LEADERS OF Couples for Christ gathered for the CFC Global Leaders Planning (GLP) of the community from October 26 to 28, 2023. The planning activity, traditionally begun by the highest tier of leadership and cascaded down through the ranks, is designed to ensure that the community will faithfully implement the pastoral fundamentals and the imperatives handed down by the CFC International Council at the end of every year.
The planning activity, held at the Microtel in Pasay City, was anchored on the community’s theme for 2024 — Be a Servant and a Light to the Nations, taken from Isaiah 49:6. The guiding document for the three-day activity was the 2024 IC Imperatives that directed the focus and direction of the GLP.
What differentiated this year’s planning activity from previous planning sessions was the “synodal consultation” approach among the top CFC leaders (Mission Heads and Regional Heads and Regional Coordinators).
The exhortation that served as the guiding verse for the weekend planning came from Luke 14:28-30 — “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” The verse was a timely reminder of the importance of planning in the life and mission of CFC.
The 2024 imperatives reiterated the 2023 imperatives, with refined mission objectives driving the accountability of all leaders (especially of EA members and Country Coordinators) on the faithful implementation of pastoral fundamentals and the IC imperatives. The synodal consultation was done even prior to the GLP by Mission Heads, Regional Heads and Coordinators from the nine (9) mission geographies, as well as the Family Ministries and Social Development Programs.
This year’s GLP aimed to achieve two major objectives: 1. For each mission area geography to present their current status and plans for 2024 to the International Council for encouragement and support, and 2. For all leaders to learn new and revitalized initiatives about relevant issues on governance, pastoral directives, and evangelization strategies through sharing of best practices.
The planning and the imperatives discussed are still directed towards the achievement of the goals of the 5-year development plan of CFC called the Mission Commitment Plan (MCP) that will culminate in 2025. The MCP has continued to be the guideline for the evangelization growth of the community, notwithstanding the effects of the pandemic.
The 3-day planning started with a Mass presided over by CFC Spiritual Director Fr Joel Jason, to set the spiritual tone of the entire exercise. A fun fellowship with games followed that energized the leader participants who were then divided into groups that afforded them the opportunity to get to know the other attendees. This atmosphere of joy and excitement of working together characterized the days that followed.
The new planning format, which did away with individual mission geography presentations and instead saw two former IC members — George Campos and Jimmy Ilagan — presenting the consolidated reports from all the areas, was appreciated by the leaders who not only listened but also participated actively, especially in the presentations of the new initiatives/ strategies.
The last day was characterized by a prayerful and symbolic activity called “Bringing Christ’s Light through Couples for Christ.” Led by the International Council, it expressed the servant heart and commitment of the leaders to spread the light of Christ to all the nations in the world.
Each leader lighted a candle that illuminated one part of the world map. After all the leaders had lighted their candles, the whole world map was illuminated by the light of Christ.
The leaders then recited the prayer of commitment, a solemn and moving experience that captured the hearts, cemented the commitment, and inspired all the leaders. It was a fitting end to the GLP, a perfect preparation for the next stage of the planning, the various planning activities that will be echoed throughout the world.
All the plans presented were lifted up to the Lord in prayer as everyone joyfully praised and worshipped the Lord at the closing praise fest.
Proverbs 19:21 says it best: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Bernadette F. Cuevas)