Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Big Hugs in Baguio


You can try to mislead,
You can send a venue astray,
You can even confuse the issue...

But one thing is for sure:

There was no stopping the LOVE in Baguio...


And, just a little teaser before I post all the pictures, someone got himself a new shirt!


video
We are the Couples For Christ,
We're with the Spirit, UNITED!

Thanks for the video, you know who you are. =)




So Baguio was a blast! Who was there? Share your experiences?


Stay Tuned, More later...



Thursday, January 17, 2008

Awe-Inspiring

UPDATE:

For those who wanted to watch the whole event, here's a message from the CFC Multimedia Center on how to:
Hello, brothers and sisters!

Great news! You may watch the complete proceedings of the Leaders Conference held at the Araneta Coliseum last Saturday, January 12 starting early Saturday morning, January 19. The entire 4-hour show will be replayed over a 48-hour period starting Saturday all the way to Sunday, January 20.

Again, here is how you may watch it:

2. Download Windows TVU Player
3. Go to Channel 63256 (the Philippine Events Channel)

or via the CFC webpage
2. This is an interactive site and you can simply follow instructions that will allow you to see the live feed of the event as well as to continue sending comments/messages.

We know that many of you were frustrated that the reception was spotty during the live feed due to technical difficulties. This weekend, you can watch it uninterrupted. God bless you all and happy viewing!


--
CFC UGNAYAN MULTIMEDIA CENTER
COUPLES FOR CHRIST Global Missions Foundation Inc.




Here are the pictures from the Leader's Conference at the Araneta Coliseum. I know they're a few days delayed, hehe, but I had to compile the pictures that I took and were sent in to me, as well as upload the vids. Also the songs, wow, THE SONGS! I added a couple of them that I was able to find to the music playlist on the right. I have to say...they have a very different meaning to me now.

Here are some shots from inside Araneta:








I'm only posting a few of the crowd pictures, as most of you have probably seen the crowd shots in the official site that were taken from within Araneta. I hope that you all agree with me that the Spirit was with us in a massive way that day. You can SEE and FEEL the Araneta Coliseum filled to the rafters, and that's just the leaders!

I did receive more pictures that really help to illustrate how inspiring it was in there. Here, we feature our leaders defining CFC's Mission/Vision:

Joe Tale



Joey Arguelles

Joe Yamamoto


Roquel Ponte


Melo Villaroman

Lito Tayag
Ernie Maipid

*I'll be updating with more pics of the Clergy and others later.



To sum it up, I was INSPIRED. MOVED, and REVIVED.

We don't even have to talk of anointments, of divine rights, or even of keepers of charisms. One thing was certain:

I now have a renewed faith in our leadership to lead us with transparency, accountability, and honesty. Most of all, I know they do all this selflessly. With our mission/vision in our sights, I believe there's nothing that the CFC community cannot accomplish.

Was CFC the right choice? The answer my friends, is a resounding 18,000 strong, YES.


We do still have our trials ahead. There are battles to be fought, whether we like it or not. There will be a struggle ahead for our identity and more importantly, for the community that has nurtured us all these years. There will also be battles to protect what is ours. I think, like the OTBT campaign, we're going to keep chugging merrily along, seeing small miracles along the way and thanking God for them.



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CFC STATE OF THE MISSION

CFC STATE OF THE MISSION

CFC Director Joe Tale delivered his State of the Mission address last night, January 15, 2008 to the Mission Core members of Metro Manila, some members from Saudi Arabia, Australia and other countries, provincial leaders and ministries coordinators. The Xavier School Gym was filled to overflowing, rapt in attention as Joe detailed the community's experiences in the year that was and outlined the community's goals and targets for the year that has begun.

Also in the audience was His Excellency Bishop David Kamau of the Diocese of Nairobi, Kenya, who is here upon the invitation of the International Council. Bishop Kamau arrived last Saturday, January 12, just in time to witness the annual leaders conference at the Araneta Coliseum.

