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11 Love Outside Home-by KD Soler to Serving the Young 16 Live Pure Articles 20 Serving the Greatest-by Melea Pasagui 22 WKC news 24 One with the Church 25 WYC news 26 SHOUT To be Young Again 38 God’s Gifts-by Pat Oconer 39 On Living and Loving-by Cocoi Javier 41 How to Excel in School-by Kristiana 43
Fernandez Marie Relucio Give and Take-by Iyam Villabroza God’s Perfect Timing-by Lee-an Rosal Padilla for Under the Fig Tree. WWP Livelihood- by Bart Ongtangco Building for Jesus-by Pat Oconer I Choose God-by Dave Balino
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Living Out the Best Life Ever, What I Learned in Mission, The More I Seek You, Catching Wind
Strengthening the Faith 50 Gloire a toi Signeur-by Jermer Cruz 52 Appreciating the Catholic Faith through Family Feature 28 Miracles-by Lee-an Rosal
the eyes of Faith MRS-by Eya Verzonilla Looking into the Year of Faith -by Vanie Rivera Israel Changes You-by Xavy Padilla Signs and Wonders-by Vanie Rivera Para o Brasil-by Giella Sanchez
Sharing the Faith through Accenture Crossworks-by Haidz Grijalvo.
Sharing the Faith 44 Changed through the Word-by Lui Lagasca
Porciuncula Married Life in SFL-by Gerard and Rhea
Main Feature 36 On to Gold-Living a life of Love through
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JUNE 2012 MAG
Sharing the Faith
By Bob Murga, CFC FFl Country Servant for the Philippines
The love of God for the world is manifested in the sacrificial death of God’s own Son Jesus on the cross. By his death we were given new life. Now the process of love and life does not end there. Jesus commands us to love one another as he has loved us. Jesus defines Christian love: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn 15:13). Now all that is hard. It ought to be hard, because it is the very way of Jesus. Rather than giving love, we are more eager to receive love. This often leads to selfishness, to aversion, to self-denial, to shunning the cross. These inevitably lead to conflicts and crises in family and community life. Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV) As a community, our DNA is embodied in our core values. It is in our witnessing to His love every single day that we bring these values to life, touch the many doubting Thomases in our midst, and help them believe. Rediscover and embrace these core values, brethren. Indeed, we live in unprecedented times and growing in holiness becomes less and less of a goal. Alarming it is that we need not even look too far as we see the battle being brought right to our doorsteps. Let us work towards bringing Christ to many and many more, fixing our eyes on Him as we engage in spiritual warfare. And so, on the occasion of our 31st anniversary, we not only celebrate, but we also renew our faith, we declare our commitment to the church, we break bread and thus continue to joyfully partake in the work of evangelization. Go and share the faith!
But Jesus has already told us what we are to do. God would never require what is imDeath accepted possible. What out of love leads makes it possible to life. Darkness is the abundance is overcome by the of His grace and the light. The curse is expower of the Holy Spirchanged for the blessing. it. But for us to be filled, Doom gives way to prosperity. we need first to be empty. We We die to self like the proverbial grain work to empty ourselves of pride, lust, of wheat, and we produce much fruit. anger, greed, envy, selfishness, immorality, hatred, rivalry, disobedience, inIn what ways then do we die to self as fidelity. We die to self, or rather, we put we give love, thus giving life? We hum- to death what is not of God. bly regard others as more important than ourselves (Phil 2:3b). We serve Then such death leads to life. Life in us. without counting the cost. We live sim- Then life for others through us. That is ply so that we can share our resourc- love. es with those in need. The leader becomes the servant.
Our journey through life in community is an experience of faith. It is an experience that calls us to an unceasing renewal and deepening of our relationship with Christ. When we say “Here I am Lord,” we speak not only of, or for ourselves, but also for those whom the Lord has entrusted to us and has put under our watch and care. The promise of salvation for all therefore draws from us a response to share the faith, to the ends of the earth, in the same inspiring and infilling way it was from that Pentecostal experience in the upper room.
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WWP Livelihood Program:
An Opportunity to Serve
By Bart P. Ongtangco
One may struggle to define what is really the meaning of livelihood (live-li-hood). In a web definition, “livelihood is an application of knowledge and skills that will help an individual boost his self-esteem and eventually use these to achieve a better quality of life.” Also, for a livelihood to be sustainable, it must have holistic factors that do not only complement but can withstand internal and external shocks and stresses both now and in the future without undermining its natural base. Livelihood’s goal must not end at just having a better life but should lead to the fulfillment of God’s plan in molding us as His true sons and daughters willing to serve others. marketing arm for all micro enterprise products or services that will be set up at the RV and MA sites as their sources of livelihood. In addition, HHMC also facilitates the identification, study and organization of any enterprise or services that is most ideal at the site. The HHMC, at the proper time, will be united with Kaban ng Bayan, our CFC FFL mother cooperative.
their benefactors, but to help finance others who, like them, wanted to undergo the same training. This is teaching our brethren to help themselves and to be the source of help for others as well.
The livelihood component of our Social Ministry’s Work With The Poor focuses on three (3) major sub-components, namely: micro-enterprise, cooperative development and skills training. For the (1) micro enterprise, our vision is to put up one product or service per Restoration Village (RV) or Mission Village (MA). This is most ideal in areas where there is an abundance of supply of agricultural or marine life products or services to be delivered by our own members. We did a pilot of this in Pandi, Bulacan where our Bro. Ed and Sis. Zeny Brigino offered a portion of their farm land for the production of 100% organic tomatoes for our first tomato-based product named St. Nic’s Salsa. Tomato catsup is in the pipeline, and soon this will be out in the market. Our RV Pandi Immaculate Concepcion residents are the direct beneficiaries of this venture. To complement the micro enterprise is our (2) cooperative development sub-component where we have set up Heaven’s Harvest Marketing Cooperative (HHMC) primarily to serve as the
For those beneficiaries who may not engage in micro enterprise, a third sub-component called (3) Skills Training will address the unemployment or underemployment of our needy brothers and sisters. We are currently tying up with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to help us train our brethren with short but highly-employable and in-demand vocational courses such as welding, electrical, carpentry, masonry, pipe fitting and many more. This training is most appropriate as a graduate will have the advantage of a TESDA certification which is a key in making them more employable both here and abroad. Along with this arrangement, the Electrical Engineering Corporation (EEI), one of Philippines’ leading construction companies, agreed to train three of our people to become trainers or instructors in their Bataan plant. These certified trainers will in turn teach initially 30 of our beneficiaries for a Scaffolding Course with a promise of hiring once they passed the EEI standards. EEI has built power plants, refineries, petrochemical plants, cement plants, mining facilities, industrial plants, schools, hospitals and many others. It is known for its quality of works and excellence with its workforce. A significant element of the skills training program is the “pay it forward” scheme where those who will be employed under this program ought to allocate a portion of their income, not to pay back
WWP Livelihood is also bent on helping our brothers and sisters cultivate the habit of saving. The “Mag-Subi Para sa Tagumpay” (MSPT), a supervised grassroot savings program for investment, was launched April 28, 2012 in Brampton Village, Novaliches. The mechanics involve organizing the members into a “Samahan” (group of 20-25 families) who will agree to commit to set aside a certain amount to deposit for a common purpose. After a certain period, the savings will be used as capital for a business that the site and their partners (WWP-Livelihood Ministry, RV/MA Livelihood Team and District Pastoral Team of the site) will agree on. With a noble motto: “Walang Diyos, Walang Tagumpay” (No God, No Success) and “Walang Subi o Impok, Walang Hanapbuhay/ Asenso” (No Savings, No Progress), we have clearly imparted to our beneficiaries that we should not all the time have the luxury of depending on donations and that we also need to put up our own funds if we need to set up our own enterprise. In this process, they take full responsibility and ownership of their own livelihood through a deliberate and united savings program. In coordination with Kaban ng Bayan Co-op, we are partnering with BPI-Globe Banko, the first mobile-based, microfinance-focused savings bank in the Philippines. Kaban ng Bayan will act as MSPT’s cash custodian under and through the platform of BPI-Globe Banko. At the core of it all, all the stakeholders will have the opportunity to serve: 1) RV and MA brethren - their whole hearted participation will transform, not just the productive part of the community, but above all shape them to become better stewards of God’s resources. By way of a sustainable livelihood, they now have the opportunity to serve the members of their families with a golden chance of a brighter future ahead not in man’s standards but God’s. Through the pay-it- forward scheme, a member may have also the opportunity, after helping himself, to help by serving another brother.
2) The RV and MA Livelihood Team and Pastoral Team will have the opportunity to serve those under their pastoral care, not by lip service alone, but by our genuine efforts and help them rise above the challenge of poverty and deprivation of basic necessities of life. 3) Our brethren here and abroad will have the opportunity to serve as partners/patrons of any livelihood undertaking. The WWP – Livelihood Ministry has barely scratched the surface. The works are indeed daunting. There will be challenges, there will be failures and there will be successes. At the end of the day, there are plenty of opportunities to serve. After all, we achieve strength when we have the numbers and deeply united as one in this mission. More than ever, we need to trust that God is at work, and will provide the fruit in His time and in His way. But be assured: we will “bear fruit through perseverance” (Luke 8:15). (Interested parties who would like to render help may contact Bro. Bart Ongtangco at 09189065020)
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We are in the business of loving people. We are in community because the Lord gave us the opportunity to experience life with Him – a life that is lived to the fullest. John 10:10 says, “I have come to give you life, life in abundance, life to the full.” We are called to experience life at its fullness. But life without God can never be called life. Life with God means a life of following His will for us and following His commandments: to love Him and to love our neighbor. CFC FFL Work with the Poor is called to share Jesus among the poorest of the poor through its program for a sustainable community as a concrete way of loving God and neighbor. Through the service of brothers and sisters in community, we help one another in the different programs that we have: Shelter, Health, Environment, Education, Livelihood and Community life.
By DAVE ARISS BALINO
BUILDING LIVES FOR
By PAT OCONER
One significant effort that we are doing is the development and construction of houses for our brethren in the Restoration Villages (RV). The past summer has been a great opportunity for members in the community to take part in the different activities: building houses for the families and a school for the kids, organizing medical missions by our brothers and sisters in the medical profession and giving pastoral formations to the beneficiaries.
