It is the month of June, a month special to many people

It is the month of June, a month special to many people

Musical greats Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the song “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” for their famed musicale “Carousel”, which also features other great songs such as “If I Loved You” and a personal favorite, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. “June is Bustin Out All Over” has a lively melody with lyrics describing the many exciting things happening in June, centered on nature’s awakening, on life, love and joy, all celebrating the season change from cold winter to warm summer.

I belong to the lay movement Couples for Christ (“CFC”) and the month of June is special to us because it is the month of our founding. The charismatic group “Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon” (“LNP”) was used by the Lord to establish CFC in June 1981. Victorino “Vic” Gutierrez, a leader of LNP, recalls in his recent post on June 6, 2024: “Today, is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this feast in 1981, I led 16 couples to form the Couples for Christ. Praise God! “

CFC is governed by its International Council (“IC”). The current IC (until June 2025), composed of Dr Joe Yamamoto (Chairman/President), Biboy Arguelles, Rudy Gaspillo, James Dio, Lito Tayag, Jun Uriarte, Lawrence Quintero, Rey Reyes, and Mike Bukuhan, led the week-long 43rd Anniversary Celebration of CFC this year.

CFC is a holistic family renewal movement which has programs for every member of the family—Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ, Singles for Christ, Handmaids of the Lord, and Servants of the Lord. It has also a strong work with the poor component in ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor). Its other social development programs, now incorporated as a single corporate entity, reach out to several sectors of society such as government, military and police, prisons, overseas Filipino workers, cooperatives, drug rehabilitation, and environment. We have been blessed to be present now in some 140 countries. We are one of 123 lay organizations around the world recognized by the Vatican as a private association of the lay faithful.

June being our CFC anniversary month, my thoughts go back to my own journey as a lay Catholic, and how grateful I am to the Lord for calling me and my spouse and our children, not only to an organization, but to a whole new way of life, for that is our hope and ideal. It is not just being included in CFC’s membership roll, but more importantly, it is embracing and actively living a life in accordance with the Lord Jesus’ ways and commandments. In a manner of speaking, it is to observe and be faithful to a Catholic lifestyle.

An anniversary month is a time for gratitude. I thank deeply all those who were responsible for inviting me and my wife Babylou to join CFC in 1986 (38 years ago). We were not the easiest people to invite. But true to the call of evangelization, these friends persevered and did not give up on us. I refer to my college friend and P&G officemate Tony Meloto (closely associated with Gawad Kalinga), and my first cousin Lyn Concepcion. I also express my appreciation to Caloy Yturzaeta who ruined his newly bought leather shoes as he waded in the flood waters of Palanan, Makati, to make sure we attend the Christian Life Program (CLP), the entry program of CFC. Evangelization is not always a neat and pleasant task to do. It does require sacrifice in more ways than one. I also thank sincerely Frank Padilla, our long time leader in CFC, who played a major role in forming us to our new life in CFC and LNP. May I also mention here some who encouraged us to join the CFC Mission Core being formed during the time when CFC separated from LNP. (there were some requirements which Babylou and I were not ready to comply with at first). These brethren spoke to us on separate occasions not knowing we needed their viewpoints—Lito and Vida Legaspi, Noli Arzadon, and the late Pons Tanjangco. Lesson here is that in community life, encouraging words go a long way. Our joining the CFC Mission Core greatly encouraged our increasing service to the Lord.

As CFC is a family renewal movement, we prayed that our children also become members of CFC and its ministries.. This is key to passing on the legacy of our Faith and Community to our family. Hence, it is also with grateful hearts that we thank brethren who helped invite our daughters to be part of Youth for Christ and Singles for Christ. We thank Tony Meloto once again, and Ernie Maipid, who were instrumental in organizing the Family Ministries. Together with the community’s full time workers, they invited and accompanied our daughters Vida and Rica to these ministries. Vida eventually became a full time worker herself before joining the corporate world some five years later. Together with other Singles for Christ friends, they formed the acapella group Soul Divas which inspired many through their music and song, both in the Philippines and internationally. Rica met her God’s Gift (GG) Jon Hizon when they were serving together in a CLP in Eastwood QC. It naturally followed that they then became members of CFC when they married. We consider as another blessing that our son in law’s parents, Bing and Ellen Hizon, were also leaders in CFC. Jon and Rica traveled to the US, and eventually found work and residence in California. They are active in community and are actually Chapter Leaders in the Southern California area. Their three children, Elle, Natalie and Pio are part of Kids for Christ. Babylou and I are blessed to be living with them in their home in Fontana.

Couples for Christ, like other lay organizations, is not perfect. But we try and are inspired to serve a perfect God. We are men and women, flesh and blood, who try to be faithful to the Lord where ever He has placed us. We are partners of the Church and are frontliners in the various initiatives to observe a Catholic and Christian way of life.We thus thank and honor, too, members of CFC and numerous other lay organizations as well, who even in their quiet ways, witness to God’s love in the very way they live their lives, amidst the many challengies and temptations of the world. They commit, like Joshua, that “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24;15).

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