The following are excerpts from Joe Tale's address:

We are off to a good start in 2008, judging from the very positive indicators manifested in the first gatherings of the year, and even including the highly successful And A Time to Dance celebration last December 2, 2007. We saw unity and vibrancy in the overflow crowd at the first Mission Core Gathering at the Ateneo last January 6 where the traditional first fruits offering was held; the January 12 Leaders Conference which was truly spirit-filled, reflecting a new refreshing spirit and a new springtime in CFC, attended by 18,000 leaders from all over the world; the January 13 meeting of the Metro Manila sector governance teams and provincial area councils at the Mary the Queen parish hall; and the January 14 gathering of the MM sector heads, regional heads, provincial area heads and provincial area directors at the Innotech Seameo. In all these gatherings, what was very evident was the vibrant atmosphere and the willingness to truly move forward in our work of evangelization, pastoral formation, family renewal and total Christian liberation.

2007: THE YEAR THAT WAS

Ecclesiastes affirms that for God, everything has a season and a purpose. 2007 was our time to mourn. 2008, however, is our time to dance and to indeed hope in the Lord, leaving behind the lamentations, the pains and the hurts of the past year. But this season of rejoicing should not be reason to forget the lessons of the past year. I would like to cite five lessons that we would do well to remember:

1. The CFC community is not ours, but God's. It is not our will that should prevail but what God wills for our community.
2. The past year taught us, to an amazing extent, that we are indeed totally dependent on the Lord.
3. We should embrace the cross, accepting fully the experience of pain, not running away from it but standing firm in the face of it. There are no shortcuts to the Promised Land and God is guiding us through the wilderness.
4. A very important lesson of the past year was our community's obedience to God's call for us to "be still." Even in the face of adversity and deep hurts, the lesson of being still taught us that we should continue using our faith values as Christians.
5. The most important lesson of all is for all of us to let our light shine. When we allow the Lord's light to shine through us, we dwell not on the weaknesses of others but we build on our strengths.

With all of these lessons truly taken to heart, I am confident that we will reach the Promised Land, stronger and ready for something greater that the Lord has in store for us.

Indeed 2007 was a blessed year. The Lord allowed the events and the storms of the year so that we as a community may experience many new things. As early as when there were only four of us in the International Council, we already began to exercise collective leadership; the Council became a collegial body, moving as one. Another new thing was the use of consultative governance -- the Council recognized that the Lord speaks to all of us. The Pastoral Congress was a step that allowed the Council and other elders to hear the viewpoints of others. The Council, as a result of the events of 2007, also saw the need for greater transparency and this has led to the regular release of financial reports. This has also made the Council, and everyone else in the community, realize that we have to exercise individual and collective proper stewardship of our funds. The One Time, Big Time Campaign was an offshoot of this realization -- the target of a Debt-Free CFC is not simply a desire to pay off our debts, but a step towards managing our community's resources better. And lastly, beginning also from the time when there were only four Council members, we already recognized the need to have spiritual direction from our shepherds, the clergy. At these turbulent times, the prayers and guidance of the clergy sustained us and allowed us to be strong in facing the challenges that confronted us.

2008: A NEW BEGINNING: ON TO OUR JOURNEY FROM SILVER TO GOLD

1. The Call to Mission

As we start our work in 2008, I am very pleased to announce that CFC is on solid footing both in the Philippines and internationally. The events of 2007 caused only a very minimal dent in our membership. As I earlier mentioned during the A Time to Dance event, "nabulabog man tayo" (we may have been shaken up a bit), but CFC remained one, CFC remained strong. On the global front, while some countries declared independence or allegiance to the splinter group, latest reports show that CFC is strong in the continents of Africa, Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East.

In spite of the difficulties of 2007, what was amazing was that the Philippine Mission and the Metro Manila Mission went about its evangelization and pastoral formation work.

2. The Pastoral Congress

The Pastoral Congress was launched on August 25, 2007 and consultations were made in September on the international structure and on clergy relations. A total of 66 provinces and 11 MM sectors have already submitted their final reports on the congresses held in their area. The Philippine Congress report has been submitted to the International Council which has approved the global vision and mission statement. Other recommendations in the report, such as structural changes, are under review and will be presented to the Elders Assembly sometime in April, for implementation in June.

Congresses were also held in some foreign countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with other congresses scheduled in the United States and Canada in March.


3. Clergy Relations

Relations with the Philippine clergy have been strengthened and indeed, our relations with the clergy have never been better than at this time.The Council has had regular meetings with Bishop Gabriel Reyes, our spiritual director. We note the close relationship of Bishop Angel Lagdameo with CFC in his diocese in Iloilo. The IC has had an audience with Bishop Soc Villegas and we are pleased that the bishop has warm relations with CFC Bataan. We have also had audiences with Cardinal Rosales and we had him as our guest at the MC teaching night. We are grateful for the support of other bishops in CFC gatherings such as the Leaders Conference where Bishop Honesto Ongtioco extolled the good works of CFC. We are particularly grateful that CFC was invited to conduct the recollection for priests in Cebu by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. He sent a video-recorded message during the Leaders Conference at Araneta but unfortunately it did not reach us in time. We shall show it now.