Those who love the Lord love to give. The service that we are doing in every RV site is an opportunity to grow in that desire to bring Jesus to the least among us. Not only that we are able to help them, but they also help us to be good stewards of the gifts the Lord has blessed us with. In that recognition of God’s grace and goodness, we get to share what we have to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Through this, we get to share our desire and prayer that one day no one will be in need. May we be able to truly share Him with others, especially the poor and the needy.
“You did not choose me; it was I who chose life He was leading me to while I continued you – Jn 15:16a.” with my assignment as a full-time worker God’s words are really powerful. When He for CFC Singles for Family and Life. speaks, He truly means it. Last year, our community sent a delegaI believe that God had already planned out tion to the World Youth Day in Spain and I my life for a greater purpose. I first met the was privileged to be a part of it. During the Lord during my youth camp sixteen years World Youth Day, I sensed a strong mesago. I never thought that this would be the sage from the Lord with regards to what start of a deep and fruitful relationship direction He wanted me to take but I still with the Lord towards a higher calling of had reservations. When we returned here becoming a priest. in the Philippines, I finally opened myself up to the discernment process. Was I, inI became an active member of the youth deed, for priesthood? ministry of Couples for Christ during my college years. This period saw a growth I started consulting people and tried apin my passion for God and in my zeal for plying in different seminaries. For many service. After I graduated from college as months, I took the long and tedious proan Electronic Engineer, I worked for three cess of waiting and purification. I applied years in a semi-conductor company, in- in two diocesan seminaries and two relicluding spending a year working in Califor- gious congregations but the Lord has betnia. I had a very fulfilling job, then, but my ter plans. I finally met Fr. Fernando Suarez, heart yearned for opportunities to serve the founder of the Missionaries of Mary Him more. Mother of the Poor (MMMP). He invited me to join their congregation. I was hesitant at And so five years ago, I resigned from my first, but the Lord affirmed me later on that job and heeded the Lord’s call for me to be- He has chosen MMMP for me. come a missionary. I was assigned to go on mission to Peru for a period of two years. Now I am happy to be with MMMP. As the There, I discovered more of my faith, my days pass by, the Lord is slowly revealing vocation and myself. I was blessed to meet His great purpose for my life. From this a lot of priests and bishops. I saw the kind point on, I am lifting everything to the Lord of life they lived and I was attracted to this and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead my way. self-giving life. This is precisely the reason why when I went back to the Philippines, (Note: Missionaries of Mary Mother of the Poor is I started seriously discerning the state of based in the Diocese of Occidental Mindoro)
I went on mission to Ecuador with Jose Maria Ibuna in 2007. It was a challenging phase for us because of our scanty Spanish. At first, I was pretty indifferent about the language barrier as I was presuming that the locals would understand English. But lo and behold, the culture in Latin America is that solid that one can actually survive without having to assimilate the universal language. Praise God because the son of the country head, Paul, is bilingual. He then became our voice when we wanted to communicate something. Love spawned between me and Paul when we started to spend time together in translating the pastoral teachings of the community
relationship, we too had our amusing conflicts. He would explain in Spanish while I would retort in Filipino. We went through a stage of discernment and decided to get married on the day of the Immaculate Concepcion in 2008. It was a Monday, and though most of the guests whined about the day, we let such detail fall on deaf ears because we wanted to consecrate our marriage to our Lady. Tobit 8:7 was our prayer to each other on that day. We are now three years married. We are filled with gratitude to God who blessed us with
STT: When did you leave the Philippines for foreign mission and for how long? KD: I left May 2007 for a two-year mission, together with 9 other Filipino co-missionaries, to help our CFC community “Matrimonios Para Cristo” (MPC) in Latin America. I served in Nicaragua. STT: Wow! What went through your head when you found out it was for 2 years? KD: I was so naïve back then. At 24 years of age, I have never gone out of the country yet. To picture two years in another country was quite farfetched for me. One day at a time, I said. My peace was in God’s promise: “I will show you love you have never seen before”. STT: What was the hardest part of saying yes to this mission?
they were millions of miles away but the MAG truth is their love remained. Yes, it pained me to be away from family, but God allowed me to witness so much in Nicaragua: people changed, families restored, addictions stopped, church filled with the faithful – all because they met Christ through our community. I am so blessed to experience God’s abundant mercy in that! STT: Amazing! What are the other highlights of your Latin American mission? KD: The fulfilment of my vocation! God’s promise answered! At the end of my Nicaragua mission, there he was … Luis, from Costa Rica – a love that I truly have not seen before! We are married for 3 years now. I am here in Costa Rica, serving with my partner for life, my husband. He is my family now, and with Jesus, we are working together along with the MPC
FINDING LOVE IN MISSION
By Edna Lyn T. Morales
from English to Spanish. When he bravely told me that he liked me, I knew in an instant that it was time to move out and look for another host family. I clearly remember what he told me that day, he said “I want us to be a Christian brother and sister to each other, so please move out. It’s very important for me that we keep each other pure.” I was left in awe. He was right. The devil is astute and being together in the same house can spring temptation. I was not ready for rumors or any slight chats among the community members so I decided to pack my things. So I started to house-hop. He would visit me at my host family and help me in fostering the young ministries. We both told our families about our relationship and we were glad to receive their support. And just like any other
a community where we found our lifetime spouse. We thank Tito Frank for being true to his name. His candor about chastity is admirable. Our elders in the community cannot be left without a word of appreciation, too, because of their encouragement. We now have a one year old son. He is our fruit of waiting without remorse. We love him so much that sometimes I cry over a foolish thought musing that I have a few years left to be his valentine before he enters the stage of courtship. We love God and our family. I am so joyful to see the three of us pray in the morning and hear mass together. Everyday is a blessing to us. Storms may come but our hearts rest in the goodness of God.
Finding Love Outside Home An Interview with Kristine Dianne Albino Soler (KD)
KD: Leaving my family - all eight of them: my parents, my 5 sisters, and my only brother. And we are really close. When I said goodbye to my family at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, we cried rivers! STT: If the Lord wanted to show you love, why did He uproot you from the love that you are used to? Didn’t the Lord take away that love from you? KD: Definitely not. I have the love of Jesus wherever I go. It may seem like it because He wanted to show me something new. It felt like community and friends here to spread God’s love. I am truly blessed! Praise be to God! STT: Thank you KD for sharing. Any special closing message? KD: Let us continue to love. CFC FFL will be known because of our love for one another. May the Lord continue to give us the grace that we need so we can witness His amazing love like we have never seen it before! (Note: Last July, KD and Luis received the wonderful news that they will soon become parents to their first child. KD is pregnant!)
My growing up years shaped me to be generous in giving without expecting anything in return. This value I carried as I embarked on my mission journey here in Africa - to care, to give and share to others without expecting and asking for anything in return. Little had I known that this attitude caused me to experience a high rate of physical fatigue, mental exhaustion and spiritual dehydration. There came a point during my mission when I felt that there is nothing left for me to share and to give to others. There was also a time when my resources went almost nil because our stipend was delayed for a period of time. I realized then that if I am incapable of receiving love, I will also be incapable of sharing and giving my love wholeheartedly. Moreover, I also realized that the life of a missionary is more like being an electrical conduit which receives current only to give it out, and gives out current only to receive again. I remembered the words of my former ministry head in CFC Singles for Family and Life. He said to me as parting words before I went on a provincial mission, “Allow others to exercise their generosity, take whatever they give you with a thankful heart.” It was then that I started to express and humble myself to ask for what I need.
GIVE AND TAKE
from others. Any expressions of love and care from the people around me, big or small, I now take all of it and receive it with a grateful and thankful
By Iyam Villabroza
Oh my great God, Your love for me is so great that even if I am from my family in the Philippines, Your love keeps on overflowing in my life. Since the day You brought me to Malawi, You have never stopped blessing my life and I am continue to experience Your love. You are beautiful, My Lord. The beauty of your creation in this land always reminds me of
By Van Lester Ramos
The Love of God Away From Home:
I honor you, oh Lord, for giving me friends here, who are members of community. They bring great joy in my heart as I see them grow in love with You. I am witnessing big changes in many lives of my brothers and sisters and these really inspire me a lot. The joys in their heart, as they experience Your presence, send messages of Your great love. I rejoice in You because You have brought in my life many people who have supported me in many ways, especially in my mission. You have used them to bless me with their time, talent and treasure. Their generosity and kindness reflect Your love.
I consider this experience as my purification process that stripped me of my pride to ask for help
heart. For I know, that by accepting and receiving love from others, I open up myself to the give-andtake flow of love. My mission life here in Africa is now being sustained by the grace of God’s love and by the love and care I am receiving from my mission area.
Your great love. The heat of the sun radiates Your warm love. The rising and setting of the sun reflects your beauty. The friendly and warm greetings of the Malawians fill my heart with joy.
My generous God, I treasure the things You have given to me. You have brought me to a family where love overflows. Their kindness and generosity warm my heart and soul even in the coldest winter. Their support for this mission has brought great gladness to my heart. Their stories and laughter never cease to bring happiness to my life.
My God, Your love is so great that it brings good things even in the most difficult situations of my life. In my pains, You give me comfort. In my loneliness, You are my companion. In my problems, You send people to help me. I find saving grace in all my sufferings. I find joy in You. As I carry my cross, You never cease in carrying me. Your love gives me courage and perseverance to struggle.
I praise You for allowing me to experience Your great love. No matter where I am or what situation I am in, I know that You always love me. Thank you very much, Lord. I may be away from my home, from the love of my family and friends but as long as You remain in Me and I remain in Your love, I am home. Amen. (Note: VL and Iyam came back home to Manila last September after a two-year mission in Malawi, Africa.)
family and relatives. Without a moment’s hesitation, I said yes and everyone were smiling and cheering for us. It was both a happy and surreal moment for me.
He sat beside her in a coffee shop. Oblivious to passersby, his fingers combed through her long hair as she recalled the events that led to December 25, 2011. It was the day he got down on one knee in front of her relatives, whose smiles were captured in film. She was remembering the day’s events, especially that moment when she was moved to kneel down in prayer during Christmas Mass and tell God that she was ready for a lifetime commitment; that if he would pop the question anytime, she would not have any qualms in giving her yes. He made a funny remark and she laughed, playfully patting him in the arm. In his words, it was “purely God’s grace and love” that brought them together.
