as early as 4:00 in the morning, and start walking at 5:00 AM! The ANCOP Global Walk’s primary objective is to raise funds for scholars under the ANCOP Child Sponsorship Program. The participation of CFC families, friends, co-workers, classmates and the public in general is encouraged so that everyone may share the joy of giving. “For Metro Manila alone, the ANCOP Global Walk is targeting 60,000 participants,” says CFC ANCOP COO Eric delos Reyes, during the meeting for Metro Ma-
YFC Oceania Conference Giving It All For the King!
The CFC Youth for Christ Oceania Youth Conference was held on July 1 to 3, 2011. Taking place at Meroo Christian Conference Centre, Kurrajong, New South Wales, this year’s OYC was attended by over 700 youth from all over Oceania, including cities such as Rockhampton, Christchurch, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin, to name a few. Stemming from Couples for Christ’s anchor verse of the year Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the full armour of God,” the OYC’s overall theme was ‘For The King!’ There were four very powerful sessions accompanied by equally captivating creative numbers based on the theme during the weekend. Twenty-four workshops were also conducted by a variety of priests, religious sisters and members of the community. The topics of the workshops varied from vocations
to the value of human life to using virtual media as a tool for evangelisation. The creative competitions such as Band, Dance, Show Tunes and Short Film really showcased the talents of the attendees, while sports competitions such as Tug of War, Soccer and Basketball gave a chance for each area to demonstrate their impeccable team work and determination. On Monday, July 4, YFC Oceania became the first delegation outside of the Philippines to launch the ‘Greeneration’ program. Greeneration is a program designed to not only raise awareness about the environment but also to make a difference to God’s creation. About 200 OYC attendees gathered at Tregear Reserve to help the local council care for the reserve and plant over one thousand trees.
nila CFC leaders last July 8, 2011 at the Lay Formation Center. This means that 5,000 walkers for each of the 12 sectors of CFC Metro Manila are expected to walk for the scholars who are still waiting for sponsors. In the same occasion, Joe Tale of the CFC International Council exhorted, “These children, if left uneducated, will become tomorrow’s poor. I honor each one of you for making education a priority through the ANCOP Global Walk.” The ANCOP Global Walk is not limited to Metro Manila alone. During the 30th Anniversary celebration of Couples for Christ last June 26 at the Luneta, Ricky launched the Walk in front of a crowd of about 100,000
delegates from all over the Philippines and the world. To date, there are 18 Philippine provinces that will stage the Walk in their areas -- La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Batangas, Cavite, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Iloilo, Bohol, Basilan, Zamboanga City, Davao City and South Cotabato. In the international scene, Canada, which has been staging the Walk for 5 years, and the United States, which is in their 2nd year, are walking alongside Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Europe, among others. The CFC Family Ministries— Singles for Christ, Youth for Christ, Kids for Christ, Handmaids of the Lord, and Servants of the Lord—
are likewise excited to participate in the Walk. The parishes, private and public schools and corporations are also being tapped to walk for the scholars. In a “fun run, fitness-crazy and compassionate” society that we have right now, the ANCOP Global Walk will indeed be a welcome addition to the many events that are geared towards helping those who are in need. So what are we all waiting for? Lace up those shoes, and walk for a scholar! For more details on the ANCOP Global Walk, please go to www.ancopglobalwalk.com, www.facebook.com/ancopglobalwalk, or call (+63 2) 794-5363, or 935-7590 (ask for Alma Alvarez or Harmony Medina).
