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Bishop Ongtioco: `Keep the Spirit of Christmas Alive`
Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 11, 2014 opened the year’s roster of events for Couples for Christ via the CFC Leaders Conference, held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. This much-anticipated year opener drew an audience of almost 14,000 coming from the various provinces in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, as well as the whole of Metro Manila and overseas like the USA, Canada, the Middle East, China, Africa, Europe, Indonesia, and Australia.

After the recitation of the Holy Rosary led by the wives of the International Council, a procession carrying the image of the Our Lady of Banneux went around inside the coliseum in honor of Mama Mary.

The Most Reverend Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop of the Diocese of Cubao, celebrated the Mass, together with Msgr. Allen Aganon, CFC IC Spiritual Director; Fr. Marvin Mejia, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines; Fr. Jacques Piat and Fr. Pierrot Friquin from Mauritius; Fr. Timothy from Taiwan; Fr. Marlon Avenido from Compostella Valley; Fr. Quezon Juan from Nueva Viscaya; and Fr. Joel Jason from the CBCP Commission on Family and Life.

Bishop Ongtioco began his homily by greeting the congregation with these words: “On the Year of the Laity, the Church needs you, the Church relies on you. Thank you for defending the life of the Church.”

January 11 being the eve of the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus which marks the end of the Christmas season, Bishop Ongtioco reminded everyone that Christ wants to be born in each person’s heart. “And as long as there is Christ, Christmas is there. The joy of Christmas is not just encountering Christ, but sharing with others the same joy of such encounter, “ he added.

Referring to Couples for Christ’s theme for 2014, the charismatic bishop reminded the delegates that to BEHOLD is not just to see, but to pause, to "BE" and "HOLD", with emphasis on the being and becoming. Likewise, Bishop Ongtioco exhorted all to "HOLD" on to the graces received in the past.

Bishop Ongtioco further stated, “Like Mary, we are invited to ponder on the mystery of Christ's coming. Let us keep the message of Christmas alive in the hearts and lives of people who long to see Christ.” (Alma Alvarez)



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