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CFC Sets Directions for 2016
Saturday, February 6, 2016

Couples for Christ leaders from all over the Philippines and various parts of the world gathered at the Mall of Asia Arena last January 9, 2016 for the annual Leaders Conference. The conference was an occasion to hear the community’s directions for the year, anchored on the theme for 2016 – Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks. – from Philippians 4:4-7.


Rejoice.

George Campos, CFC President, began by expounding on the meaning and elements of “Rejoice.” Saying that being joyful appears to be offensive in this age and time, when we are bombarded daily with bad news, when injustice prevails and when evil appears to triumph, he countered this statement by stating that the source of our rejoicing is God. The knowledge that He loves us and that Jesus rose from the dead to ensure our salvation is sufficient to keep us in a spirit of rejoicing.


Campos emphasized that joy is a gift of the Spirit, but it “depends on one’s intimate relationship with God.” He also shared that “to rejoice is not an option but a command.”


This command demands that our joy be continuous, that we rejoice even in tough and difficult times and that we should manifest our joy through acts of kindness. As a joyful people of God, our only response to God’s command is to “proclaim the joy of the Gospel.”


Citing the example of St. Paul, who rejoiced even as he faced a death sentence, he opined that St. Paul’s joy stemmed from the fact that he never lifted his gaze from God and thus he continually drew strength from that deep relationship.


Pray.

In the second talk, Rouquel Ponte spoke of how we can Pray. He cited Jesus as our model of prayer because all his life, he was in constant communion of love with the Father.


He also cited Mary’s Canticle of Faith, prayer “characterized by her generous faith offering” and her “offering of her whole being” to God. Emphasizing that our CFC covenant is focused on prayer and Scripture, Ponte said “Constant prayer should be in our spiritual DNA.”


He gave several levels of prayer – vocal prayer, meditation (or prayerful reflection) and contemplation (“a simple gaze upon God in silence and love”). He also stated that the Christian family is the first place where children are educated in prayer and that “Real families pray together.”


To end his talk, Ponte exhorted everyone to reflect on the following: “As leaders, are we truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God’s presence, to listen to God’s voice, to look at God’s beauty, to touch God’s Incarnate Word and to taste fully God’s infinite goodness?”


Give Thanks.

CFC Chairman Joe Tale rounded up the afternoon with the third talk on “Give Thanks.” He spoke of an “attitude of gratitude”, which is a state of being always in a state of rejoicing. However, he cautioned that “Our thanksgiving should not only be through words but by the action we take.”


This attitude of gratitude is what would propel the community to fulfill its directions for 2016. According to Tale, these directions can be summed up in two phrases – “Strengthen our Core” and “Expand our Reach.”


In order to strengthen our core, Tale enumerated three directions: to grow in holiness, to develop leaders who will be true shepherds and to protect and nurture our homefront.


He also announced some programs/ activities designed to help the community achieve its goal of strengthening the core. Among them are: the first-ever Pastoral Formation Office International Conference in April; the publication of a CFC Family Handbook; the publication of Christian Life Program talks as powerpoint presentations in different dialects and even languages; the use of movie showings to augment/enhance teaching nights; the publication of household topic guides and chapter prayer assembly exhortations.


He also announced the adoption by the community of programs designed for the very young CFC couples and the senior members of community. In February 2016, CFC will also hold “Marriage is Beautiful,” a time to honor those within community who help promote the sanctity and beauty of marriage – those who have been married for a very long time and the young who, despite what society advocates and accepts, still choose matrimony and the lifelong commitment it entails.


As far as expanding our reach is concerned, Tale announced the intensification of evangelization through existing programs like Cornerstone, the Migrants Program, the work with the poor in ANCOP and with our men in uniform in the Order of St. Michael (OSM). He also announced that CFC will make extensive use of media in order to bring God’s Word to more people.


Joe Tale exhorted everyone to embrace the community’s prophetic role, not just in the area of spirituality but also in our care for the environment.


His closing exhortation was for everyone to “Become a sign and instrument in the world of the presence of Christ.”


The conference was fittingly ushered in by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President. (Zenaida Gimenez)



Photos during the CFC Leaders Conference courtesy of Caloy Rubio, Jerry Tanigue, Art del Rio, Jay Umali and Romy Medina.




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