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CFC Parejas Para Cristo Enters Quito, Ecuador
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Hugs, tears, smiles, joyful singing, beaming faces—these were very much in evidence during the two Christian Life Programs recently conducted in Quito, Ecuador. What a blessing it was to be able to share the Good News with such humble, simple people who have vast, inspiring reservoirs of faith!

The CLPs were conducted at the Centros Del Muchacho Trabajador [CMT] (Working Boys Centers—a Family of Families). The Centers were founded by Fr. John Halligan, S.J., over 50 years ago, to strengthen and reinforce the faith of Catholic families from the lowest socio-economic strata of Ecuador. The Centers can claim that, through their efforts, around 30,000 people have left poverty forever, developing and strengthening moral values by means of changes in attitudes and behavior, helped by programs of formation and social assistance.

This process of change stresses ten important areas of life: loyalty, personal formation, family, religion, education, economy, work, recreation, health and housing. The goal is for the families of the working boys to be united in their Christian commitment, be financially independent, have access to education, health and quality basic services, become agents of change, oriented to the construction of a just society that promotes equal participation and respect for fundamental rights. It was the perfect venue for Parejas para Cristo as all these are found in the CFC expanded Mission Statement!

Fr. John (Padre Juan) and all his dedicated religious and lay staff invited the mission team to share Couples for Christ with them and the people they serve. Although many spiritual retreats and conferences have been held at the Centers over the years, what most thrilled the CMT administration was the reality that CFC wasn’t a “one-shot-deal”—that CFC Parejas Para Cristo is an ongoing movement fully engaged in its mission. Thus, after the Christian Life Programs, households would be formed from among the participants, with CFC elders assigned to watch over and guide the households toward spiritual growth. CFC would still be around to conduct follow ups, pastoral visits, formation programs and retreats as a means of attaining and enhancing this spiritual growth.

The talks, the small group discussions, the sharing of personal stories, witnessing and the testimonies during each Programa de Vida Cristiana (PVC) truly touched the participants, and even moved the CFC mission volunteers to tears.

After the PVC, six Couples households, five Handmaids of the Lord households and one Singles for Christ household were established—127 adults in total.

On a very positive note, and as an offshoot of the programs conducted, over 30 young people are waiting for the Youth Ministry to come and share the youth program with them in the near future, hopefully after the youngsters make their Confirmation in June. (Esther Prexl)



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