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CFC Handmaids of the Lord Soar High at the 25th HOLD ICon
Thursday, May 3, 2018

In celebration of the silver anniversary of the CFC Family Ministries this year, the CFC Handmaids of the Lord (CFC HOLD) opened the 25th CFC HOLD International Conference with the "Reminisce and Rekindle" fellowship night on Friday, April 27, 2018.


This was right after the Mass celebrated by His Excellency the Most Rev. Buenaventure Famadico, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of San Pablo. Fr. Emil A. Urriquia of the Cathedral Parish of St. Paul the First Hermit and Spiritual Director of CFC Laguna, concelebrated the Mass.


CFC HOLD looked back at the past 25 years, celebrating HOLD as women in full bloom, women of faith, purpose, love, and joy, and as women for others, showcasing the talents of HOLD from Metro Manila, the Philippine missions and the international mission. The HOLD International Core, headed by HOLD International Coordinator Edythe Avendaño, honored the past and present members of the International Core for their dedication, leadership, and witnessing.


Recognizing the Gift 

The following day, Avendaño opened the conference with Session 1 (The Gift), focusing on the gift of the Holy Spirit, and how St. Paul exhorted Timothy to rekindle the “gift that is within”.


Similarly, Avendaño reminded the Handmaids that every Catholic has received the Holy Spirit, and asked the congregation, “Are we harnessing the power that the Holy Spirit gave in order for us to be more and more like Christ? Are we using the gifts of the Holy Spirit to fulfill our mission? What has happened to the gift of the Holy Spirit?”

Unfamiliarity with the gift of the Spirit, ignoring this gift and resisting God’s will, keeping the gift to oneself, using the gift to glorify the self, not allowing the gift to grow, or failing to use the gift to enliven communal life are some of the reasons why the power of the Spirit is not unleashed in a Christian’s life. Rekindling the gift and keeping it aflame will allow the Lord to accomplish His work and purpose that He has entrusted to each one.


Learning from Eunice, Lois and the five wise virgins

Linda Tayag, the next speaker, reminded the delegates of the solemn charge for women: to proclaim the Word to their families and other women as well.Tayag spoke about the challenge to women— how they should respond to this solemn charge. As Pope Paul VI said, there is much urgency in this call to women to be proclaimers of the Gospel in every situation and circumstance, whether convenient or otherwise, in the various roles they play in society— as students, teachers, mothers, healers, and leaders.


Tayag exhorted the women to be like the five wise virgins who always had their oil lamps filled and lit, always ready to seize the opportunity to answer the call to be bearers of the Good News to their families and to those who hunger for the Word.“…to be persistent, whether convenient or not”


In the third session, Wendy Carvalho, HOLD Country Coordinator for Malaysia, talked about the daunting task of being proclaimers of the Word and the undaunted Spirit each one must possess in order to be able to pursue the mission.


"We should always be ready to proclaim His message when-ever and wherever there is a chance,” Carvalho said. 


Challenges and Reality Check


St. Paul warned Timothy of the challenges that he could face in proclaiming the Good News. As present day evangelizers, Evelyn Ylagan, HOLD Island Coordinator for Luzon, exhorted the Handmaids to heed the same warning from the apostle Paul.


“People will not tolerate sound doctrine, as what St. Paul said,” Ylagan began, citing how man has disregarded the 10 Commandments and how modernization has allowed for same-sex attraction/ union, propagation of the LGBT lifestyle, in vitro fertilization, immodesty in dressing and conduct.


“But St. Paul reminds us to be ‘self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist’, invoking the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to do all these,” Ylagan added.

Soaring on Fiery Wings


In the final session, HOLD Coordinator for the Americas Didi Galsim described in detail who the Holy Spirit is— the giver of life, the Spirit of love, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of unity, the Witness, the Paraclete—and how the third Person of the Trinity has changed a Christian’s life.


She explained how the Holy Spirit, closely associated with fire, manifested His presence both in the Old and New Testaments. However, because of reasons like personal problems, concerns in community, unfaithfulness to God, or becoming victims of lies, gossip or intrigue, this fiery presence is quenched, diminishing the ardor of faith.


“What then can we do so we do not ever lose it?” Galsim asked. “We must immerse ourselves in prayer and meditation, the sacraments, the Eucharist, devotion to Mother Mary and the saints, faithfulness to the HOLD covenant, and following the example of Paul, bearing the marks of Jesus on our bodies,” she added.


And to fulfill the ministry entrusted to HOLD, Galsim thanked all the leaders of HOLD and the wives of CFC serving in HOLD (the ‘Paulas’), as well as the husbands of HOLD leaders and members serving alongside their wives, for mentoring the younger generation of HOLD. She also expressed gratitude to young HOLD members and leaders whom she referred to as the ‘Timotheas’, entrusting the next 25 years of the ministry to them.


The passion and dedication of the sharers in all the sessions manifested the greatness of the Lord and how He has moved in the lives of each one.The conference ended with a powerful praisefest led by Dale Villamor, Cluster Head for MM North B, allowing the 6,000 delegates to soar on the fiery wings of the Spirit. (Text by Alma Alvarez; photo by Arnel Santos)


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