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Parejas Para Cristo: Mantenganse en la Fe
Friday, August 4, 2017

THE SECOND South America Parejas Para Cristo (Couples for Christ) weekend retreat took off with the banner parade opening night on Friday, July 7, 2017, in Barbosa Santander, Colombia.

Flag bearers marched carrying the various banners representing the 11 PPC areas of Colombia, the countries of Peru, Ecuador, the Philippines and USA. Fr. Miguel Velasco Parada, Pastor of Parroquia San Luis Gonzaga, was the main celebrant in the opening Mass.

The Strong and Faithful Weekend is an echo of the conference held in Manila in January 2017. About 560 attended the conference. Close to half were non-CFC who responded to the invitations sent to nearby parishes and through the radio/ TV campaigns.

PPC members came in car pools driving for 3, 8 and 15 hours to get to the venue. Those who took public buses traveled for 54 hours, mostly the CFC PPC Ecuador delegates, who had to cross the Ecuador/ Colombia border. Peru and USA delegates came by plane to the capital Bogota airport, and travelled by land for three hours to the venue up north. Traveling together with the delegates were nine sacerdotes (priests) and one deacon, all equally excited to Stand Firm in the Faith, or "Mantenganse en la Fe".

On Saturday morning, the recitation of the Holy Rosary preceded the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with Bishop Emeritus Jorge Leonardo Gomez celebrating, joined by the priests and deacon attending.

Former CFC Chairman Joe Tale, with his spouse Babylou, were among the speakers and sharers with Joe delivering his talk in Spanish.

Vivacity was in the air throughout the day, mixed with music, mini fellowship during meal breaks and the energetic intermissions by the gifted Master of Ceremonies Jorge Betancur (CFC PPC USA originally from Colombia).

USA delegates listened to the inspiring talks and testimonies with the help of Esther Prexl (PPC USA and Mission Head to Ecuador) translating the entire proceedings to English.

This breakthrough sets no limits for future conferences to be attended by CFC USA and the world. Closing the day were festive cultural presentations by the delegates, making it one huge family in celebration of God's presence. Colombians absolutely know how to party.

Sunday's Mass was presided by Fr. Rober Martinez, CFC PPC Spiritual Adviser of Peru, who expressed his appreciation to CFC for enhancing his vocation and priestly ministry. Morning worship followed, animated by Fr. Fabio Echeverri. USA's Mission Head to Colombia Yamile Rangel (CFC PPC USA), who prayed so hard for a successful conference, shared that her prayers were heard as evidenced by the formation of the conference committees, and the participants who packed the venue to almost maximum capacity.

The conference happenings spread across town and CFC PPC was invited Monday to two local radio stations for interview.

Missionaries from the Philippines Errol and Miggie Martinez were also invited to guest live on TV for an interview on Tuesday, July 11. The general message of the interviews: “God called His people, and they heard His voice.”

Indeed, the fire of the Holy Spirit is spreading in South America as CFC PPC marches onward to Ecuador in 2018! For Dios es bueno! (God is good!) (Glen Santayana)



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