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Families told: ‘You are God’s Obra Maestra’
Monday, July 3, 2017

Obra Maestra resource persons, from left: His Excellency Arbishop Gilbert Grarcera of the Archdiocese of Lipa; Rouquel Ponte, Director or Pastoral Formation of CFC; Fr. Joel Jason; Damon Clarke Owens

 

 

ONE OF the highlights of the 36th anniversary celebration of Couples for Christ was the Marriage and Family Conference.


The conference, with the theme ‘Obra Maestra: Upholding the Family Through the Way of Beauty’, was held last June 18, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. The date was also Fathers’ Day, a fitting coincidence for an activity aimed at celebrating motherhood, fatherhood and family.


Attended by almost 2,000 participants, mostly from CFC but with the participation of some lay organizations, the conference was intended as a venue to reflect on the current issues and concerns affecting the families of today. One of its major goals is to arm families to be able to live out the truth of God’s plan for marriages and families and to protect and defend them against the threatening forces by upholding the beauty of marriage and the family.


The conference format featured various talks on the issues and concerns as well as workshops that allowed the participating communities and participants to gather and impart insights and lessons.


The conference invited internationally-known speaker Damon Owens, Executive Director of the Theology of the Body Institute, to speak on two important topics, namely: ‘God’s Plan for Marriage and Family through the Lens of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body’ and ‘The Way of Beauty in Restoring God’s Plan for Marriage and Family: Some Proposed Approaches’.


The Theology of the Body Institute has as its mission “to educate and train men and women to understand, live and promote the Theology of the Body.” Owens is the founder of Joy-Filled Marriage, NJ and the New Jersey Natural Family Planning Association, non-profit organizations dedicated to building a marriage culture through training, seminars and conferences.


Owens spoke of agape love as “that unconditional love.. that doesn't say, 'This is something of me.' With agape love, you become the gift. You give and receive as a gift. And in our Christian purification, this is really how we Christians understand everything in the world.”


In addition, he said, “You can't fake it... Agape love must be freely given and received. It's not just an emotion that comes and goes. It's not based on the weather. It's not based on circumstance. It's a pledge of a love that will last.”


Addressing the families, Owens exhorted, “My dear families, set the world on fire by being who you are and by being who you are called to be.”


Fr. Joel O Jason, Commissioner of Family and Life of the Archdiocese of Manila, gave one of the plenary sessions entitled ‘Threats Against the Family and Hope and Redemption through the Theology of the Body’. Fr. Joel reminded the participants of their gift and mission as families who are portraits of God in this world, saying: “The communion of the family is the mirror on earth, the communion of the family is the sacrament on earth, the communion of the family is the portrait on earth of the communion of Trinity.” He pointed out that every family is God’s ‘Obra Maestra’ because we are made in His image and likeness.


Obra Maestra was indeed a beautiful celebration of Fathers’ Day, a different way of enriching the lives of families through the life-lessons and insights they gained and which they may now use in living out their mission as families imbued with the love and mission of Christ. (Yvonne Dolorosa)




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