ANCOP goes to Villa Mejia Joson By Jerry Tanigue THE ANCOP Home Office Team headed by Eric delos Reyes, with wife Carina, together with Mark Tagalag, Jerry Tanigue, accompanied their guests -CFC Vancouver Family Ministries Head and CFC fulltimeworker trainee, Cesar Rodas, and lot donor Alexander Mejia to Cabanatuan City last June 14, 2011. The group arrived in the city in time for a sumptuous lunch of native cuisine namely chicharon python skin, crispy frog, frog in tamarind shoots, tilapia in fermented rice (buro), a very spicy “gising-gising” (a vegetable dish), buttered adobong duck and goat kaldereta. The exotic meal, new to the visitors’ tastebuds, was a symbolic way to start the day, and signified new initiatives to answer the cry of the needy in Nueva Ecija. In the afternoon, the team met with CFC Nueva Ecija leaders led by Pabling
Trinidad, Provincial Area Director, and newly appointed ANCOP Core Team (ACT) head, Boy Hernandez, at the CFC Cabanatuan Mission Center. Eric presented the ANCOP overview, focusing on its major programs and how to go about implementing
community development, education and livelihood programs. He emphasized the crucial role of CFC Nueva Ecija and its ANCOP ACT to support and form Project Implement-
ing Teams (PIT) in their identified ANCOP area, namely Brgy. Joson in Carranglan. Mark followed with his presentation on how to prepare a site for community development. An open forum followed, making the event more interactive and informative. It was emphasized that the local CFC’s involvement in the work to develop the donated land for the poor by Mr. Alex Mejia at Villa Mejia in Joson, Carangglan is crucial to the success of the project. The team, together with Mr. Alex Mejia and Rudy and Sonia Lubis, in charge of ANCOP Livelihood, then proceeded to Carranglan to for ocular inspection, inspite of the gathering darkness. Mr. Mejia showed the team the vastness of the subdivision and its advantages, in terms of gravel access road, electric posts and water. It was surmised that livelihood programs could easily be introduced, with the existing piggery structures. The site is also surrounded by public schools of all levels, elementary, high school and college.
Megumi / C5
take care of the welfare and concern of Filipino citizens, Solphie performed the task with a commitment and passion that goes far beyond doing a job. Solphie’s selfless act is a prime example of megumi. Dennis, the husband of Elma, initiated the collection of food and relief among CFC members for families of Filipinos or Japanese alike who were affected by the calamity. CFC members from safe and distant Osaka, Kobe and Nagoya opened their homes to the displaced families. From the viewpoint of CFC and Filipinos in Japan, helping the Japanese is the natural way of paying forward for the blessings they have experienced in their second
homeland. Megumi received begets megumi given. LESSONS LEARNED As the international media provided round the clock coverage of the tragedy and calamity in Japan, the world was struck by the magnitude of the destruction and loss of lives. The same world was amazed and awed by the unique behaviour and discipline of the Japanese people. There was no looting, no mobs, no disturbances. When asked for an explanation, the older Japanese simply invoked the word “Atarimae,” meaning it is natural or obvious. For the Japanese, it is natural not to loot or to take advantage of those who are
suffering. The permanent Filipino residents in Japan imbibed the same spirit and showed their genuine care for the Japanese by quietly doing acts of kindness and generosity. To those who have been touched, it is ‘atarimae,’ i.e. natural to help and to care. Goodness and kindness, as well as other blessings, freely received must just as well be freely shared. Times of hardships and difficulties are always the opportune time to pay forward and even pay back. For us CFC, this kind of spirit must also be “atarimae.” We are called, as Christ-followers, to be the Megumi to people in pain.
Vol. 15 No. 15
July 18 - 31, 2011
The 2011 CFC Eastern Conference By Judith Ladringan The weekend of July 8-10, 2011, was an extraordinary weekend. Many CFC brethren witnessed the highest degree and the greatest measure of God’s blessing to its fullness when they trooped to the BWI Marriott and Hilton Hotels in Baltimore for the 2011 Armor of God weekend retreat. For all the participants, it was a joy-filled weekend, amazing everyone from the creative components which featured Baltimore’s opening number “I Love Baltimore,” a dance musical represented by all ministries, to the CFC GOT TALENT which featured the individual talents and group presentations of the
different sectors and countries represented. The Banner Parade signaled the opening of this special event. Aside from the area delegates who paraded to cheers and chants, Puerto Rico and Belize participants got the biggest applause. Saturday
night’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ reminded us of one of TV’s favorite show. That night we witnessed the dancing prowess of brothers and sisters blessed with graceful ability to demonstrate the fun of dancing and again they all captivated our hearts.
