Couples for Christ Camarines Norte celebrated the 32nd year of its founding in the province last August 26, 2023 with the theme “Revive and Recharge”. The activity was hosted by the Diocese of Daet and featured many activities that involved the diocesan clergy.
This is only the second face-to-face celebration since the pandemic that began in 2019 but this year was and the excitement of the brethren was obvious. It is also the first time that the clergy took a very active part in the anniversary celebrations.
The celebration was joyous, mainly because of what some called the “breaking down of the wall” between CFC and the parish. In the early years of CFC Cam Norte, many priests had the misimpression that CFC was a hindrance to their mission. On the other hand, CFC felt that the clergy did not fully appreciate its role as a partner in the mission to build the Church of the Home and the Church of the Poor.
A week before the anniversary celebration, CFC CamNorte sponsored a sports event between the priests and the three clusters of the CFC in the province. Four teams played basketball while two teams played tennis. Fellowship followed after the friendship game. His Excellency Bishop Rex Alarcon, D.D., gave the opening remarks during which he emphasized the importance of religious groups like the CFC in pursuing the mission of the church, especially in reaching out to the parishioners. He acknowledged that all the pillars of CFC: Evangelization and Mission, Pastoral Formation, Family Ministry, Answering the Cry of the Poor, and Mission support are undeniably a work of God anointing CFC members to help realize the Church’s mission.
Bishop Rex was the guest speaker at the Family is a Gift conference held during the 42nd anniversary week celebration of CFC in Manila last June.
The priests and the CFC members enjoyed the night, participating in the games and listening and jamming with a live band. Food was plentiful, provided by some CFC members in the diocese. Almost all parishes in the province were represented in the activity by their parish priests. Also in attendance were the missionary priests of the Adorno Fathers headed by Father Rufino Madredejos who was once a leader of the Youth for Christ in the province. The activity was so successful everyone agreed that this clergy night would be one of the annual events of CFC Camarines Norte to ensure greater collaboration between CFC and the diocese and so that CFC’s mission remains aligned with the Church’s mission. As a result of the night’s activity, two seminaries, the Holy Trinity Minor Seminary and the Adorno Fathers, expressed willingness to open their gates for CFC activities.
The 32nd anniversary celebration was formally opened with the welcome message from the head of the host Chapter Doming Guinto, followed by the anniversary message of Arnold Unidad, Provincial Area Head. The LGU, represented by Municipal Councilor Ronnel Laguador, also welcomed the brethren. As per tradition, the activity began with opening worship by Rodel Ordiales, Singles for Christ Provincial Coordinator. Nonoy and Nina Caunga, CFC Regional Area Head for Bicol, virtually extended their message of congratulations and support.
Arnel Santos, Executive Director of CFC, delivered the keynote message, reminding all those present of CFC’s vision — to be families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth. He exhorted everyone to work in unity with the Church in pursuing our mission.
The culminating activity on August 26 was the Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Rex Alarcon. In his homily, Bishop Rex emphasized three lessons that missionaries should understand.
“First, do not seek success but fidelity,” Bishop Rex shared. He added, “Second, always think of love even in times of difficulty, and third, mission work is all in the name of Jesus.”
At the end of the Mass, CFC Cam Norte leader Erwin Lausin thanked Bishop Rex for his help in getting approval of the visas of the CFC full-time pastoral workers who participated in the recently concluded World Youth Day.
This year’s anniversary featured something different from previous anniversaries — the concluding praise fest was led not by a CFC leader but by Rev. Father Rufino Madredejos, Jr., CRM, the Administrator of Adorno Fathers in the province of Camarines Norte. His exhortation was inspiring, as he shared being aided greatly in his decision to enter the priesthood by his own family’s spiritual journey via membership in Couples for Christ and his experience as a member of Youth for Christ.
After all the experiences with the Lord in the anniversary celebration, we can proudly say that CFC Camarines Norte is now revived and recharged. (T. L. Licarte)