Meet Jose Maria Ibuna and Roselle Lijauco, both from Singles for Family and Life. Both reside in Laguna. Joji, as he is fondly called by friends, is 31 years old and works as a fulltime worker for the Work with the Poor Ministry. Roselle is 30 years old and works for the Department of Energy. This is their story written by the bride-to-be herself: Little did I know that Christmas of 2011 would be one of the milestones of my life - it was when Joji asked me to marry him. We were celebrating Christmas day then with my family and after exchanging gifts with everyone, he suddenly held my hand, dropped to his knees, opened a small box and popped the big question in front of my whole
and a mother eventually, and I should also STT MAG ready myself for this next stage. Furthermore, we recognized that to make a marriage work, there should always be three people in it: the husband, the wife and, most importantly, the third It took some time before I finally grasped the party – GOD. Marriage is not merely an association idea that I’ll be getting married. I had to stare at between two people in love, rather it is a union bemy ring a couple of times just to make sure that it tween man and woman with God in the center of wasn’t just a dream. When it finally sank in, I was their relationship. then faced with a number of pre-wedding activities – bridal fairs, food tasting sessions, budgeting The Engaged Couples Seminar is a part of the CFCplanning and countless times of brainstorming. SFL Engaged Couples Program providing newly Wedding planning can really become quite over- engaged SFL members with a support group that whelming. will help them “I embraced him for who he was. as they prepare One day, Joji told me themselves for I know that this is his passion. I have we’ll be attending the some doubts, but I know God will always married life. Soon SFL Engaged Couples after the seminar, provide. Besides, I am proud of what he we were grouped Seminar. I wondered what to expect in such does. This is our way of giving back to into households a seminar. I was think- the community that nurtured us. All the with other ening that it may be angaged couples. As things that happened to the both of us we become enother wedding planning workshop or an grossed in all the were because of community. assessment on our rewedding preparaAll of this is because of God.” lationship as a couple tions, it helps to now that we have taken the next step. However, it know that we are not alone in experiencing all the was utterly different from what I had imagined. It joy and stress of arranging for the wedding and was actually a two-day marriage preparation sem- there are people who will support us in our jourinar with different talks on what to expect in mar- ney towards the next phase in our relationship. ried life delivered by real-life couples. They shared It is also comforting to know that in trying times, with us a number of anecdotes, funny stories, “kil- especially during the adjustment period, there are ig” moments, and even the hardships they encoun- people whom we can turn on to help and guide us tered especially during their adjustment period in overcoming difficulties. As they say, the WEDand early stages of their marriage. It was interest- DING is but a one day affair, but the MARRIAGE is ing and very insightful at the same time. During forever. More than the flowers, the gown, the food the seminar, I realized that I need to be prepared and the music, it is more important that we prenot only for the wedding but also for our married pare ourselves for this new chapter of our lives, life. I will not just be a bride but will also be a wife with God in the center of it always.
ith hearts renewed and ready to proclaim the message of chastity, more than 3,500 youth from all over the Philippines let loose torn pieces of paper into the air symbolizing their renewed claim to freedom in the first Live Pure Conference last July 1, 2012, held at the Ynares Sports Center, Pasig City. The conference theme, “Real Freedom, True Love, Total Happiness,” was the Live Pure (LP) movement’s response to the sexuality issues of the youth today: pre-marital sex, contraception, same-sex marriage, masturbation, pornography, etc. It particularly aimed to reveal that freedom, love and happiness can be found not in the ways of the world but in God. The morning activities started off
with the celebration of the Holy Mass led by Fr. Joel O. Jason, who stressed that Christ’s love was free, total, faithful and fruitful. For everyone to easily remember the aspects of this love, he summed these all into one: marriage. “It is in the marriage vows that we see free, total, faithful and fruitful,” according to Fr. Jason. “Christ’s love mirrors the love found in marriage. In His love, we find true happiness...in His love we are free.”
Taking off from Fr. Jason’s point on freedom, Joseph Tesoro, head of the Live Pure Movement, stressed further in his talk how freedom was originally meant for us from the beginning of time. “We forgot that we are free since we allowed the world to feed us lies,” he said. These lies were further exposed by
Kevin Remandaban, a missionary for CFC-Youth for Family and Life, as he explained how the youth have been accustomed to live in a dark world where truth has become relative. As a response, he led the audience to participate in the “Turn the Lights On” campaign, wherein everyone was challenged to live a life in the light of the truth of the Christ’s Gospel. As the lights were turned off, everyone started to light up and raise their phones to illuminate the stadium.
Priming the audience for the afternoon session were acoustic artists, Guji Lorenzana and RJ Jimenez, who brought the crowd into frenzy as they sang different love songs. The second session was given by Pat and Grace Oconer, members of Couples for Christ Foundation
for Family and Life. They relayed to the crowd their journey from singlehood to married life and how they committed themselves to remain pure until marriage. Pat mentioned how knowing the Lord led him to true love. His declaration, “Walang karapatan manligaw ang hindi nagsisimba!” became a memorable line to the male crowd judging by the number of times it was quoted in social networking sites. Grace challenged the girls in the audience to wait for the right time and to realize that they are too precious to allow themselves to be in “unofficial” relationships and be courted through text or online. This elicited applause from the female audience. To share more on finding one’s true love, basketball star, Chris Tiu, gave a video testimony on his stand for chastity.
different activities that they intend to do. “The conference was our jumpstart activity. We plan to have a Live Pure Run on the last quarter of the year and still continue with our efforts to bring the Live Pure lifestyle to the different schools and parishes.” Gasgonia further stressed that the movement will be ever vigilant to the issues of our time affecting family and life, especially those that involve the youth of today. “This experience of real freedom, true love and total The session on true love concluded happiness is just the kick-off of our with the exposition of the Blessed long-term campaign to expose the Sacrament led by Fr. Francis truth. We will never tire to speak Gustilo, SDB. On bended knees, up. We will always turn our lights the 3,500-strong youth reflected on especially on issues regarding in silence as they finally met “the chastity.” One who truly loved” them - Jesus Christ. For more information, visit http://www.livepuremovement. What is next for Live Pure? Sabrina org or e-mail the team at Gasgonia, a missionary for the firstname.lastname@example.org Live Pure Movement, outlined the To highlight this point on true love, the Live Pure Movement aired their short film feature, entitled, “Tadhana,” which narrated a woman’s search for true love and how it pays to wait for the right moment and to have the right posture of heart. The short film featured young actors and actresses: Hazel Hipolito, Greggy Santos, Stephanie Sol and Jonas Gonzales.
es a dream fo P U R E M OV E M E N Tercarri real meaning of life, that all of us The L IV E the
r young people
our hearts, one may come to discov God has implanted in everywhere – that each nt le to live this out fully. and be ab ial and that we are mea were created for love, are – that we are spec obtain the truth of who we ll be free, and we will and in our very souls, out these truths, we wi e. If we live to live for so much mor d lasts forever! re in the Philippines an true happiness which many young people he LI VE PU RE d the hearts of how being part of the LI VE PU RE has touche r youth have to say on some of ou abroad. Here are what es. e an impact in their liv M OV EM EN T has mad
CFC YFL Chapter Servant in Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish in Cubao 3rd year, BS Entrepreneurship Student at De La Salle University 19 years old
Chained, scratched, and tied down. I was living in a set of rules and I did not know it was eating me up. Constantly, I would find myself lost in the abyss, scratched, and tied down with the biggest rule of all: you are not allowed to fall in love. I had a different notion on love: love was unpleasant. This affected the different aspects of my life and caused me to feel broken. I cried and prayed to God to help me through and, indeed, He revealed Himself to me through the Love Forum we had in our district’s core overnight. Through this, I was able to understand love in its purest and most wonderful form. I was able to realize that it is not a set of rules and it is okay to feel this kind of love. I learned that it is one of the most beautiful and exciting thing there is, and that no one is and will ever be restricted to love romantically. I realized that we cannot simply pattern the story of our love lives on others because we have our own, and God has graced us with this wonderful gift in His most precious time.
I thank God for being the sweeter song – the melody in which I will join without having to tie myself down. I have learned. And in this learning, I am decided to immerse myself more in God and Mother Mary; to pray for their guidance and to tell them everything that happens in my life. I am decided to let people guide me and pray for me by telling them, especially my mentors, what is happening in my life. I am decided to follow God’s standards and be pursued the way I should be pursued, for I am God’s daughter. The Live Pure Movement carries a dream for young people everywhere – that each one may come to discover the real meaning of life, that all of us were created for love, and be able to live this out fully. God has implanted in our hearts, and in our very souls, the truth of who we are – that we are special and that we are meant to live for so much more. If we live out these truths, we will be free, and we will obtain true happiness which lasts forever!
Program Coordinator, Commission on Youth – Diocese of Novaliches AB Asian Studies Graduate, University of Sto. Tomas 21 years old
Roy Wilson Villafania
Live Pure has touched the hearts of many young people here in the Philippines and abroad. Here is what one youth has to say on how being part of the Live Pure Movement has made a difference in his life:
I can say that the Live Pure Movement is God’s way of reminding me of my greater purpose in this world. Before I came to know and experience the Live Pure Movement, I was living a dark and sinful life. Then came this golden opportunity for me to realize what I’ve been doing in my younger years. The Live Pure Movement taught me many lessons, but one thing really struck me the most – the lesson of chastity. It is a certain fact that we are now living in a modern and a more liberated world wherein young people are striving to be young, wild, and free (as what Wiz Khalifa’s song suggests). It was really hard for me to accept this teaching of chastity because I was used to impure practices. But, the Live Pure Movement taught me that there’s still hope. And now, I’ve learned to respect myself, my body and sexuality as well as those of others especially that of the opposite sex. It changed the way I see things regarding sexuality.
From then on, I learned to be strong against temptations, lust and carnal desires. Sex is indeed a sacred thing and we should all be chaste in thoughts, words and actions. Real men know the right time. Real men have self-control and real men know how to respect himself. Real men know how to respect others, especially women. With these realizations, I’ve decided to live a chaste and pure life. I must say it is not easy, but a rather arduous task. But with the grace of God I know I can make it through. I want to share the same conviction to my fellow young people so that their lives will not be put to waste. We are born for greater things, for a greater purpose. We should live a chaste and holy life.
