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SFC AT 25: REJOICING IN GOD’S RELENTLESS LOVE!
Monday, March 12, 2018

7, 000 young people gathered to celebrate 25 years of God's faithfulness to the ministry of CFC Singles for Christ during the International Conference held from February 16-18 at the Globe Circuit Event Grounds, Makati City, Philippines. The conference theme was 'Relentless', inspired by 2 Timothy 1:6. 

 

The Most. Rev. Francisco De Leon, bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo, was the main Mass celebrant on Day 1, with Fr. Jeff Rosales and Fr. Armando Orido concelebrating. Bishop de Leon challenged the delegates— coming from Metro Manila, the different provinces of the Philip-pines, and from 28 countries— to fast not only from what they eat but also from what goes out from their mouths. 

 

The prelate said, “Say yes to the words that encourage and heal. Say yes to Jesus,” he added.The conference officially opened with messages from Metro Manila Missions Director Mike Bukuhan, Family Ministries Director Lawrence Quintero and SFC International Coordinator Noli Manuel.


Rekindle!

 

CFC President Shok Ariola, former International Coordinator for SFC, invited the delegates to look back at the past 25 years with fondness, remembering all the blessings, challenges, lessons and even hurts; to honor the people who have touched each one’s life and made an impact through their witnessing while in the ministry, and to be grateful for these are gifts from the Lord. 


Ariola exhorted, “If you are asked to remember your journey as Singles for Christ, do not forget the following: first, that God loves you.; second, that we are disciples of Jesus Christ; third, remember repentance; fourth, remember the power of the Holy Spirit that is made available for all of us; and lastly, remember that God has sent us tools in the form of community, prayer, sacraments.”


Sharers Topher Hernandez from SFC Australia, Manuel Loma of SFC Bohol, and former CFC fulltime pastoral worker Kirby Llaban shared how they journeyed with God through the community. 

 

Rejoice!

 

The second day of the conference was filled with workshops, performances by guest artists and celebrities, and empowering sessions. 

 

In the morning, Singles for Christ gathered for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, a must for all events of the community. Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio David, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan, who presided in the Mass, reminded SFC that God’s salvation is offered to all— saints and sinners alike. SFC also took the opportunity to honor their ‘second parents’ during the Couple Coordinators Conference.

 

In the evening, for the second session, John Acosta, Regional Coordinator for SFC Canada talked about the ‘Joys’ in SFC's life. Acosta said, “Serving the community brings joy to our lives. But there are some instances that this joy is being robbed from us.” He added, “Even if we have been serving the community for almost half of our lives, we are not exempted from temptations and problems that take this joy away from us.”

 

Acosta reminded the delegates that they will always find their way back by rooting their joy on J.O.Y.: J- Jesus, O- Others and Y- Yourself.

 

Relentless!

 

The third session focused on the main message of the conference: that God’s love is relentless. Aldy Katigbak highlighted that God’s relentless love allows one to respond by proclaiming the Word, to be persistent, to have the ability to convince, reprimand and encourage, to be self-possessed and more importantly, to put up with the hardships.

 

Fulfill Your Ministry!

 

On the third day, Rev. Fr. Xavier Olin, SJ concelebrated the morning Mass with Fr. Jeffrey Rosales. Fr. Olin encouraged the participants to embrace the desert experience, as deserts are places and times of encounter, of preparation, of restoration and rediscovering lost selves, of overcoming temptation and building oneself from within.

 

“Many times, we go through periods of desolation and confusion, we go through periods of great doubt… and these desert experiences, difficult as they are, can restore our faith, ” Fr. Olin said. “They can bring back relationships, they can allow us to look back, reexamine our life, perhaps see what is lost, what are we giving up, what we are getting rid of, what we need to put back into our lives,” he added.

 

The last session was given by Noli Manuel, SFC International Coordinator. Manuel presented a challenge and at the same called SFC to action: to step out into the world and to go out to the peripheries. 

 

In living out the SFC vision of “Every single man and woman all over the world, experiencing Christ”, Noli emphasized that each SFC is being called to reach out and embrace those who are single unmarried, young widows/widowers, young unmarried single parents, singles with same-sex attractions and young individuals whose marriages have been annulled

 

“The mission for us is not just to wait for them, but to look for them! We need to reach out to them so they can experience Christ’s love,” Manuel said. 

 

The conference ended with a powerful praisefest, bringing the conviction of every SFC delegate to an even higher level.

 

The much-awaited announcement of the venues— General Santos for SFC ICON 2019 and Indonesia for SFC ICON 2020—was enough to bring the delegates to a state of joyful anticipa-tion for the next conferences. (SFC ICON Media Team/Aj Cuntapay, Anlyn Pega, JV Monzon, Vanessa Tingson, Yvonne Dolorosa)




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