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‘TRUE MEN’ OF GOD FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD ‘RISE ABOVE!’
Monday, April 23, 2018

To "Rise Above" like an eagle — this was the call for the three-day gathering of Catholic men from all over the world at the 17th CFC Men's Conference held from March 23 to 25, 2018, at the Bohol Cultural Center, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. This annual meeting of men is under the supervision of the Servants of the Lord (SOLD), one of the family ministries of CFC.


It was a challenge which struck at the hearts of the more or less 600 men as they listened to the sessions anchored on Isaiah 40:31— “But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”. 


The event commenced at 5 PM of Friday, March 23, with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist led by Most Rev. Alberto S. Uy, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Tagbilaran. In his homily, Bishop Uy expressed his astonishment at seeing a rare sight—a multitude of men and only a handful of women at the Mass. The prelate thanked the conference delegates for responding to the call to defend family and life as the group had also decided to join the diocesan-led March for Life scheduled the next day. 



After the Mass, Mr. Isabelito Tongco, who represented Bohol governor Edgar M. Chatto, and Amit Yu, provincial area director of CFC Bohol, formally welcomed all the delegates.The night of Day 1 ended with a guitar fest competition, with Mart Ray Borromeo of CFC Bohol winning the competition hands down.

 

Day 2 started at 8:00 AM with Holy Mass, with Msgr. Jonathan Pacudan, parish priest of the Nuestra Senora de la Consolacion parish of Guindulman, Bohol, Diocese of Talibon as main celebrant. Msgr.Pacudan reminded the delegates that to be a true man of God, one should be ready to carry the CROSS (Christ – Redemption – Obedience – Suffering – Sacrifice). Msgr. Pacudan also exhorted everyone to ask, “What would Jesus do?” every time they are faced with difficulties. 

 

The following sessions followed the Mass: Talk 1 “Life in the Fast Lane” by Boyet Rafael, with Charly Laiz as his sharer; Talk 2, “Long Run” by Willie Padida, with Manny Garcia as sharer; and Talk 3 “The Best of My Love” by Joemar Salumbides, CFC Servants of the Lord International Coordinator, with Jojerry Mercado as sharer. The talk titles were all inspired by the songs of the famous band of the 1980s, the Eagles.The delegates participated in the March for Life that started from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish church and ended at the St. Joseph Cathedral. The march was initiated by the Commission on Family Life of the Diocese of Tagbilaran with the various renewal groups, church-mandated organizations and nearby parishes joining the cause. 

 

The evening was capped by the Eagles Band Competition. The local CFC band of Bohol emerged victorious from among the eight bands coming from the other countries and provinces. The last day was highlighted by the Palm Sunday ceremony and Mass. Fr. Valentino Pinlac, rector of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary (IHMS) presided over the celebration. 


Fr. Val's homily emphasized the need for sacrifice and underscored the inclination of some people to cowardly evade problems and resort to shortcut solutions or processes, which are unacceptable for a true Christian. Fr. Val thanked CFC for its support to the seminary. Through ANCOP USA, the IHMS was a recipient of several personal computer workstations and servers, which cater to the computer-aided design lab requirements of the seminary. He also reminded the CFC leaders present of the commitment of ANCOP, through its Child Sponsorship Program, to support 10 seminarians through college, the applications for which are still under process. 

 

The Mass was followed by the last session of the conference. Lawrence Quintero, CFC Family Ministries International Director, delivered the talk “Love Will Keep Us Alive”. His sharers included Mon de Leon, former CFC Central Visayas regional area head, and Hermie Hermillosa, both of whom, despite being widowers, continue toserve the community. A spirit-filled praisefest concluded the conference, ably led by Marthin Pil, SOLD VisMin coordinator. CFC Bohol’s MC Band provided the lively music for the event.


Next year’s International Catholic Men’s Conference is slated to be held in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, another conference that will be eagerly anticipated by these true men of God. (Dionisio Neil A. Balite, CFC Bohol)






 

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