Children are our models of humble faith in God. Young as they are, Jesus marked their place in God’s kingdom. Many are called but few are chosen to teach His words and guide people to a life of holiness. We can become childlike in the service of His little ones and His favor shall be upon us. Jesus said in the Scriptures, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me... (Matthew 18:2-6).
By Melea Pasagui
been part of CFC-KFL’s Dance Ministry since 2009. He also sent me to Olongapo City for a KFL Mission Trip!
I will treasure my KFL experience and share it to my future children when the time comes. So that when they grow up, they will also come to live in God and experience His love through His blessings, being able to share it to their future children, too.
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9
“I felt privileged that I was part of a kid’s spiritual growth. I realized that as I served the young, God blesses me with His wisdom.”
When God called me to serve in Kids for Family and Life (KFL), I doubted His call. I felt that I was not qualified to serve in this ministry. I did not know how to be with someone younger than I am. It was not my comfort zone and God knew it. Nevertheless, I trusted Him and accepted His mission. Through time, I felt privileged that I was part of a child’s spiritual growth. I realized that as I served the young, God blesses me with His wisdom. I began to know more of Him through the simple talks and activities of KFL. God also reminded me of my childhood through the kids I have come to love. He slowly revealed His wisdom in all the things I have been through when I was young. He not only guides the kids but also heals those who faithfully serve Him. Since then, God continuously blessed me with mission. I have been called to be the District ‘Ate’ of Cubao for three years. I have been able to attend all the World Kids’ Congresses and I have
Last summer, CFC-KFL Iba, Zambales held their 1st Kids’ Camp in St. Joseph’s College. I saw God’s hand as He guided the service team and the coordinators. They prayed everyday and every hour for a fruitful harvest. They served the kids with eagerness and patience. The kids went back to their families full of joy and peace in their hearts. God was in the center of that event and He made the camp victorious. Victory was also in the hearts of those who served Him.
ENCE PERI KC EX MY W
By L na a Ta g u l i ouis o
WORLD KIDS CONFERENCE. Whenever I hear those words, the words that pop in my head are excitement, happiness, fun, learning, tiredness and serving the Lord. I have experienced so much in the WKC throughout the years and I keep and cherish all of those memories in my heart. When I heard the official date of this year’s WKC, I jumped up and down in excitement! I had a big smile on my face! This was because the WKC is what I always look forward to every summer. My summer would be incredibly boring without the WKC. Here are five reasons why:
3. The Fire Hose Bath – Shower Power! ☺ What would WKC be without the famous activity that everyone loves? Everyone looooves the fire hose bath! Come on! I mean, you don’t get to do that every day! For others, that’s just once in a lifetime! No one can afford to miss that experience! Year in and year out, it’s a certified hit! 4. WKC – a place for learning Just like in school, we learn something new every minute in the WKC. We usually learn something new through the talks and sessions that help us become closer to God. This year’s theme was LIVE LIKE JESUS. We learned and understood more about it through the workshops, with the help of 5 symbols: a heart, a leaf, a drop of water, a white flower, and a cross.
Kids Praise – Singing and Dancing In the WKC, we serve God through many ways. One service is through singing worship songs and dancing for Him. It was a privilege to become a performer in the WKC – singing and dancing during the program, because those who did, stood as an ate and kuya to the other kids. You become a role model! And like what our ates always say, from all the kids that God could have chosen to serve Him, He chose us. For that, I am very grateful. 2. Friends, friends, friends! Every WKC , I am always happy because I get to see my friends and hang out with them. We even had a chance to meet even more new friends! That’s also what the WKC is all about - sharing our lives with others. I am very sure that there is not one person who did not enjoy the WKC! What is there not to be happy about? Every single moment brought us joy! I have no regrets in joining this year’s conference! All the tiredness was all worth it!
Getting tired for the Lord! Whenever, it is time for the WKC, you should be ready to get sweaty. You should get ready to be very, very tired! In the WKC, you have no escape from tiredness! You cannot avoid it! But it’s all worth it! Everything that we do is for the Lord. Actually, what we are doing cannot repay what God did for us so we should give all our best The heart stands for love. In this workshop, we even if it is very tiring. It is the least that we can do learned to love the people who surround us, to thank God for His sacrifices for us. Every single we learned to honor and obey our parents, we little thing that we can, we offer back to God. And learned to be a good example to others especially we do it whole-heartedly. the people younger than us. Every WKC is always worth it. I alThe leaf stands for our environment. In this work- ways learn many new things, I meet new friends, shop, we learned to take care of mother earth, we and I understand God better, which leads me closer to Him. The WKC experience cannot be fully learned to reduce, reuse, and recycle! described through words. It is too wonderful to The drop of water stands for cleanliness. In this be described. A lot of people put so much effort to workshop, we learned how to take good care of make this happen for us kids. We should be very our body since it is the temple of the Holy Spirit, grateful. But of course, we should be most grateful to the Lord for sending good people who made and we learned to stay fit and healthy. this happen for us. I am looking forward for next The white flower stands for purity. Here, we year and the years that will follow. learned the proper clothes to wear, we learned to Lord, thank You for giving me a be honest at all times, and we learned how to be chance to be involved in this work of art You pure in thought, speech, and action. made! I am sure You will continue to enlighten Lastly, the cross stands for faith. This workshop us to touch other people’s lives the same way You taught us how to pray. All of these learning expe- touched ours.
riences, brought us closer to God and taught us to love, live and pray like Jesus! ☺ 5.
One with p16 the Church
The work being done by the young ministries of Diocese of Paranaque for the young in the Catholic Church. Diocesan involvement, sharing our charism to others, unity in diversity.
the Catholic Church. It is God’s providence that we are able to be one in serving Him through diocesan efforts. The privilege of being able to share the blessings that God has given us as a community brings joy as we are able to really affect lives through the things we have learned in our own community, CFC FFL. One great blessing that we receive from the service is the good relationships that we were able to establish with everyone we serve with. From fellow youth leaders to priests handling youth commissions in the diocese, we gained friends as we served. It opened the way for us to serve, one step at a time, in the parishes and areas where our YFL members live. In some vicariates in the diocese, our YFL servants are part of regular meetings and part of the implementations of the programs. Also, there are parishes that our YFLs serve as the music ministry in the masses. The youth of today are in need of proper direction and pastoral care from their families, society and the Church. Given the impact that the media has on the lives of our young men and women, it is inevitable that with all sorts of influences around them, they would live by the ways of the world. CFC-YFL is blessed to have a deep and wide selection of pastoral formation programs to help guide the young of today. That is why these are what we offered to our brothers and sisters in the Diocese. Thank God, we are able to implement our Youth Camp programs as part of their formation programs in some parishes. The Live Pure Movement of our community has really been a blessing as we have been invited to conduct overnight retreats for parishes. It is great to serve in and with the Church. It is not just because we are able to share what we know and have as a community but more likely because we are being one with them amidst the diversity of our charisms. The blessing of the inspiration that we are not alone in winning souls back to God is a great experience we get from this service. Yes, we serve and give it all this but it does not compare to what we receive in return - being strongly connected to the bigger Body of Christ, the Catholic Church.
CFC YFL World
Anchored from the verse Deuteronomy 30:19, the annual World Youth Congress (WYC) happened last April 13-15, 2012 at the Our Lady of La Sallette University, Santiago, Isabela. The WYC is an annual gathering of CFC YFL leaders. This year, around 6,000 attended the said event.
Walang ibang buhay, kundi kay Kristo. Walang ibang dahilan, kundi si Kristo lamang.
empower the community’s young servant-leaders. The workshops were (1) Believe, Cool Catholic’s The Summit, which was about the Mass; (2) Life Direction, a discernment workshop; (3) Live To Excel, on study habits and time management; (4) Live Loud, on public speaking; (5) Simple Living, an appreciation workshop on our Work With the Poor Ministry; (6) Meant To Live on how to present the Live Pure Movement®; (7) Defend Life, on understanding the Reproductive Health bill; (8) Live chaste, on how to give a chastity talk; (9) Live GIG, about financial stewardship; (10) Live Your Passion, a 1:7 workshop – on media, creative, and talents; and (11), Living Word, how to conduct Liturgical Bible Study; they were all given during the afternoon of the second day. All the sessions and workshops aimed to direct us on living life to the fullest, with Christ, and that life’s greatest regret is to miss living that point.
Youth Congress 2012:
The CFC-YFL Diocese of Paranaque has been serving in the Diocesan Commission on Youth (DCOY) for close to four years now. It is with much joy and gratitude that we were given the chance to be part of it. CFC YFL has been serving through the major diocesan events such as Mission Possible (Annual Diocesan Youth gathering), Takbo para kay Kristo (advocacy-based fun run spearheaded by DCOY), and Uno Per Cristo (Annual Gathering of Transparochial groups). Some of our coordinators and servant leaders in YFL and SFL have been blessed to be part of the core team that serves as the group that leads the transparochial arm of the DCOY for its planning and implementation. Through the years of serving the Church and through the activities and fellowship with our brothers and sisters, we have been blessed. Being of service to the Diocese brings blessings to our community because as we share our charism, gifts, talents and resources, we also get blessed by their gifts, talents and resources. As we serve with different lay communities, we are able to appreciate the different charisms of each group. We may serve in different ways and may differ in structure, but our service through the Church made it clear to us that we belong to One Body, the Body of Christ,
The WYC started with a celebration of the Mass presided by the Bishop of the Diocese of Ilagan, His Excellency Joseph A. Nacua, OFM. There were three main sessions in the Congress: Meet Christ given by Jepoy Meneses, which was capped with the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; Live Christ given by Cocoi Javier, with a renewal of community covenants; and Share Christ given by Rev. Fr. Francis Gustilo, SDB in his homily within the Holy Eucharist. An on-going-whole-day reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation happened on the Saturday of the WYC. A Brothers Forum and a Sisters Forum were held separately in the morning of the second day. It talked about love and life and experiencing them to the full – real freedom, total happiness, and true love. After the fora, sessions were held for both campus (college) and high school students, where they were empowered to be excellent students by starting and strengthening YFL clubs and school organizations.
