The Beloved Weekend – July 11-13, 2014
Radisson Hotel – Edmonton, Canada
Article compiled and written by: Bro. Rey & Sis. Marizza Diaz
The Beloved Weekend
The atmosphere at the Radisson Hotel was exciting as delegates from all over Western Canada pervaded the Edmonton venue for the Beloved Weekend Conference. Trekking from the ends of Victoria to the out-skirts of Winnipeg, they came in droves to nourish and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. As in any gathering, it began with a concelebrated mass of 10 priests led by Fr. Raj Savariappan from St Anthony Parish, Lloydminster assisted by Fr. Martin Pasala from Annunciation Church, Edmonton.
CFC Edmonton outdid their friendly welcome with an enthusiastic dance rendition of “Rise Up”. Dancers filled the corridors encouraging delegates “to rise up for the King of Glory!” It was a rousing welcome as National Director for Canada, Greg Parillas; Western Region Coordinator, Noli Arzadon and CFC Edmonton Area Director Manny Cerin declared the Conference officially open. Stephen and April Tamayo introduced each delegation for the “Parade of Colors”. They enthusiastically came up on stage with their banners and their spirited chants, all in good fun. Noteworthy was the mili-tary precision of Fort McMurray as they flashed their long sleeves bearing the words “Behold” on the left and “Ponder” on their right, to the beat of their army-like chanting.
A Song For Mary
After another concelebrated mass of 8 priests led by Fr. Roque Concepcion from Saskatoon and assisted by Fr. Angelo Benedict Urbanii from Yellowknife, Bro. Noy Dalman took the stage for the Pro-logue. He dwelt into the significance of this year’s Marian theme, citing that this was the 3rd year when CFC recognized Mary as the central figure in our journey to an intimate relationship with Christ. He explained that on several occasions, Mary pondered on Jesus’ life and mission from His birth in a Manger, to His “discourse” in the temple; from His first miracle at Cana to His greatest sacrifice on the Cross. Truly Mary “kept all these in her heart”, and there she beseeches us to follow her Son and to trust in Him completely.
The Family in Love
Talk #1 on the first day was led by second generation CFC member, Noli Manuel. Starting his talk with the story of his own family, he introduced a less than perfect family situation that turned 180 degrees for the Lord. He spoke of himself as the proverbial youngster at 14 who was forced to become a YFC member by his parents, a typical occurrence in most CFC families. But it was the discovery of God’s great love for us that kept him from turning away. Using his family as a model, he has been blessed with his own……With GGGG (God’s Greatest Gorgeous Gift) and a son, borne of love, his family has embraced full time missionary work in the Middle East for the greater Glory of God. The Family, being the unit of society, should be a civilization of love and prayer for it to be strengthened against the attacks of the devil since the time of Adam and Eve.
The Manger’s Message
Eric De Los Reyes, Country Coordinator for Canada gave us a message of Hope. Talk #2 spoke of the message that the Infant Jesus gave from the manger in Bethlehem. It is a message of hope. It is the same message that we, as Christians, should give others. God’s selfless, unconditional love and promise of salvation is embodied in the birth of Jesus Christ. He was born to die for others. In like manner, even Pope Francis has urged that we, as Christ’s followers ought to bring hope to the destitute in our society. We are called to bring hope, not only by prayer and words, but by action. By doing so, we also bring hope to ourselves; the hope of salvation; the hope that God is pleased with our sacrifices and with our love for others; a symbol that the Holy Spirit is truly working in our lives.
The New Mission
It was Ricky Cuenca’s turn to wow us with his stories about the many new and creative ways to evangelize, whatever the occasion, wherever the place and whenever the opportunity arises. Still in all, it is the sheer determination to win brethren for Christ that motivates us to go the extra mile. After his inspirational talk, Bro. Francis Almeida and his wife, Liz shared their account of how he was convicted to do missionary work in Bhubaneswar, India. For an IT executive who grew up in Toronto, India was completely alien to him. More distressing was the fact that the area he was assigned to, was where being a Christian was cause for persecu-tion. In only 3 months the Lord worked miracles in every Christian’s heart there and the mission area has produced more courageous acts of witnessing to Christ. As well, his company treated his absence as a sabbatical leave assuring him the same job back.
