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CFC Metro Manila began 2018 raring and eager to fulfill the mandate the Lord has set for the community for the year – to “Rekindle the Gift. Fulfill Your Ministry.”

First Fruits Offering 

On the first Sunday of January, the Mission Core of Metro Manila gathered at the St. Paul Pasig auditorium for the year’s first Mission Core Gathering (MCG) which, as has been traditionally observed over the years, is also the occasion for leaders to present their First Fruits Offering. The First Fruits Offering, which has biblical basis, is where leaders present their symbolic gift to the Lord as thanksgiving for the blessings of the previous year. This symbolic offering, which is replicated in all CFC and ministry chapters worldwide, becomes the seed fund for the missions of CFC, not just locally but globally.

Leaders Conference

The following weekend, on January 13, 2018, 13,000 leaders from Metro Manila, the provinces and abroad flocked to the SM Mall of Asia Arena for the Rekindle Conference. This activity is where the leaders and members are given their marching orders, so to speak. The conference was kicked off by Holy Mass celebrated by Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, concelebrated by CFC Spiritual Director Msgr. Allen Aganon, Fr. Joel Jason, Fr. Carlos Macatanga from Canada, Fr. Marco Coloma from Ecuador, and Fr. Rober Martinez of Peru. 

There were two talks during this conference —“Rekindle the Gift” given by Michael Ariola, CFC President and “Fulfill Your Ministry” given by CFC Chairman Ermelo Villaroman, Jr. Ariola spoke of the gift of light, the representation of the Holy Spirit, that was poured out on the community 37 years ago and bestowed on each and every member during the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. He exhorted everyone to pass on this gift to others.

Villaroman’s talk was more directional as he spoke of the great responsibility that rests on each leader’s shoulders as modern-day apostles. He urged everyone to keep the light alive by preparing the next generation of leaders and to indeed charge forth to be a light to all nations. 

Solemn Charge Weekend

On the weekend of January 19 to 21, the Metro Manila Mission Core, joined by delegates from the provinces and abroad, motored to Baguio City for the Solemn Charge Weekend Retreat. The retreat was held at the CAP Convention Center in Camp John Hay.But first it was time to party. After the Friday evening Mass, the delegates were treated to an evening of songs as the different sectors took turns at center stage. Robert Labayen, Sector Head for MM South A, opened the night with worship, inviting everyone to appreciate CFC as one family, one community, and one tribe. 

Creatively, the handle of the fellowship was ‘Tribu de Cristo’ or Tribe of Christ. Emcees for the fellowship night were Edralin and Rosan Callueng of South A. Thedelegates came in their boho costumes. The following were given special citations: Best dressed for the female category was Ditas Garcia while Jun Santiago received the award for the male category. Boyet and Precy Ditangco were adjudged the best dressed couple. The following day, Saturday, it was time for quiet reflection.


The Saturday activity began with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided by Bishop Wenceslao Padilla of Mongolia, and concelebrated by some of the priests present at the leaders conference. It was a fitting reminder that the next two days would indeed be a holy retreat, a time for reflection and for renewing commitment to the mission. 

The first talk, given by Ricky Cuenca, was entitled “The Gift Within Us”. Its core message revolved around the gift given to each of us through the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism, which in turn opened up for each one the door to the spiritual life. 

But the gift does not remain within. Because the recipient is himself a gift, he must give himself to others. Our response to the gift is to give thanks to the giver of the gift, God Himself. Because of His bestowal of the gift of faith, we have all been led to a life of holiness.

The second session was “Called and Chosen” given by James Solano. Solano explained that a Christian’s first calling is intimacy with Christ. This intimacy opens each person to the gifts available to him, and enables him to strive not only for personal holiness, but more for building up of the body of Christ, the Church, and community.

Solano said, “As CFC leaders, we received gifts appropriate to perform what is required for God’s purpose. He bestowed on us a gift that is perfectly for us so we can serve Him.” 

Being called and chosen means each CFC member has the mandate to sustain the mission to ensure that the mission will not end with the next generation. Solano used the example of the mentor-mentee relationship between the apostle Paul and the young Timothy.

“Regardless of age, we have to set a good example and witness to our members. Let us be salt and light to them,” Solano emphasized, reminding the Mission Core that as leaders, they are to be the walking billboards of God’s goodness and righteousness. 

