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The CFC Mission Symposium
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Enriching what Personal Holiness, Building the Church of the Home, and Building the Church of the Poor means for Couples For Christ

This was the tagline of the first ever Mission Symposium of Couples for Christ, statements meant to define and clarify what these elements of our mission mean for us as individuals and as a community.

The symposium, held on June 18, 2015 at the SMX Mall of Asia, featured concise and substantial 20-minute talks by three speakers—Jun Uriarte, Chairman of the Couples for Christ Institute; Rouquel Ponte, Head of CFC’s Church Integration Office; and Arnel Santos, Head of CFC’s Pastoral Formation Office.

Organized by the Couples for Christ Institute* (CFC-I), the goal of the symposium was to present three (3) papers that will define the three mission elements of CFC: Holiness, Home, and Poor. Thus, the topics were on Personal Holiness, delivered by Jun Uriarte, Church of the Home, by Rouquel Ponte and Church of the Poor, by Arnel Santos.

One of the highlights of the working document on Personal Holiness was a proposal of seven elements that characterize a member’s quest for personal holiness: a life of prayer; frequent partaking of sacraments; listening and reflecting on Scriptures; proclaiming the Word of God; actively serving others; supporting the family in faithful love; and observing the primacy of grace. Jun Uriarte, Chairman of the CFC Institute, shared during this talk that “The vocation to holiness . . . is the perfection of charity (St. Pope John Paul II).”

In the paper on Church of the Home accentuated the message of being true witnesses. Rouquel Ponte, with decades of CFC leadership experience behind him, affirmed the community in its identity as Family Evangelizers and stressed that “the Church of the Home remains the one place where children and young people can receive an authentic catechesis (Familiaris Consortio).“ Ponte added that “In their daily life, at work, in school, in leisure, whenever and wherever, with hearts burning with zeal for Christ, every member of the family evangelizes. In their personal witness and when asked about the reason for their joy, their words proclaim Jesus and the Gospel of salvation.”

The document on the Church of the Poor underscored the Beatitudes: “Being the Church of the poor means that she will speak the language of the Beatitudes to all people, to all groups or professions, to all ideologies, to all political and economic systems (John Paul II).” Arnel Santos emphasized that “’Destitution… is not the same as poverty: destitution is poverty without faith, without support, without hope (Pope Francis)” and that “Building the Church of the Poor means a church which ‘shows special love, a love of preference for the poor (PCP II).’”

After the plenary session opened by CFC Executive Director George Campos and the presentation of the three working documents, the participants were divided into three break-out workshop groups facilitated by Kirby Llaban, Bernie Cuevas, and Leah Custodio of the CFC-I. Four (4) reactors were assigned to each of the workshop topics (12 in all). The panel of reactors, deeply rooted CFC leaders from Metro Manila, the Philippine provinces, and the international areas, shared their personal insights to enrich the working documents.

For the workshop on Personal Holiness, the reactors were Art Valdellon, Senen Reyes, Hermie Vargas and Nina Ponte. Joy Katigbak, Neil Balite, Vic Alvarez and Nic Escalona shared their thoughts with the group on Building the Church of the Home while Rod Bustos, Eric de los Reyes, Indette Gaspillo, and Joe Yamamoto were the reactors for Building the Church of the Poor. After the breakout sessions, the workshop participants engaged in lively discussion through an open forum. Many articulated helpful ideas in the light of their own backgrounds to enhance the papers.

The outputs of the Mission Symposium will eventually result in the publication of three books on the mentioned topics that will guide the community into a deeper understanding of the Lord’s mission for CFC.

In the closing session, CFC Chairman Joe Tale challenged the CFC-I to “laymanize” and globalize the documents in order to serve the general membership and non-Filipino communities. He also said that while others may become impatient with the process of defining our own mission when there is much work to be done, it is important to take time to introspect on the nature and principles of what CFC is doing. In the same way, he said that CFC shouldn’t be paralyzed in doing the mission—to continue moving forward—as the community develops the self-understanding of CFC’s mission elements.

These three documents, in the spirit of Instrumentum Laboris or a Working Document, will undergo a communitywide review and feedback through the CFC leaders. (Kirby S. Llaban)

*The CFC Institute (CFC-I) is a subsidiary of Couples for Christ with a vision of becoming “The leading Institution on dynamic Catholic learning, forming the heart and educating the mind at the service of CFC, Church, and Society.”



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