The 6,000 youths left Santiago, Isabela looking forward for WYC 2013 in Lucena, Quezon. But more than that, they left more ready than ever to hold onto a life full of hope in Jesus, for there is no other way to live life than to live in Christ.
Different workshops were also given to equip and
The Munoz Family is a typical CFC FFL Family. Jess and Nil, both 58 years old, were blessed to have three lovely daughters and one son who all served the Lord: Mi-an, 32, Janssen, 27, Giselle, 25 and Jenille, 20. The people who knew them well admired them for being a family who was willing to help anyone in need. They live a good life. Just like Job, they were blessed with the abundant things in life. Sure, they had trials individually, but there was nothing like their experience in 2011 that united them as a family to endure the “storm” that threatened to shake the once peaceful household. February 2011 was a time when the entire family’s faith was tested. In Mi-an’s words, it was “a Job moment.” At the time of this interview, Jess and Nil were celebrating thirty three years of God’s faithfulness in their marriage. As we sat down for the dinner-interview, the atmosphere was joyful. There seemed to be no traces left of whatever pain they all went through the past year.
God’s Faithfulness after the Storm
A Job Moment:
STT: Good evening, Jess and Nil! We are delighted to join you in celebrating your 33rd wedding anniversary! Both of you still look young and in love. How young were you when you entered community and how did you come to know of Couples for Christ (CFC)? Jess: It was 1995 and I had a deal with a good friend of mine. He was asking me to run as director of our village’s association but I decline and passed the hat to him. He agreed but he told me that in exchange, I had to join CFC. I wasn’t able to say no. The first time we attempted to join, though, that was 1992, I remember the facilitator telling us during the 3rd talk of that CLS that if we didn’t feel like it, it was okay. Nil: So he did not continue. STT: What made you stay? Jess: But we officially joined in 1995.
Janssen: It is in community where I found my best friends. I have a lot of best friends but four of them came from this community. Nil: Up to now they are still together.
Jess: I enjoyed it already! But the others were right when they say this is a way of life. Especially when we were assigned to the youth ministry. Nil: That was 1997, when we were also given a household. In addition to what Jess said, I think it was because of the support of the community. They are always there when you need them, not only during the bad times. They are like family. I remember our household head saying that we were closer than our real brothers and sisters. We always see each other. Whatever problem we face, they are always there to help us out. STT: How many years have you served as youth coordinators? Jess: 5 years. Feeling youth pa at that time. STT: How did the community affect each one’s life?
Janssen: Even if we are leading different lives now in different places here and abroad, we still communicate. And it is true that in community, you get to know people who will be your friends for life. In a way, when I see my high school friends or college friends and I see them easily tempted by people who influence them not to do good, I consider myself blessed that I am in a good environment. It affected who I am today and in the future. Actually, even if the four of us aren’t that active in community anymore, we still do outreach activities yearly. It was being together in one community that inspired us to form a program called PARE and we bring underprivileged kids out to excursions. I’m glad to have friends who think that way since I find it extraordinary for someone my age to be involved in that. Gis: For me, it helped me find my purpose by dealing with people from different walks of life. It makes you look at yourself and what you can do for society. It expands your world since I know a lot of friends in school who don’t really see the realities of life. It helped me get immersed in these realities and inspired me to study law and help others Mi-an: Bb. Pilipinas answer! (Note: Giselle was one of the contestants in this year’s Bb. Pilipinas)
Jenille: The community made me more grateful … because you learn to appreciate even the littlest thing, like relationships in community. You find many reasons to be happy about. From those relationships too, you get inspiration and purpose to serve more and more.
Mi-an: My take on this is, basically you find support in growing in the faith, in terms of prayer life. It’s different when you have a household where there are people who check up on how you are handling life, especially with what we have gone through last year. It was that time when I was tested, actually the entire family, since I felt that all our life, we were privileged to be given far more than what we wanted. When last year happened, I was very grateful I was part of community. If not, I don’t think I will be able to accept that mom got sick with cancer. STT: Going into that, prior to what happened last
Mi-an: When we wake up, we eat breakfast together for three hours.
year, what was the typical day in the Munoz household?
Jansen: And dad goes to Facebook to post jokes!
Gis: And Mochi, our Chow-Chow (dog) joins us. Mi-an: On weekdays, since Jen and Gis live in the north area due to school, it’s me, kuya, pops and mom. We do this big family breakfast thing every Sunday. STT: Tell us about the illness. Nil: I had a mammogram last February of 2011. They found a small lump and it was in March that I was biopsied. We came from a trip abroad. We thought it was only on the early stages, but after a scan to verify, I learned that it was stage IV.
Jen: They didn’t tell me right away and for the longest time, I thought everything was okay since I didn’t know what stage it was. And then I learned from mama’s best friend that it was stage IV and mama told us that she had six months to live. I hid and cried about it since I was not used to crying in front of them. I had school in the north and it was difficult for me since I wanted to be home always. But for some odd reason, I felt it was not yet mama’s time since she is a big blessing to others. I felt that it wasn’t the end for her since she has more to give and more to people to inspire. I felt God won’t let us down. STT: After learning about the illness, what became the typical day/week in the Munoz household? Jess: For this I’d like to honor Gis. She was set to take the bar exams last year when this happened and she put it off. She was the one who mostly took care of Nil since the kids opted not to get a private duty nurse. They took turns caring for Nil. Mi-an: We took shifts in caring for mom, especially when she went in and out of the hospital. Nil: It was not just chemotherapy. I had to go in and out of the hospital due to complications such as having water in the lungs. As for Gis, she was really there especially in moments of pain. STT: Did you ever think of putting a hold to service in the community because of this incident? Janssen: We didn’t think of it since quitting community was like quitting a family. The titos Jess: I didn’t think about it since the community was there praying for us. They texted us, they e-mailed.
Jess: When it was first told to me that it was stage III, I was not that alarmed since it was still curable but when the biopsy result came and it said that it was stage IV, my mind advanced to thoughts of her leaving me. But what was affirming was the fact that the kids’ faith were unwavering, especially that of Mian’s. She told me of a vision she saw when we went to St. Jude that Jesus, in His white robe, was beside Nil. I was holding on to whatever Mi-an was saying even if the facts said it was too late for a cure. It was really a miracle, even her oncologist said so. Mi-an: It never crossed my mind that it was the end of the line. I couldn’t explain why. Sometimes when I was alone, I cried a few times, but I saw mom fighting and that gave me the reason to hope.
and titas were always in the hospital, doing prayovers. Jess: Even our friends in CFC GMFI prayed for Nil.
Mi-an: It was not just because we were getting prayers out of being part of community, but because this has been our avenue to serve, an opportunity to please God that even in times of trial we still continue to serve Him. STT: After all the chemotherapy cycles and radiation, when were you declared cancerfree? Jess: After 6 months. STT: We heard you went to St. Jude regularly. Mi-an: That was before the diagnosis. We initially went there to pray for papa’s ear since the doctor said one of his ears became clinically deaf. Mi-an: And then, we learned of mama’s illness so all our prayers went to ask for mama’s healing.
Nil: Brother Frank Padilla even visited me in my condo to pray-over me.
Jess: Nil’s treatment cost us a lot. It cost us millions. One miracle was that we didn’t know that we had insurance money since Nil got that insurance two years prior to getting cancer just so she can help a friend who offered it to her. Plus, we had this collectible that we considered bad debt and that suddenly got collected. Everything was
erties. But because of the love of community, she won because people campaigned for her and texted countless votes. Gis didn’t expect to win. She shocked even her handlers. STT: Today, you celebrate your 33 years of marriage. The community, on the other hand, is celebrating its 31st anniversary. As we look into the next 19 years to gold, which will be your 52nd anniversary, what do you envision for the future?
Nil: Like Batanes!
Nil: By then, I will still be healthy, serving the Lord and going on missions together as husband and wife, wherever God leads us to. STT: What lessons did you learn from this experience that your family can share to others? Mian: To never doubt. It is important to have constant communication with God since it makes you grow in faith so that when these things happen, one is already prepared. Personally, looking back at what happened, I am grateful that we became closer as a family. Just like Job who had a good life and it was tested. We believe that it is important to simply trust the Lord with everything and hope for a better future. As for a better future, I know God is a faithful God and it is not impossible for Him that in 19 years time, dad and mom will still be there to witness the debut of my first child, and other family milestones. I never doubted because I was assured God was faithful.
STT: After this miracle that happened to Nil, were there other miracles that occurred after this stormy part of your lives?
Nil: When I got sick, I realized that one purpose why this sickness had to happen was that so I’d take a break from work. Since I’m a workaholic, I think God said I have to stop now and put my focus now on serving Him. It was a wake-up call. I was able to pray a lot and I was able to pray for others too. I had this notebook where I write the people who needed prayers too. Like Mi-an and her lovelife.
Nil: She is now engaged! I also prayed for others even in pain. It was my way of thanking the community who prayed for me.
Jess: Some people offered their 3pm and 3am prayers for Nil.
Nil: One miracle too was what happened recently when Gis joined Bb. Pilipinas. Gis: I didn’t win.
Nil: But you did win the People’s Choice Award! We thought she couldn’t win since she had competitors who owned a hospital, who had big prop-
Jess: Well, Mi-an will be getting married by the end of the year, and hopefully one more will get married next year. By then all of them will have their own families.
Jess: Nil is semi-retired so Jansen is now ready to take on the business. By then, I will still be serving and taking on whatever mission area they give me.
Janssen: As for me, I was actually envious of Ate Mi-an and Jen who were strong in their faith. I found it difficult for me since I was angry when it happened. I found it unfair because mom was a good person. After it all, when mom was healed, it was a slap on my face. He seemed to say why would He fail us now when He had been good to us all our lives? Nil: I thank God that He purified me through it all, He purified my family. I realized what redemptive suffering was. I thought that maybe I was in pain in order to offer it to others. When you trust the Lord, He will do the best for you. Every trial, every problem is a blessing!
Jen: I learned that the darker it gets, it makes you cling harder to the only light you have God. The darker it gets, there is always a reason behind it. I learned to be to be grateful for everything. What happened allowed us to show our mom that we are grateful for her by being the ones there to serve her when she needed it the most.