4. Governance, Stewardship and Accountability

At the Home Office, the emphasis is on service. The new look of the Center reflects this philosophy, with the Ugnayan Hall now open for meetings of up to 60 people and the personnel ready not only with their smiles but with assistance. Our vision for the Home Office is this: That the Home Office is sacred ground (because God reigns there); that it is a real home (because love reigns); and a model of service (because the people at the HO are both efficient and effective.)

The One Time Big Time campaign, as of January 15, has netted P10.56 million which will be used to pay off our bank loans. This is more than half of our total indebtedness. If we as a community were able to generate this much in less than a month, then it is a certainty that if we continue with this effort, that we will be debt-free by the time we celebrate our 27th anniversary in June.

Three times over the past months, I have heard one particular prophecy repeated-- that we will have our very own Center from where we can more fully expand our work. Please pray for this to happen.

The events of 2007 also revealed to us one need -- to make use of communications and technology in reaching out to more people. I would like to announce that we have created at the Home Office the Ugnayan Multimedia Center, which will take care of the communications requirements of the IC and CFC. We would like to put out a call for writers to help us in our communications work.

CFC is now in 160 countries. This is a vast number. And so we also recently created the International Missions Office, headed by Clarke and Cynthia Nebrao, which will fill a long-felt need to monitor and address the concerns of our foreign missionaries as well as to expand our mission work to more areas.

5. Gawad Kalinga

We now have a more proactive GK Board, one that is more involved in the Management Committee and Executive Committee of GK. There is now stronger coordination between CFC and GK. This is deliberate because we would like everyone in CFC to fully embrace GK and to follow the call of the Lord for us to build the Church of the Poor.

WHAT LIES AHEAD

I would like to stress that CFC is a global community but the center lies here, with us, the Metro Manila Mission Core. Any change, any improvement that we would like to see must start with us.

What are our basic directions for 2008?

1. Deepening our Spirituality

We would like to see a deepening of spirituality in all of us. To this end, we envision the creation of Bible study groups among our members. The Council has just gone through an Ignatian retreat - it would be good if the members can experience this too. In the midst of our difficulties, the Council went into contemplative prayer. The community would benefit from practicing this.

2. Strengthening our Relationships

Our theme for 2008 is "Love one another." This theme must not be something that we pay mere lip service to. 'Love one another" must be in our hearts. Thus, we shall conduct teachings on this theme of loving. We intend also to continue the MER (Marriage Enrichment Retreat) series, and to revive the FER (Family Enrichment Retreat). We see the strengthening of MC household with the quarterly gathering of all MC household heads.

3. Resurgence of Evangelization

When I say evangelization, I would also like to include the wider meaning of it -- evangelization through the witness of our lives. Even if the people we witness to do not move on to the Christian Life Program, the example of our lives would enrich them and that constitutes evangelization as well. The Christian Life Program will be given a boost by the renewed and concerted effort of all of us to bring God's invitation to more people.

GK has a wonderful potential for evangelization. We would like everyone to embrace the potential of GK and the Social Ministries in the work of evangelization and nation building.

4. Communications Technology

We intend to focus on the use of the tools of technology to further the work of the kingdom. Among these tools are the use of emails to spread information and SMS technology.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I would like everyone to see on screen CFC's vision and mission as refined and deliberated by the Pastoral Congress. We should memorize these and internalize them so that we do not just mouth them but live them.

Our vision remains the same: we are to be FAMILIES IN THE HOLY SPIRIT RENEWING THE FACE OF THE EARTH. But we have expanded it to express the elements that form part of it, so that everyone will know and understand what is meant by this vision.

VISION:
"Moved by the Holy Spirit
One with the Catholic Church
Blessed to Witness Christ's Love and Service
Couples for Christ is a United Global Community
Of Family Evangelizers
That Sets the World on Fire
With the Fullness of God's Transforming Love."