Behold The Beloved Son
Another concelebrated mass was led by Fr. Jim Corrigan and assisted by Fr. Avinash Colaco on the Sunday of the Beloved week-end. Fr. Jim, in behalf of the bevy of guest pastors, showed his gratitude: “You wonder why we are supportive of CFC, it’s because you have been so supportive of the work we do in the parish.” After mass, Rouquel and Nina Ponte took the stage to proclaim God’s messages to CFC. Picking up from their Deepening Prayer Retreat, Rouquel told us to open our senses to the messages of God. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation requires only a willing spirit and an obedient heart. Nina goes on to recall the many messages that God gave to Couples for Christ, from the very beginning when only a few couples were committed to it. God said CFC will “win the world for Christ.” God now says, “CFC will heal the world!” Moreover, she says God wants us to work “nameless and faceless,” without need for praise or recog-nition. It is a daunting task but we must never forget that it is God’s Hand moving us and nothing is impossible.
While the adults were getting “nourished” by all the activities in the Jubilee Hall, the kids enjoyed themselves with singing, dancing, games, and loads of fun at the Imperial Hall a floor above the adults. They were taken good care of by Kids for Christ Couple Coordinators, Stephen and April Tamayo and other adoptive “parents. ” To make it a purely autonomous event, the Kid’s Village had their own Eucharistic celebration, their own buffet table, their own activity area, etc. Apart from the Kid’s Village, a Kid’s Watch was also integrated in another room next to the Jubilee Hall for babies and toddlers. The Handmaids did the best babysitting chores by lovingly taking care of them. Click here to see their pictures.
Clergy Appreciation and the 20th Anniversary of CFC Canada.
It was truly an impressive array of Clergymen trekking the halls of the Radisson that weekend. Twenty two (22) pastors were honored with dinner at the Atrium and a rous-ing standing ovation as they entered the Jubilee Hall. Our CFC assembly clapped altogether in staccato unison and even stomped their feet, to acknowledge the support of our pastors. They were escorted to their seats by Area Heads in their Filipiniana attire. National Director, Greg Parillas welcomed the pastors and acknowledged the work they do and the work CFC does in support of them. In their honor, a “black light” presentation of “The Hand” was performed to call to mind that the sons of Melchizedek do the work of The Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, and that their hands hold the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord in all masses celebrated everywhere in the world. An AVP was shown, detailing the early beginnings of CFC in 1981. It also detailed the beginnings of CFC Canada from its non-profit incorporation with the Ministry of Industry in BC on March 31, 1994. Thereafter, all of the Western Provinces of Canada spoke of their own stories in pictures. Each pastor was called to the stage to accept a Certificate of Appreciation from Bro. Greg Parillas and the Country Coordinator for Canada, Bro. Eric De Los Reyes. In Oscar Awards-like mode, they walked on stage to receive acknowledgment from the appreciative crowd. Kleig lights and camera flashes went aflurry. Finally, to cap the evening, Bro. Greg Parillas led the assembly in a “laying of hands and pray-over” the pastors. Then off to the dance floor for some of them. For others, it was back to writing their sermons for the next day.
Awarding of Prizes
The Beloved weekend was also an occasion to celebrate the talents of CFC members. From the Parade of Colors where creative introductions became the order of the day, each delegation showed their amazing banners. Honed from different interpretations of Mary’s pondering posture, the banners came in cut felt, in silkscreen, in photographic collage, in canvass and in colorful vinyl. By the foyer leading to the hall, was an array of artworks from different regions showing the artistic interpretation of each region’s journey in CFC. By the entrance was a display of the T Shirts produced by each region for the conference. And most especially, on the first evening, the presentations for the “Song For Mary” competition were also meticulously scrutinized. Judges had the hardest time arriving at a consensus to come up with First and Second prizes in each category. Winners for each category were as follows: Banner : 1st Calgary and 2nd Fort McMurray; Artwork : 1st Vancouver 2nd Edmonton; T-shirt 1st Edmonton 2nd Calgary; and Song For Mary: 1st Calgary, 2nd Edmonton. Notwithstanding, every area was a winner, even the newest ones like Lloydminster, Whitecourt, Valleyview, Red Deer and Ponoka were recognized for their efforts with a trophy.
Thanks for the Great Fun
There is no denying that the 16th Western Regional Conference with the biggest regional attendance in recent history was a success. There is no denying that CFC members came together in unity to praise and worship the Lord. There is no denying that it was a memorable weekend in prayer and fellowship. There is no denying that the Hand of God was moving CFC to where He wants it to go. But in all these, God is indeed pleased. He brought forth the joy and the fun in serving Him, the King of Glory!
To see pictures & videos about
the CFC Conference – July 11 – 13, 2014
Go to “Gallery” – at the top pull down menu.