ON TO GOLD!
entists, up to this day, are trying to transform into gold. But it will take an extraordinary huge amount of lead in order to transform it to the luster, malleability and preciousness of gold. There has only been one successful attempt of this experiment and this happened in 1951, when Glenn Seaborg, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, succeeded in transmuting a huge amount of lead into a minute quantity of gold. Just a very small amount of it! We look around us and we see a highly-secular secular world trying to undermine our Catholic faith and attacking the fundamental issues of family and life. With this in view, where do we start? Nazareth, echoed what Christ exhorted in His sermon on the mount: “Purity of heart is what enables us to see.” And there are no better eyes whose vision can see through life in its simplicity than st through the eyes of the young. This is also why children are regarded as special by Christ when He said in Matthew 18:3-5 that “unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Therefore, to seek the fullness of life, a th life in Christ, is to see through the heart of a child. May we derive inspiration from the different movements in our youth ministries! How, in their idealism and passion, they seek to live lives of freedom, happiness and love. How, in their hunger to know God more and serve God more, we are moved to do the same. After all, by 2021 or 2031, who shall be the next generation of CFCs but these little ones? With eyes of a child, it is easy to see the other essentials as we journey on this road to gold. We see the great mission before us, the call to evangelize and bring the cause of Christ in these critical times. One with Pope Benedict XVI, we gear up for battle against the relentless assaults to the Catholic Church; we renew the call of evangelization, thus our participation in this era of New Evangelization. We have planted the seeds anew, through Live Christ, Share Christ and the other efforts of the ministries – Live Pure, Work with the Poor, Liturgical Bible Study, Corporate Evangelization, etc. In order to do all of these and sustain these to bear greater fruit, it is imperative for us to grow more in our faith by faithfully striving to know God truly; not by the dictates of what the world says is true, but by Truth in the person of Christ. “Truth is not determined by a majority vote.” (Pope Benedict XVI) Lastly, what is the essential of all essentials? Love. It is because
For years, scientists have tried to turn different metals into what we perceive as the most precious of all - gold. And who would not want to discover how seemingly ordinary elements, yielding different atomic numbers, can be altered to that perfect seventy-nine proton structure?
“Gold” comes from the Latin word aurum. Sources, influenced by gold’s value in ancient civilization, lead us to how it came to mean “shining dawn.” Its exquisite properties made it one of the most possessed throughout history. Wars occurred because of it. Positions in society were determined by how much gold one owned. Chemistry says that gold is stable and to change one element to another, the number of protons that constitute it should be changed. This process is where the biggest difficulty comes in, as it will take a huge amount of energy to do so! Take lead, for example. The earth has an abundant supply of lead. Lead is an element that countless sci-
As we celebrate our 31st year as Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life, we look forward to gold – our 50th year. Nineteen more years of this privilege of renewing families and defending life, and then a golden year – 2031. We likewise move in haste, through the fire of the Spirit, in these next nine years to the 500th year of Catholicism in the Philippines 2021! In order to do this, we should allow ourselves to be purified so that from something common, like lead, we may be transformed into shining gold.
When we were kids, we came across this book that immortalized this quote: “It is only through the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” (from “The Prince” by Exupery). Doesn’t this quote still apply to what is happening today? We oftentimes forget to see the essentials! We look beyond what is in front of us, searching far and wide for the meaning of life, when life itself can only be found in Christ. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! (Jn 14:6) There is no other way to life but through Christ. Pope Benedict XVI, in Jesus of
As we hit our 31 year as Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life, we look forward to the next nineteen years to gold--to our 50 year in renewing families and defending life
of the love of God that we are all able to do these acts of love: building a Christian family, going on missions here and there, saying yes to religious life, being excellent in school, in the workplace, or in our service in the community or in the parish. We fundamentally live our lives in Christ because He loved us first. (1 Jn 4:19) We tirelessly strive to preach His Gospel of love because He showed us the greatest love of all when He stretched out His arms in Calvary. It is because we have received this love that we are enabled to love others back. Ordinary people as we are, we are made extraordinary by the love of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Spirit, and through the intercession of our Mother Mary. Through the vast power of this Trinitarian love, we are slowly transformed to gold, precious in His sight. As we look into a future full of hope and as we allow the Lord to purify us into “shining dawn,” we hope that others may also see the luster of Christ’s love through us. We do not stop. We continue walking and striving to live the life according to the gold standard – the life of holiness that He has set before us . With science, lead to gold may be impossible, but with Christ, nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37). Let us all seek to reach this shining dawn! On to Gold!
Having a child is a blessing. I always had that dream of raising a family, playing with my kids and reading bedtime stories to my kids. I had always dreamt of having that joy and laughter that come with the challenges of parenting. When Reese was born, Grace and I were awed by the fact that we were blessed to have a child of our own. I still vividly remember the very first time I held her and talked to her. I still remember the joy of seeing every milestone and accomplishment that we had. I dreamt of building a strong Christian family, where values and family relationships are anchored on the teaching and ways of the Lord. And having our second child made the dream even more exciting. Gia came at the time when Reese was old enough to show a good example and to look after her younger sister. It also gave us the chance to share to Reese the Christian values while waiting for the next baby. Gia is a blessing to us. Her smile and her kind face remind us of the beauty of parenting that it makes me even more grateful to the Lord. Every time I finished work, I always look forward to seeing her. I anticipate being able to play with her. The smile on her face and the small sound that she seems to whisper put me to awe. I thank the Lord for the gift of life and for entrusting to us two lovely kids. Reese and Gia are blessings to us; they are reminders of God’s love and faithfulness. They are our treasures - the greatest gifts we have ever received. They are truly God’s gifts to me and Grace.
By PAT OCONER
Realizations On Loving and Living: o f aF a t h e r
By COCOI JAVIER
teen hours of labor from the time her bag of water broke at around twelve midnight. I was with Gay the whole time so I saw how painful it was for her. I was allowed to witness everything as she had Pablo through normal delivery. I assisted the midwife in bringing Pablo into the world. Pablo was left in the hospital for two more weeks in the Intensive Care Unit. It was difficult for us to see him with all the tubes and needles stuck on him and I had to leave for a mission to Greece two days after his birth. I left my wife and son at the hospital.
just helping Gay, but I was also the one who cut the umbilical cord. It was very symbolic for me, as if I was saying, “It’s not just your mom who you will depend on from this day forward. Here I am.” Lourdes came just a few months ago. This time around, the whole pregnancy and birth happened here in the Philippines. We were quite concerned as we did not know how things are here. We were used to the style and the system in Europe and it was quite different from what we experienced here. Praise God that our Ob-Gyn was Dr. Myrna Purugganan, who is a CFC FFL Leader from the District of Novaliches! She was very helpful and truly wonderful in helping Gay all through out as it was quite a difficult pregnancy. Gay had bleeding a number of times during her pregnancy so she had to be put on bed rest for a couple of weeks. We also had a few false alarms so we kept on rushing to St. Luke´s, only to be sent home a couple of times. And on our last check up, we were told to wait for the baby to come so Gay was admitted already. We thought that we would only wait for two hours but lo and behold, two days after, Gay was still pregnant. She was at the labor room, waiting for the contractions to come, while I was at a private room waiting, as well, for a call from
Every child is unique. I know this for a fact. I have three children who are very different from each other. They all came into the world in different situations and I made sure that I was there always to welcome them. Pablo was born on June 21, 2008. He came to our life almost a year after our marriage. Gay (my wife) was pregnant with him when we left the Philippines for Europe to be a missionary couple there. It was a difficult pregnancy for Gay as we were still adjusting to our new situation there and she had a pre-eclamptic scare. She was confined for about a month before the delivery due to high blood pressure and Pablo was born five weeks premature. Gay had to undergo thir-
(Note: Gia was born last February 6, 2012. Reese is already 5 years old.)
Benita came two years after. She was born February 5, 2010 also in Vienna, Austria like her older brother. It was an easier pregnancy for Gay, probably because we already had gone through it before and she was more confident this time. We knew the ins and outs of the Ob-Gyn visits, the tests and the like. There was no high blood or diabetic scare. Everything was normal and even the labor was a lot shorter. We had a few false alarms though until Benita was born a day early of the expected date. Gay labored for three hours. She did a little bit of calisthenics for a while to induce the baby to come. I assisted her all through out this and I also was with the midwife during the delivery. I really had a hand in the process as I was not
the doctor when she will be transferred to the delivery room. The call came on April 22, third day of being checked in at St. Luke´s. The delivery happened so fast that when the call from the delivery room came, I ran and changed for a few minutes to the required scrubs and when I arrived, Lourdes was already out. Everything happened in about ten minutes or so from the time the call was placed. It was very different from Pablo’s and Benita´s. I did not have a part in the delivery process as it was not allowed here in the Philippines, unlike in Vienna, but I was with Gay and Lourdes nonetheless. How does it feel now? Well, in each of these occasions that Gay gave birth, it was truly overwhelming and I realized a lot of things: 1. My wife had great difficulty and pain from pregnancy to birth. Seeing her go through all of it for our kids and for me made me love her more. 2. I grew in greater admiration of my wife as I saw her bear and endure everything. I do not think I can do the same. God is truly wise to not let the men get pregnant. 3. Pregnancies and births no matter how scary, painful and bloody, especially if it is normal delivery without any anesthesia as Gay had it, are met with great expectations and joy in the end. 4. The best things in life have to be worked hard for and waited on. They do not come instantly.
5. All of my three kids came into the world differently and in different circumstances. They are all unique and different yet I love them all equally. We are all unique and God loves us all equally yet differently. 6. As the number of children grows, the love is not divided or lessened. It actually grows and multiplies. True love, then, is not like a pie that is divided into slices with the number of children as people claim it to be. The pie actually multiplies or grows exponentially that each kid would have a full serving of it. 7. The more children we have, the more we grow in love, the more we become like our Heavenly Father who loves us all unconditionally. Gay and I grow more in selflessness and generosity to our children, in such a way that we are okay if nothing is left with us anymore as long as our children have what they need. We are able to understand and learn more how to love just as our God loves. Our children help us then to be the best version of ourselves. 8. It is true that if we choose to love, we choose life and if we choose life we choose to love. To love is to live and to live is to love. Some people say that we already have a lot of kids but I disagree. If God wills it, we want more. What a wonderful feeling it is to love! Why curtail it? We pray that the next time around, it will be twins!
some extent. But God affirmed us. Why would we turn our backs and deny ourselves of the grace of serving Him? So, we heeded and embraced the task He has laid out for us. It felt right... fulfilling. We have been truly blessed.
