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CFCMeets New Vatican Undersecretaries

It WASa refreshing sight: four women, a priest and one layman in an official meeting in the Vatican Curia. Two lay women—wives and mothers— are the new Undersecretaries in the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, and they met with Nick and Norma Borja, CFC Vatican Relations Coordinators, on April 9, 2018. 


Linda Ghisoni, Undersecretary for Laity, and Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary for Life, were accompanied by Grazia Villani of the Dicastery’s Women’s Office, and Fr. Giovanni Buontempo, in charge of Ecclesial Movements. Pope Francis is surely sending a strong signal in enhancing the role of the laity, especially women, in the life of the Church. Just to highlight how significant this change is, Ms. Ghisoni technically took over from the position formerly occupied by Bishop Josef Clemens!


After they officially took office last November 1, 2017, the two ladies were quoted, saying:“The fact of being a laywoman, wife, and mother, aroused surprise and curiosity in some people who approached me in various ways after the publication of the nomination.”~Linda Ghisoni, Undersecretary for the Laity


“As a woman and mother of a large family, I see the ‘sign’ of a real mission at the service of the universal Church, aimed at pro-tecting and above all promoting an authentic ‘culture of life and for human life,’ from conception to natural death.”~Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary for Life


It was the first meeting of Couples for Christ with these Vatican officials so the CFC representatives explained in detail the ministries, programs and global presence of Couples for Christ. Discussions also focused on the CFC Handmaids of the Lord, a ministry catering to what Pope Francis calls a “vulnerable group” of women, widows, separated/divorced women, mature single women, or wives living away from their husbands. The Borjas likewise reported on CFC’s global presence: over 700,000 members (98,000 outside the Philippines), present in six continents and in 128 countries and territories. 

Nick and Norma Borja were also happy to report that Couples for Christ conducts its evangelization programs for the older ministries mainly in English, but in other countries CFC has been able to translate the materials to Spanish, French, Mandarin and Cantonese. However, for the youth, the language of teaching is the local language since the youth leaders have mostly been born or raised in the local culture. Everyone agreed there is a need to translate the program and materials of Couples for Christ to enable it to be shared with others.


The Vatican officials asked if the community’s Youth Program can be held as a parish activity. CFC confirmed it has been doing this in other countries, adjusting the program as needed. Asked about its teaching capability, CFC said initially it goes outside to Catholic institutes and resources to provide training to its people. At the end of the meeting, the Vatican officials expressed gratitude for the opportunity to know more about the Couples for Christ ministries and programs, and thatit is the intention of the dicasteries to use the best practices of ecclesial movements such as CFC and share it with others. For their part, the Couples for Christ representatives pledged to offer their services and support to the dicasteries anytime and anywhere in the world. (Nick Borja)

Added on Monday, May 7, 2018


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