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We blew and blew, but the flame of the two lighted candles on the cake during the CFC Vatican Office’s second anniversary could not be extinguished. (It was one of those special fireworks candles.) It was very symbolic- the significance and honor of having an office in the Vatican is, after all, a gift from the Holy Spirit and continues to be rekindled!


It has now been two years since we inaugurated the CFC Vatican Office on February 20, 2016. Our second anniversary celebration started with a Holy Mass at the nearby parish, San Gregorio VII Church, officiated by Fr. Greg Gaston, Rector of the Collegio Filipino in Rome, who also did the blessing at the inauguration. Fr. Nico Espinosa, Rector of the SVD Mother House in Rome, concelebrated. It was followed by a simple reception at the office. CFC members from Rome led by area leaders Alex and Julie Poyaoan attended the simple celebration. Among the guests were some leaders of the Filipino Chaplaincy in Rome.


Here’s a bit of trivia: Did you know that when an office in Rome was first offered by the Vatican in 2014, CFC decided not to take it? Then in 2015, CFC’s interest was rekindled and we hoped that the Vatican would reconsider the offer. Through the help of Cardinal George Pell, the property was made available to us again although another organization was interested in it by then. With the grace of God, the property became ours and on February 18, 2016, we signed an eight-year lease agreement from 2016 to 2024.


For all CFC members worldwide, the CFC Vatican Office is a source of great joy and thanksgiving. It is a concrete expression of our being “one with the Catholic Church” and “a global community”. Many CFC members have visited the office, from as far away as Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Sabah, and they were all unanimous in expressing how blessed we are to have such an office. 


From our experience of the past two years, communication with the Vatican Curia has been much closer and easier. We now receive emails and letters directly from the Vatican. Our letters seem to get attention and obtain quicker response when the CFC Letterhead has the address “Via del Cottolengo 19, Roma”.


Also, I have realized that enormous potentials exist to expand our ministries through the Vatican dicasteries. Now the Vatican knows more deeply about our very active ministries for the young— kids, youth, singles. This is important because the next Synod of Bishops, in October, 2018, will deal mainly with the young! Another example: they are learning only now that CFC has a ministry for widows and divorced/separated women, a vulnerable group Pope Francis himself said should be given special attention and care.

We have expressed to the Vatican our ability and willingness to be part of any resource or working groups ministering to these types of people, among others. CFC’s presence in Rome also allows us to partner with various religious congregations who are required by the Vatican to locate their global headquarters in Rome.


For example, since early 2017, we have been working with the SVD Curia in Rome to expand our evangelization work to more countries in Africa and South America where the SVD has numerous parishes. We have also been partnering with the Filipino Chaplaincy in Rome to increase our evangelization in the area, which effort can also be initiated (if not yet done) in the various Filipino chaplaincies in Europe. 

As part of the original plan, making the CFC Vatican Office the CFC Europe Continental Missions Office is now being earnestly implemented. This will enhance CFC’s work of evangelization and mission in Europe and beyond.


All in all, I believe CFC has made significant breakthroughs in our relationship building with the Vatican through the CFC Vatican Office, and opportunities abound in using this office to enhance and expand our evangelization not only in Europe but throughout the world. Let us therefore rekindle and love this special gift! (Nick Borja)

Added on Monday, March 12, 2018


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