JUNE 2012 MAG
Being a young couple was not a hindrance in serving the SFL community. Rather, it gave us the advantage of relating to them more naturally. We always prefer to delve in with the activities through a young mind’s way, where the approach is how to make activities both spiritual and enjoyable. Sometimes it does feel like we were still singles.
It has been roughly five years now and our long trip has not always been smooth sailing. But the countless encounters with Christ are enough to propel us forward through the storms. Praise God, we are still here … more alive in Christ than ever! Rhea and I were among the pioneering members of CFC Singles for Family and Life here in Dumaguete. Since joining CFC SFL, our lives significantly changed through God’s abounding grace. The community became an integral part of our relationship, putting Christ at the center of everything.
Happily Married and Serving in CFC SFL
By Gerard and Rhea Fernandez
end of our service in SFL. We were wrong. Instead, it became a transition and a spiritual journey as servant-leaders of this very vibrant ministry. Yes, we unexpectedly became the Couple Coordinators of SFL Dumaguete. Our conviction became more deeply anchored in Christ, and the affirmation of serving Him more and more within our married life has brought us to the vessel of faith where we were given the rare blessing to share the love of Christ to single men and women. Facing a considerably huge responsibility, we knew that carrying out such calling would demand unfaltering commitment. At first, it was frightening to
However, handling young people is not just all play. Certain serious issues must be appropriately addressed as well. We know that apart from being their kuya and ate, we also need to be disciplinarians and take the roles of second parents to these young adults. Spiritual nourishment of members is always in our to-do list. And teachings ought to be imparted to them on a regular basis.
look for Leean Rosal 02 7182213 or email us at email@example.com
Fast forward, we eventually got married. We thought it was the
Instilling values really requires patience and sacrifice. And this has been a constant challenge to us. But Rhea and I are really good partners in “crime”. We are stronger when we work together. Surely, obstacles may arise from time to time. But because we have received the gifts of faith, wisdom and guidance, and by the grace of Christ, we will be fine. We know we are not perfect for the task entrusted to us, but if it is the will of the Lord, Rhea and I are here to stay in service to our brethren.
Changed Through the Word By Lui Lagasca,
You know how your Algebra teacher makes all the solutions easy, but when you try to do it yourself nothing seems easy at all? That was how I felt about the Gospel whenever I attended mass.
When I was first invited to attend a Liturgical Bible Study (LBS) session, I laughed it off. I thought it was a code name for a silly thing to do. When I realized that it was a serious invite, I prepared an excuse to escape. But my good and persuasive conscience prevailed over me and so I attended. Before the session started, I already made up my mind that
“I believe in God, I don’t really need this.”
After attending that one LBS session, I then understood that there is more to learn than just hearing the Gospel of the Lord. It is like dissecting a body to understand how it fully works. When you begin to understand, then it will be easier to take good care of the body, because you know what is good and bad for you. Spiritually, that was how LBS changed me. Knowing is far more different from understanding. I knew then, but I did not really understand. I heard the Gospel, but I did not really listen. And now, that I have listened and understood His Word, through the LBS, I now try to live a life like Him. This is why I have decided to join a Catholic community, CFC Singles for Family and Life. In
community, I get to hear people with great stories and meet people with positive views in life. I am moved by people with strong convictions. In this sometimes chaotic world, it is good to know that there are still many of us, who choose to stay still… still in His presence. You know how sometimes you try to deny a feeling? It just might be your real deep desire. God knows exactly what I need and I have found just that. Thanks to LBS!
(Note: Lui is a Physical Education teacher at Colegio de San Agustin (CSA). She joined CFC SFL after attending several LBS sessions conducted for the teachers at CSA.)
Crossworks, a CFC SFL program of bringing the cause of Christ in the workplace, changed my life at work.
Life at work in Accenture was nothing more than following a routine: going to the office in the morning, enjoying the music on my ipod, drinking coffee while rushing to meet work deadlines, attending one meeting after another, and getting a quick lunch in between, writing emails that seemed to mutate each minute, and getting my pay every 15th and 30th of the month. As we work in our cubicles, the only sound one hears are the continuous tapping of our fingers in our keyboards. I usually do overtime work, and when there are big meetings, I shy away from it. I cannot wait till the weekend arrived.
extraordinary. During morning coffee breaks, my officemates and I now share stories, and not gossips. At our work cubicles, we now take time to talk and laugh in between writing emails. We now enjoyed our lunch breaks, and as we attend meetings, we are blessed with confidence. God was also able to touch those I was working with because even if the responsibilities are big, we manage to deliver our work and at the same time make things light and happy. I go home now, from work, full of joy and with a sense of fulfillment. When I said yes to service, God made a way such that I could not even remember now the last time I had an allergic rhinitis attack or the last time I visited a doctor for a check up. Even though I have more work load now, God’s grace that keeps me healthy and more happy.
through the SFL Crossworks Program
By Haidz Grijalvo
Back then, I was also a frequent patient in hospitals because of a serious case of allergic rhinitis and weak respiratory system. Yes, I used to use up all of my strength, and maximize the use of my health card as well. But because of God’s love and perfect plan, He directed me to join a community where I gained strength and a sense of direction. I will always be thankful to my loving parents, Tita Reena Murga and Tita Che Sison for leading me attend my first CFC Singles for Family and Life (CFC SFL) Christian Life Seminar (CLS) in Novaliches. SFL opened me to a lot of opportunities. I met friends I know will keep for a lifetime. I learned more about the Bible and to serve in our parish ministry and eventually, in the workplace, as well.
God gave me an opportunity to serve in our workplace. It was a long wait for us before SFL Crossworks was approved in Accenture. But it was worth the wait and that waiting period made us practice our faith. Crossworks is bringing our faith, not just within our community and parish, but also to our workplace, where we usually spend the majority of our time.
through promotion of spirituality in workplace, to increase networking and mentoring opportunities and to serve as a forum to foster personal development and work life balance. I proposed the SFL Crossworks Program in 2010. By God’s grace, it was approved and finally launched in November 2011. As soon as SFL Crossworks was approved and launched last November 2011. From a small group of just four people, it has now grown to 254 members! Crossworks in Accenture helped us value our daily work, putting faith into our jobs that we may have better appreciation towards our craft and the people we worked with. December 2011: “Joy at Work” Most people dread waking up on a Monday morning and they look forward to Friday evenings and weekends when they can have the “real life.” Some just cannot get the real value and meaning of work and they jump from one company or industry to another,
trying to find happiness. But the fact is we are all designed to work. Our work is a gift.
January 2012- “Spirituality in the Workplace” We discovered all the essential elements of workplace spirituality using Seven Principles: Creativity, Communication, Respect, Vision, Partnership, Energy and Flexibility.
When I said yes to service, God turned my life from ordinary to
As a background, Accenture had a program called Inter-Faith Community Group (INFACOM) that aimed to nourish spirituality and to seek to connect individuals who wish to strengthen their support network for common interests such as faith or religion. Its vision is to help find a better balance between faith and work
February 2012- “Being Greater than” In this activity, we had a fellowship dinner to get to know other members. There was music, food, icebreakers and a talk on defining our purpose in making a difference using our time, talent and resources in the workplace. March 2012- “Understanding Stress Cycle” This session was a small group sharing on how to manage and handle stress that may sometimes consume us at work.
March 2012- “Purpose Driven Life Series” April 2012- “Effective Time Management and Balanced Life” This equipped us on how to manage our time, just like Jesus did. Because Jesus shared his quality time with His disciples when they ate and drank in between spreading the Gospel, we, too, learned to do the same through His example. April 2012 – Live Pure The Live Pure team was able to share the values of finding a beautiful life by choosing the chaste life.
We have received lots of feedback that these Crossworks sessions not only helped the employees in nourishing their faith, but by also strengthening their relationships with family and colleagues at work. They, likewise, saw their value in the workplace. I was able to share my faith in Accenture Crossworks because I have a big, strong GOD who believes in me and I have people around me who reminds me of my call to bring the cause Christ to my workplace.
CFC KFL Fulltime Pastoral Worker
Christmas parties, reunions, gatherings, birthdays, Simbang Gabi, family, friends – I missed all of these for almost three months when I went to Taize, France. Nonetheless, God had never been lesser of a God, considering all the blessings and wonderful experiences I had during my whole stay with the Taize community. I prayed, contemplated, and communicated with God. And this realization came: no one is less blessed in this world knowing that God loves everyone regardless of our personal situations. He is excessively and abundantly blessing each one of us. I have seen it and I have heard it. May no one disagree with this truth.
toi Seigneur! By Jermer Cruz,
Family has been, and still is, the most important thing in my life. Home is where I found care, love, and faith. It was where I found Christ. Missing them was one of the worries I had when I left, considering that it was my first time in 24 years to celebrate Christmas without them. During my stay in Taize, I lived in a house named Tilleul, where it was packed with different people coming from different countries, having different cultures and beliefs. Prejudices started to rush in once I entered the common room. Fears and questions rushed in my head as I asked myself and God, “Will I be able to make friends? Will I be able to feel at home?” Then God led me to this verse from Philippians 4:13, “I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me.” Little by little, God gave me the power and confidence to reach out, open up, and build good friendships. And voila! The next thing I knew, the structure that was once just a house became my home. Defense walls were broken down and trust came in. I can hardly recall having a difficult time with homesickness simply because I found home in Taize. Another amazing thing was how we understood each other despite
the language barriers. It was only through the language of Christ’s love that we came to understand each other. We were all there to seek Christ, to know Christ, to hear Christ, and to share Christ. He was our common interest. We were joined by His image and that was the reason why I found myself being united with that family - a picture of solidarity without denying our origins of faith. Living in simplicity also taught me a lot of things. The brothers of the community led us in living a simple life. Though it was difficult, I appreciated the limited use of phone, internet, and other electronic devices because it kept me away from the things that tend to create a small world for us. It brought me back to the basics: sharing stories, joys, and opinions face-to-face instead of Facebook, writing instead of typing, snail mailing instead of e-mailing, reaching out instead of being a fly on the wall. Technology can help build friendships but personal and genuine friendship is more essential. We never stop sharing Christ, and the best way is to live like Him in our daily lives. As Paul Claudel, a French poet, said, “Speak about Christ only when you are asked. But live so that people ask about Christ!”