Our vision expresses who we are and what we should be as a community. In order to achieve the vision, we are called to DO something. Our mission statement has been restated as follows:

MISSION:

'Building the Church of the Home, Building the Church of the Poor."

We are called by the Lord for family renewal and for social renewal through total Christian liberation. This is the expression of what "the fullness of God's transforming love" means for us.

Again, I would like to reiterate that all these start with us! Let us be the change we want for CFC. Let us be the CFC we want the community to be! May God be praised.


CFC UGNAYAN MULTIMEDIA CENTER
COUPLES FOR CHRIST Global Missions Foundation Inc.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

CFC Leaders Conference

This much anticipated event is even more exciting because it is going global via the internet! The new CFC website has all the information you need, but I'm giving it here too for all of you:

Here are some reminders:


1. Area heads, council members, country heads and coordinators who will be in Manila for the activity are part of the parade and are expected to be at the Araneta Center at 9 AM on Saturday for the rehearsal. Please submit your names to Gina Nagrampa at the Home Office (7270681/7270707) not later than
12 noon of Wednesday, January 9. You will have reserved seating at the courtside. Please enter through the South Gate. The gate will be closed at 10:30 AM and latecomers will not be allowed to enter after this time. They will have to join the rest of the assembly when the gates open at 12 noon. Please remember that only those in the list of submitted names will be allowed to enter at this time.

2. Please bring your provincial/country CFC flag and a flagpole

3. Those who cannot come to Manila will still have the opportunity to be part of the activity. The event will be beamed via Internet Protocol TV worldwide. There are two ways by which the event can be viewed:

1. By downloading your TVU player:

a. Go to tvunetworks.com

b. Download TVU player

c. Go to Channel 63256 (the Philippine Events Channel)


2. Via the CFC webpage

a. Go to cfclc.couplesforchristglobal.org

b. This is the CFC official web page.

c. This is an interactive site and you can simply follow instructions that will allow you to see the live feed of the event as well as to email comments/messages that will be projected on the giant screen on stage.


You would need to log in between
1 PM to 6 PM, Manila time.


I'll be trying to send a message online as well. =) Hope to see you all there!

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Assignments in the IC

Newsworthy

GK is starting the year right.

An excerpt:

Meloto said Panlilio's brand of leadership and the close partnership of the private sector and government led him to believe that "we are seeing the future of the Philippines and it is going to happen here."

"The leadership here enjoys public trust. We are nonpartisan but we always like to work with national and local leaders who believe in the vision of Gawad Kalinga which is simple: To bring the Philippines out of the Third World; to make it a First World nation," Meloto said.

GK has already partnered with more than 300 local government units and seeks to increase its partners this year. So far, it has helped establish 1,500 villages in the country and has facilitated land donations for an additional 150,000 families.

Meloto praised Mayor Marino Morales for helping GK put up the Tabun village in June 2007 with the support of Couples for Christ, the Santos Ventura Hocorma Foundation and the Cabinet spouses.

Panlilio described the problem of homelessness in Pampanga as "urgent" due to migration and lack of housing units in the Pinatubo resettlements. Because of this, he said he would exert efforts to convince the provincial board to pass the 2008 budget.

"If that does not push through, the mayors and I will lead the GK campaign in the private sector so that the housing needs of our poorest constituents are addressed," he said.

A Blessed New Year to All

Wow, it seems the blog will be business as usual this year. I myself took a little break to enjoy the holidays and take care of my own business which needed a lot of my attention. I hope you all had a CHRISTmas and New Year season filled with family, joy, and the good Lord's blessings.

I'll start this off on a good note, although the first few salvos of the year has predictably been fired, and it wasn't by us.

Well first things first, the OTBT entry has been updated with the rest of the bulletins, all the way to #14. There is also a short Q&A addressing some of the concerns that we had regarding the use of funds and other issues. For those of you who had questions, please check out the entry.

Then, we've got the IC's new year message to all of us:


Next is the IC's memo on the Annual Leader's Conference set for Jan. 12.

It looks like we'll have a busy time ahead of us, there have been developments in CFC-USA, Couples for Christ in Ontario, and in our own homegrown issues. The 2nd part of the What's In A Name entry is forthcoming as well, and of course, don't expect that one to go unanswered.

Certain parties are still intent on getting in our business, for reasons that still escape me (or maybe not). All I can say is please, take care of your flock, and we'll mind our own. Greed has a way of becoming very obvious if you're not careful.

The Defense goes on...