And of course the substance of the weekend came from the beautiful talks delivered by great speakers who, acting as mouthpieces of the Lord, convicted everyone with the message they brought. This year’s message taken from Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God,, teaches us to hold firm to Christ’s teachings and commandments. As the talks reminded us, the Devil can attack us in many ways. We are not to run from the enemy, nor stand up to the attacks with our own strength; we are to stand in the strength of the Lord. Everyone was encouraged to put on God’s armor: the belt of Truth, the breastplate of Righteousness, the feet shod in Readiness, the shield of Faith, the helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.
KidsWatch: Fruit of the Holy Spirit! By Medy Deausen The recent CFC Eastern Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in July included an activity called KidsWatch, a time of fellowship, learning, and exploring; but above all, of strengthening the children’s knowledge and love of God and His teachings. KidsWatch was motivated, powered, and sustained by the Holy Spirit from inception to implementation. The carefully designed and supervised program that highlighted active pastoral involvement with the kids was an integral part of KidsWatch. The program consisted of a diverse set of activities that addressed various aspects of pastoral formation, such as:
* Physical – singing praise songs with action, performing exercises, taking a needed nap; * Mental and Emotional -coloring the armor of God cutout, answering questions, sharing at small group discussions, showcasing individual talents; * Spiritual – discussing the shield of faith, watching the stories of Fatima and Daniel and then discussing what was learned from them, making a rosary, and praying the rosary. The KidsWatch program provided many practical experiences for the kids that will hopefully motivate them to desire further spiritual learning and reflection. From the story of Fatima, the kids learned
about Mama Mary, the importance of the rosary, and how to kneel and fold their hands in prayer. Daniel’s story taught them about obedience and trust in God. In fact, one of the mothers shared with us how her daughter expressed a strong desire for their family to pray the rosary every day. For the many adult and youth volunteers, KidsWatch was an opportunity to develop the ability and heart to be “shepherds of souls” by responding to the kids’ varying needs. In the end, the kids developed a sense of trust for the volunteers and the program. One of the parents made this comment: “This was the first time that we were able to listen to all the powerful talks since our kids were thoroughly engrossed in KidsWatch.”
YCOM Weekend: REFRESH
By Kat Martin “What can creativity do?” This was the question posed to the participants of the 2nd YCOM Weekend, held last July 2-3, 2011 at Methodist Retreat Center in Rizal. The overnight training cum retreat for YCOM (YFC Communications) heads, members, and mission volunteers in Manila and nearby provinces such as Rizal and Batangas, was meant to empower YFC’s creative missionaries and prepare them for the many challenges that lay ahead of them this coming year. The theme for this year’s YCOM Weekend was taken from Romans 10:14 –“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” This passage served to inspire all of those present—attendees and service team members alike. On the first day of the two-day event, the 38 participants were welcomed by YCOM International head Madel Solijon as she gave the first session entitled “You are God’s
Masterpiece”. As she briefed the at- concluded with an activity wherein tendees on what to expect for the rest each group was assigned a specific of the event, she also shared how God YFC or CFC event. They were tasked cultivates the talents and passions in to come up with a creative proposal for the hearts of the youth today. She ex- the event and pitch it to the “judges.” plained that it is the task of every YCOM The importance of follow-through after member to live to promote Christ, to make ordinary things extraordinary, to creatively express God’s teachings, and to open their hearts and minds for the things that they can do for the Lord. The first session was followed by a workshop on “Ideas that Stick,” which was presented by YCOM Couple Coordinators Beverly and Jomari Badilla. Fr. Francis Lucas, in white at center, with YCOM weekend participants. Beverly presented the tried-and-tested formula for good the activities was stressed during the ideas: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, synthesis of the workshops. Credible, Emotional, and Story-driven On the evening of that same day, (SUCES), and emphasized that although two speakers from the recent 18th Increativity is a gift in itself, touching ternational Leaders’ Conference—Fr. lives and effecting change through it Francis Lucas and FTPW Raymond is even better. The first workshop was Ibarrientos—came to the venue to
