CFC EurAf Conference in Malta: Spirit-filled, Unique, A Weekend of Firsts

CFC EurAf Conference 2023 Day 1 (for all video highlights, go to

Close to 270 members of Couples for Christ from Europe and Africa gathered together in the beautiful island of Malta from 19 to 21 May to participate in the 2023 CFC EurAF Conference. This special event, an echo of the Healing and Forgiveness Theme Weekend Retreat (TWR) held in Baguio early this year, was held in DB San Antonio hotel.

The 2023 CFC EurAF Conference was unique in many respects. It was the first-ever combined conference of the CFC Europe and Africa since this twin mission in these two great continents was established in 2018. Before this, CFC Africa had their last biennial One-Africa conference in Seychelles in 2018 while CFC Europe celebrated its last annual European Conference in Salamanca, Spain in 2019. Equally significant is the fact that this recently concluded event was the first in-person CFC EurAf conference after two successive years (2021 and 2022) of online events due to travel and social distancing restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. CFC Malta was set to host this annual event in 2020 and had already made arrangements for venue and initial logistical requirements when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, with the ensuing global lockdown that forced the CFC leaders to cancel the event. With persistent prayers from the faithful, the world finally overcame the pandemic through advancements in vaccine initiatives and effective treatment and prevention protocols in place, making it possible to resume preparations for an in-person conference this year. 

It was also the first time Malta hosted a CFC conference since its establishment in 2001, although the YFC and SFC family ministry conferences were previously held there in 2009 and 2012, respectively. This beautiful island country in the central Mediterranean between Sicily, Italy and the Northern African coast made for a perfect geographical venue of the EurAf conference. More importantly, the fact that the CFC community is entirely composed of Maltese nationals, the weekend event could be aptly described as a gathering of a truly global CFC community with Polish, American, Ethiopian, Filipino, German, Kenyan, Maltese, Mauritian and Ugandan nationals worshipping the Lord and sharing faith with one another. One of the sharers in the conference was Tesfa Soboka, an Ethiopian and his wife, Magdalena, a Polish national. Their presence at the conference provided a symbolic image of the Europe-Africa mission!

Bro. Joe Yamamoto, CFC Chairman-President and his wife, Sis. Mila, as well as Bro. Eric Villanueva, CFC EurAf Mission Head and his wife, Patricia, graced the event. Bro. Joe gave the third talk on the Feast of Forgiveness. The conference was opened on Friday, 19 May with Talk 1 on Homecoming delivered by Bro. Joseph Borg, a CFC Malta leader who also served as the Pastoral Formation Office (PFO) lead for the conference. Bro. Zalde Santos, Regional Coordinator for eastern Africa gave talk 2 titled Together Making Space. The fourth talk, Life Anew, was given by Bro. Julian Xuereb, CFC Malta Country Head. Talk 5 titled We have never seen anything like this, which fittingly capped the conference was delivered by Bro. Eric delos Reyes, Regional Coordinator for Southeast Europe region which Malta is part of together with Albania, Greece, Israel, Italy and Turkey. The conference was also participated in by newly appointed Country Coordinators who made pastoral visits to their respective countries before or after the conference.

The CFC EurAf Conference was also unique with the strong presence of the clergy with the Apostolic Nuncio to Malta, His Excellency Msgr. Savio Hon Tai-Fai presiding over the celebration of the Holy Mass on Sunday, 21 May. Msgr. Savio is no stranger to CFC as also served as the Apostolic Nuncio to Greece prior to his current assignment, where he met and collaborated with the members of the CFC community in Greece.  On Saturday, 20 May, second day of the conference, the Holy Mass celebration was presided by Fr. Martin Cilia of the Missionary Society of St. Paul (MSSP). In addition to the Mass presiders, a sufficient number of priests also came on Saturday for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The uniqueness of the presence of the clergy at the conference was not only about their sheer number but more importantly, on the “oneness” of their message ⏤ to listen and abide to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The message of the Lord delivered through the clergy could not be any truer this weekend!

On Monday, 22 May, CFC members attended the post-conference pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’Pinu located in Gozo, the second largest island in the Malta archipelago. The basilica was dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption to whom many miracles have been attributed for many years. The CFC EurAf Malta conference gave the participants a very refreshing sense of inspiration, enthusiasm and energy as the face-to-face mission reopens following the end of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The countless unique experiences they went through were demonstrated by the constant expression on Sunday and at the pilgrimage the following day, “We have never seen anything like this!”, a clear reference to the inspiration drawn from the last talk. True to this year’s CFC theme, “Rise, Pick up your mat and Go!”, CFC members went back to their respective countries with a renewed sense of purpose in pursuing the work of evangelization as they also look forward to next year’s EurAf conference in France.

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