I have experienced a lot! From simple tasks like cleaning toilets, cooking for the community, putting up tents, translating their quarterly letters from English to Filipino, working in the Church to travelling to the town of Megeve in the South East of France to conduct Taize prayer; going to Berlin and Germany for the annual European meeting; going to Brother Roger’s room (the founder of Taize), and having a chat with Brother Alois. All of these, I am full of thanksgiving to God.
aside for a long time, and I thought that it was alright to simply ignore and forget it. But I was very wrong. God allowed me to confront all of these personal issues, not alone, but with Him. His word in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 became so real: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness… For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
scribed individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the stories that would be written.”
Shower at 6:45 am. Morning prayer. Breakfast. Practical work. Midday prayer. Lunch. Short break. Practical work. Short break. Dinner. Evening prayer. Back to house. This was our day-to-day schedule, except on Sundays which is the day for receiving the Holy Eucharist and a day for rest. But the whole experience was way beyond what was listed in the schedule. It was undeniably more than that.
However, the true climax of my whole journey was the unveiling of who I really was, by God’s grace. This has been the most personal encounter I had with my God. I became the most honest Jermer to Him in this journey. I came naked before the Lord telling Him everything about me. EVERY SINGLE THING - my fears, struggles, trials, and bad memories from the past. And that’s where I found the true me – someone who was very insecure and had a lot of fears in the different aspects of his life; someone who still had secret and unhealed wounds; someone who felt unloved not by the people around him but by himself; someone who was very different from the person he projected to others; and someone who had not yet forgiven himself yet. All of these had been buried and set
I learned that life was not about putting aside the things that hinder us from having a good life. It was not about ignoring them. We work them out, we face them, and we trust that God is with us and will help us with all of these. He became my strength to face and overcome all these. He is my compassionate and forgiving God who never left me in every battle I had. He has been my ever loving and faithful God who keeps His promises. He is my God yesterday, today, and forever. My God who is worthy of all praises and thanksgiving. My heart is full of gratitude and joy for Him and for all the people He used for this great time and journey in my life. I write this joy into words so that I could share them just as what St. John, the evangelist, said, “By which I am one of those who testifies the greatness of the Lord… if these were all to be de-
It is so difficult to put into words the richness of my whole journey in Taize, but allow me to end to conclude this sharing by telling you this: In Taize, we prayed three times a day, 30 minutes at least for every prayer period. And we prayed through singing. But there is one song that could capture, in a way, my whole experience. The title of the song is “El Senor” and the words are, “In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful, in the Lord I will rejoice. Look to God, do not be afraid. Lift up your voices the Lord is near; lift up your voices, the Lord is near.” In Filipino, “Sa Diyos magpapasalamat, sa Kanya’y magagalak. Masdan Siya at huwag mangamba. Siya’y kapiling, Siya’y Ama; Siya’y kapiling, Siya’y Ama.” I am someone who will forever be thankful to God who has made me secure in His love. I will never stop sharing these wonderful and amazing stories about Him to more people. Gloire a toi Seigneur, por toujours et a jamais! Glory to you oh Lord, forever and ever!
Looking into the Year of Faith!
By VANIE RIVERA
In Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), an apostolic letter which was released last October 17, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will be launching the Year of Faith for 2012. It will begin on October 11, 2012, which is also the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Vatican Council II, and will end on the Feast of Christ the King on November 24, 2013. The launching day of the Year of Faith also marks the 20th Anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church – a text about the power and beauty of the faith promulgated by Blessed John Paul II. The pope wrote, “A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with Him. This ‘standing with Him’ points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes… Profession of faith is an act both personal and communitarian.” Furthermore, the Pope explains that faith today is being challenged by changed mentality to a great extent than in the past. This changed mentality “limits the field of rational certainties to that of scientific and technological discoveries.” But the Church is steadfast in demonstrating that there can never be a conflict between faith and genuine science because both lean towards the truth.
Apprecia ting My Ca tholic Faith through MRS
I enrolled for Masters in Religious Studies at Don Bosco Center for Studies (DBCS) because of the desire to appreciate and embrace more fully my Catholic faith. For the past year of studying, it felt like I was having a regular recollection with God. Studying at DBCS has truly blessed me with greater knowledge, accompanied by shared faith experiences. Indeed it is a great privilege to be given this chance to have a strengthening of one’s faith, deeper understanding of the Catholic doctrine, and deepening of a Father-and-daughter relationship with my “Tatay” God.
Fulltime Missionary – Young Ministry of Laguna
By Rhea “Eya” Verzonilla
I am very grateful for the 1st school year. Now, on the 1st semester of our 2nd year of studies, I am looking forward to another semester that will be loaded with shared knowledge and faith experiences. All praises and thanks to our God that as As a fulltime missionary of Laguna, my MRS stud- He uses other people to nourish me mentally and ies was a weekly source of inspiration and knowl- spiritually, I am determined to continue to share edge, which I bring back to my province where I God to more people that they may also passionserve as an ate in KFL, YFL, and SFL. The inspira- ately share God to others.
tion and conviction of the Salesian-priest professors were a great source of courage and strength of sharing the faith in a manner similar to that of Saint John Bosco. God was real in their lives as they share their passion of imparting to us their faith and knowledge of our Catholic faith, including their personal journey of faith.
Through the Year of Faith, the Pope hopes to help the Catholics deepen their reflection on faith and to awaken in every believer the desire to profess their faith in all aspects of their lives with renewed conviction, confidence, and hope. Because in this day and age where our faith is greatly challenged we must be able to stand firm with Him for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17).
For ten days in May, I joined ninety-three other members of CFC FFL on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I am sure most Catholics dream of going to the birthplace of Jesus, walking where He walked, and seeing the places we only read about. I was blessed enough to go and experience the Gospel story in person. It definitely was an enriching experience going to Bethlehem and touching the Nativity Stone; and going to the Jordan River and renewing my baptismal vows; and attending Mass at Cana, renewing my wedding v o w s with m y
By xavier padilla
wife; and drinking Cana wine afterwards; walking the Way of the Cross through the crowded streets of Jerusalem; touching the stone of Golgotha; and coming close to the Holy Sepulcher; and so many other places where Jesus’ ministry unfolded. I know it is 2,000 years later, and the rocks we touched and sights we saw were very different from what they were 2,000 years ago. But the mere fact that we were in that place, that Holy Land, made everything more REAL to me. Like a dream in my head became something material that I could touch, smell and even taste.
Now, when I hear the Gospel at Mass – like when the Apostles were waiting at the Upper Room – I can imagine the scene in my mind, but I can also tap into the memory of what the place looks like - because I was there. And that has made a difference in me and the way I live my faith. My faith has always been alive, ever since I decided to give my life to God and become a missionary. But now it has taken on a new dimension. My faith is now material, and I am blessed to have it as such.
The CFC-FFL Shoppe, the merchandising arm of CFCFFL, has launched its brand Signs and Wonders. The brand name drew its inspiration from Acts of Apostles (5:12) which says, “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all
greatness and hope to achieve wonders by touching lives and helping them get closer to God. The logo of Signs and Wonders has two elements. The first element is the host which symbolizes the ultimate sign. In the Holy Eucharist the host to us, the Shoppe hopes to share the message of God through its products. The second element in their logo is the lemon which represents freshness. The Shoppe presents fresh ideas in their products so there is always something to look forward to. The Shoppe offers a variety of products such as apparel, novelty items, books, CDs and DVDs, images and bibles, and a whole lot more. For more information you may visit its website at www.swshoppe.net. To purchase their products, you may visit the Shoppe at the CFC-FFL Home Office located at Apartelle 12, Star Mall, Edsa corner Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City.
Para o Brasil! By Giella Garcia Sanchez,
This is very basic but very true: my daily prayer time is, what I consider, the primary reason that makes my faith grow stronger as time passes by. Aside from prayer, another factor is the gift of community in my life. Being surrounded by brothers and sisters who are no longer just friends, but family, made me experience God’s love in a different level. God’s Word and His being with His people: this brought my faith to a different level when I attended the 2008 World Youth Day (WYD) in Australia. Being with 400,000 youth from all over the globe was just overwhelming. Together, we received God’s Word from Acts 1:8, “But you will receive the power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” God touched me in a personal way and He touched me through the different faces I met each day of the two-week journey. It was God’s sure way of preparing me for the next four years of my journey back as He brought me to long-term missions in the Indochina region and in Argentina. I was not able to attend the last WYD in Madrid, Spain, as I was on mission in Argentina, but attending the next one in Brazil is surely a desire. After all, I still strongly believe in the power of God’s Word spoken personally in the WYD and the
CFC SFL Fulltime Pastoral Worker
More than a Shoppe
with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.” The Apostles, though they were just ordinary men, were able to perform signs and wonders or miracles through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. With the tagline “We’re more than a shoppe, your partner in mission, passion, and fashion,” Signs and Wonders hopes to proclaim the Gospel and evangelize people through its products. They envision their products to be signs of God’s is consecrated and becomes the body of Christ. It is shared to us through the Holy Communion. Just as the host is shared
To my delight, in our last Missionaries’ Conference for the CFC FFL Young Ministries Fulltime Pastoral Workers, we had a series of competitions in which the first prize was the opportunity for the team to be the delegation to the WYD in Brazil. Together with my 8 other teammates from the White Team, we are now on a journey preparing for the WYD 2013. The upcoming event’s theme is based on the verse, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) We now ask for your support through prayers, and humbly call on your generous hearts to help make this desire come true. Any financial help will surely be a big step towards a “strengthening of faith” experience. We believe that given another opportunity for us missionaries to take part in the WYD, this will prepare us for the mission ahead that God has for us, especially in our work for the Young Ministries.
power of being with fellow Catholic believers. I know that given the chance to be there, the Lord will surely strengthen my faith, in a way that He knows how.
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