“When we discover the fire of our passion, recall the times when we were passionate. Don’t let your passion cool down. Associate with people who have passion.”

In Session 2 titled “Proclaim the Word” Reggie Ragojos emphasized that evangelization is passion. But this passion will only grow brighter if it is shared with others. Ragojos added, “If you are passionate, let others know of your passion.”

Ragojos continued, “In order to continue to proclaim amidst the challenges, one should continue to be witnesses to the Word. We can do this by being a good Christian, by proclaiming God’s goodness by our actions, inside and especially outside the community.”

Ragojos underlined that no matter how difficult the mission becomes, one should continue to serve, whether it is convenient or inconvenient. He mentioned three things that everyone needs to rekindle:

Rekindle the love for God. Ragojos asked the Mission Core to take a step back and recall the time when they first felt loved by God. “Our love for God ought to be like this: We cannot stop talking about God to others. If we are in love with God, He’s much more in love with us.”

Rekindle the ‘What’. According to Ragojos, CFC proclaims the beauty of faith through community. He said, “The beauty of our community comes from our household where we love and care for one another.”

Rekindle the ‘How’. “We proclaim with joy— this is our ‘how’,” Ragojos explained. He added, “When you walk with the Lord, it is not always easy, we encounterchallenges in our relationships, we hear complaints. And maybe, all these make us tired but let us not allow the devil to take away our joy. Christian joy is not simply a pursuit of an emotional satisfac-tion, but it is a profound joy born out of serving others.”

The next session — Put Up with Hardships - given by Joe Yamamoto, expounded on the difficulties every missionary must face in trying to proclaim to Word to all, including distractions coming from community leaders themselves. 

Yamamoto cautioned: “Do not be distracted by the imperfections of your leaders. Focus on Christ and you will never fail.” “Nobody can be perfect in our community,” he added. “When things aren’t working out, be patient. God’s timing is perfect. Trust Him.” 

He added, “Being members of Couples for Christ does not exempt us from challenges and trials. As an individual and even as a community, we have our own set of what we call ‘hardships’. “It’s not going to be easy all the time. But God reminds us to have a mindset and heart set for us to be ready to put up with these hardships.”

The session, actually a refresher on leadership, provided a few pointers for leaders, all of them culled from the example of the apostle Paul who underwent many hardships but endured every suffering, confident that God will give him the strength to go on.Yamamoto encouraged everyone: “The pain and suffering might be difficult to comprehend, much less accept, but in the end, with God’s grace, that sacrifice will be meaningful to each one of us and becomes bearable because we are beginning to understand. And when we understand, we know that we are not far from the face of Christ.”

The session ended with a pray over ceremony of the ‘Timothy Generation’ or the next generation of the CFC leaders, symbolizing the preparation of the front liners in the battlefield. 

In the fifth session on Sunday morning, Arnel Santos reminded the participants that “The journey continues – newness itself must be renewed. May it be in our lives as an individual, in our families or in the Church.”

He told the CFC leaders, particularly the young couples whom he called the ‘Timothys’ of CFC, “The call is to journey some more.” 

Aside from this, he reminded everyone of the best charism, which is to make love every CFC’s aim. “Let us pray to the Lord that His journey may happen in every minute of our lives. We just have to remember what is written in 1 Peter 4:10: “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s given gifts,”Santos added.

He concluded, “The charge for us is to fulfill our ministry, not to forfeit, forgo nor forsake it.” The session ended with the Solemn Charge rites, with Santos reciting the Solemn Charge for the mission core, citing the annual themes as clear directives from the Lord to CFC. 

Santos concluded, “Rekindle in us our love for the Blessed Mother who journeyed to teach us how best to proclaim the greatness of the Lord,how best to obey and witnessand how best to behold and ponder. He then charged us:love more! rejoice, pray and give thanks! stand firm in the faith! Today, as He has promised we rekindle And by grace, journey to fulfill our ministry.”

Responding to the solemn charge, the Metro Manila Sector Heads led the assembly to proclaim the new Mission Core Covenant, taking to heart “this deeper commitment to CFC’s vision and mission, dedicating myself to the Lord, to my family and my life and service in CFC.” 

It was a full calendar to begin the year, yet very much rewarding, as the passion to serve the Lord and each other was reignited and reawakened.(CFC Global Communications)

Added on Monday, February 5, 2018



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