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WEST A: STRONG AND FAITHFUL

THE Couples for Christ West A Sector celebrated its 25th year with the Lord by gathering as one family to listen to the empowering and inspiring message of the theme of the community for 2017 - Stand Firm in the Faith. The gathering was the echo of the Strong and Faithful weekend conference that brings home the message of the theme more fully. 


The venue of the conference, held last May 20 to 21, was the Diamond Grand Ballroom of Hotel Supreme in Baguio City.


The beautiful tradition of praying the rosary before the start of the day’s sessions was observed. The conference was formally opened by a spirited worship led by Frank Prieto. The underlying message of his exhortation was simple - surrendering all fears and anxieties to God and leaving all worries behind would lead to a peaceful weekend and a fruitful conference. 


Peter de la Cruz, West A Mission Support Head and his wife Beng, acted as conference hosts, welcoming the participants as a battalion of “soldiers” marched in cadence. Peter and Beng acknowledged that married couples face challenges but assured everyone that in spite of this, “We will have our spouses and families as our source of strength and support.”


Shok Ariola, International Council member and Family Ministries Director, took on the first session entitled “A New Springtime”. Ariola acknowledged that seasons are never constant and that as time passes, one often loses sight of the beauty and significance of spring. Using the acronym SPRING, Ariola spoke of the Sense of Wonder that allows Pride to rule, to Rely solely on one’s strength, thus hindering Intimacy with God, downplaying Newness and forgetting Gratefulness. Ariola stressed the importance of Jesus Christ in one’s life and emphasized that Jesus is loving and faithful yesterday, today and tomorrow despite our shortcomings and sinfulness. He challenged everyone to ponder on “Who is Jesus Christ to me at this point of my life?” 


Boyet Rafael, Missions Director for Luzon, handled the second session entitled “Keep Alert!” He discussed the marital issues that affect the relationship between husband and wife and gave tips on how to handle them. He also reminded the delegates to not let their guard down and to keep nurturing the relationship. Among the most important tips Rafael gave was the ability to ask for, and to grant forgiveness in order for peace to reign in the relationship. 


The third session came in the afternoon, after worship led by Boy Oronce. The session was given by Manny Garcia, International Council Member. Garcia likened this year’s CFC theme - Stand Firm in the Faith - to a sacred mantra that every member of the community should keep chanting. He reminded everyone that at times of weakness and suffering, one should stand firm in the faith and trust in God. 


Mike Bukuhan, Metro Manila Missions Director, gave the fourth session entitled “Be Strong. Be Courageous.” Bukuhan emphasized that God desires that we confide in Him especially in times of fears and anxieties. He invited everyone to have the courage to cross their own Jordan River and concluded the session with a verse taken from Luke 22:32 where Jesus assured Peter: “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail”. 


But the day was not over. The participants enjoyed a night of fellowship, highlighted by a program showcasing the singing and dancing talents of some of the sector members. 


Bobby Matienzo led the opening worship on day 2, after which Arnel Santos, Social Development Program Head, spoke of “Exuberant Love.”He reminded everyone that as a steadfast follower of Christ, every act we do should be done not just in love but in exuberant love. He urged the couples to share a euphoric love, a love that casts out fears, and keeps the flame of love truly burning bright.


His message was a fitting end to the weekend but an even more fitting end was the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and a truly exuberant praise fest.


The conference was a timely reminder that indeed, we must always be on guard, strong, and courageous. At this time of conflict and strife, standing firm in the faith is our only viable response. 

Added on Monday, June 05, 2017


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