give the second workshop and session, respectively. Fr. Francis discussed the crucial subject of “Evangelization through Social Media” and reminded all those present that the truth needs to be made emotionally engaging if it is to appeal to the hearts and minds of its audience. He emphasized the significance of penetrating media to promote the Word, especially in an age where Satan has also done the same. On the other hand, Raymond gave a talk on “Dwelling in God’s Presence” to help YCOM members experience God anytime, anywhere, especially since it is crucial for one to have a deep relationship with Christ before he/ she can bring others to Him. He also shared that a rich prayer life can be attained by first recognizing our realities, then being in God’s presence and allowing Him to be the Master of everything in our lives. The event resumed the following
day with a workshop on “Marketing Jesus,” given by YFC Mission Volunteer Kristine Rey, who explained the significance of applying the basic principles of marketing in promoting Jesus through YFC events and activities. She stressed the need to attract new “customers” and keep the current YFC’s in the process. The workshop ended with a group planning session for possible promotional campaigns for 100% Free and Greeneration, the end results of which were deemed fit for probability testing in various YFC areas. After the third workshop, YCOM Head Keith Janohan gave the last session. He explored the different definitions of “creativity” and how being a creative missionary meant using his creativity and talents to make Christ known to others. In the end, he emphasized that the value of creativity is still in putting Christ at the center of our lives, no matter what our endeavors. The YCOM weekend ended with a closing praisefest that further energized the participants, as they trooped to their service areas armed with new, creative tools for evangelization.
CFC Singapore Joins Global Recollection By Paulo Canlas IN line with the recently held Couples for Christ (CFC) 30th anniversary celebration, its Chairman at the time, Joe Tale, declared the 1st Saturday of June as the CFC Global Recollection
Day and encouraged the entire CFC global community to organize a half-day recollection to “dedicate our mission and community to Jesus journeying with Mary, the start of Evangelization and Mission.” Thus, last June 4, CFC Singapore members from
various ministries took time off from their usual Saturday afternoon routine to reflect and pray with the entire community at St. Peter’s Auditorium, CAEC. Dubbed as “The Pearl of Great Price,” the recollection kicked off with a powerful praise and
worship session led by Jonar Lusung, the newly installed CFC Chapter 3 Head. After that, Theodore Olsen, the Evangelization Head, read Joe’s memo affirming that despite the “storms” that the global community experienced, the Holy Spirit has always been with us to help us withstand all trials, move forward, and set our sights on a new target – our golden (50th) anniversary. The recollection had three talks delivered via a pre-recorded video of Msgr. Allen Aganon, the CFC Spiritual Director, followed by a recap by the three (3) CFC Chapter Heads – William Villaviray (C1), Gerry Falsado (C2), and Jonar Lusung (C3) and reflection questions after each talk. Talk #1: “God is the Seeker of the Pearl” related the Parable of the Pearl (Mt. 13:45-46) where the merchant is God – decisive to do everything for us to be with Him either via a sudden life-changing experience or even
a slow long process. Indeed, He’ll patiently wait for us till we respond to Him. Talk #2: “We are the Pearls” started with a video on how a pearl is created - interestingly, by an irritant being enveloped in concentric layers of calcium carbonate by an oyster. The speaker then highlighted that God allows “irritants” in our lives to mold us to be better disciples. Similarly, CFC is being transformed to be a better community to serve God
and church. Talk #3: “The Pearl Attitudes” gave a new meaning to PEARL: (P)ersonal covenant with Christ, (E)vangelization, (A)nawim, (R) esilience, and (L)ove. Hence, this should be our mantra as we move forward. The afternoon concluded with the entire community singing the new CFC anniversary song, “The Pearl of Great Price” and reciting of the CFC Pearl Anniversary Prayer.