Couples gather to ‘rejoice, pray, give thanks’

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Thousands of married couples converged at the CAP John Hay Trade and Cultural Center for the CFC Rejoice in the Lord Weekend from Jan. 16 to 17, 2016. (Photo: Couples for Christ)

BAGUIO City, Jan. 16, 2016 – Thousands of married couples converged at the CAP John Hay Trade and Cultural Center on Saturday, Jan. 16 to hear sessions on how rejoicing, prayer, and gratitude can be their way of life for the entire year.

Some 2,000 Couples for Christ (CFC) leaders from Malaysia, Africa, Singapore, Brunei, and all over the Philippines had their CFC Rejoice in the Lord Weekend revolving around
CFC’s 2016 theme, “Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks”, taken from Philippians 4:4-7.

CFC International Council (IC) member Manny Garcia gave the first talk “Rejoice in the Lord: Discover the reasons to celebrate life in community.”

Robbed of joy

“We are a people of the covenant,” he stressed in his talk, pointing to the need for members to renew members’ promises to the Lord.

According to him, while there is much to celebrate in community life, members need to know that the devils wants to “rob” the faithful of their joys in personal and in community life, take them away from CFC, and destroy their marriages.

Garcia also mentioned how CFC finds joy in the declaration of the Year of the Family and the Year of the Eucharist as well as its privilege to serve as the secretariat of the International Eucharistic Congress happening in Cebu in a few days.

Bong Arjonillo, another CFC IC member, gave the second talk, “Do Not Worry: How to overcome worry”, which was primarily inspired by Philippians 4:6, “Have no anxiety at all”.

Sin brings anxiety

He went on to share how sin brings about anxiety.

“The more shameful we feel, the more anxiety we have,” he explained, saying that worry saps a person’s physical and spiritual energy.

According to Arjonillo, the formula to counter worry is to pursue sanctity, acceptance, appreciation, pardon, and supplication.

CFC IC member Jimmy Ilagan talked about how CFC leaders can “Pray in Everything: Deepening our prayer life” as the third talk.

Quoting papal preacher Raniero Cantalamessa, he said, “The person who prays without speaking evangelizes more than the person who speaks without praying.”

Ilagan also called on the participants to assess their progress in their prayer life, especially since many leaders have been in community for more than 20 years.

“Try to assess your prayer life. Has it progressed or regressed?”, he asked.

Gratitude brings joy

IC member Joe Yamamoto gave the last talk for the day, “An Attitude of Gratitude: Giving thanks in all circumstances”.

In his session, he stressed how the source of joy is gratitude.

Debunking a misconception, Yamamoto quoted Bro. David Steindl – Rast, who said, “The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

As parents, it is also crucial, he said, that children see gratitude on a daily basis in their homes.

“Gratitude must be caught not taught. We should teach it to our children,” stressed Yamamoto.

To close the day’s session, participants celebrated a Mass with Baguio Bishop Carlito Cenzon as main presider. (Nirva Delacruz / CBCP News)

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