Official Symbol of Couples For Christ
|Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (Lit The Joy of the Lord)|
The Couples for Christ (CFC) is an international Catholic lay ecclesial movement whose goal is to renew and strengthen Christian values. It is one of 123 International Associations of the Faithful. The organization is affiliated with the Vatican recognition from the Pontifical Council for the Laity. It is led by an International Council, which operates in the Philippines under the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines and acquired direct rapports with the Vatican City. The community consists of family ministries, social arms, and pro-life ministries.
Couples for Christ (CFC) was established in 1981 by the charismatic community Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (LNP; Filipino for "The Joy of the Lord") in Manila. Its target groups were primarily married couples, inviting prospective couples to a private home for a series of weekly gospel discussions.
Since 1993, CFC had also started other groups, including "Kids for Christ," "Youth for Christ," "Singles for Christ," "Handmaids of the Lord" and "Servants of the Lord."
In 1996, CFC was approved by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines as a National Private Association of Lay Faithful and recognized in 2000 by the Holy See (Vatican) as a private international association of the lay faithful of Pontifical Right.
Membership and Community Life
Any validly married Catholic couple can become members of CFC. Although a Catholic movement/organization, CFC remains open to having non-Catholic Christians as members.
Christian Life Program
People wanting to become members of CFC will go through a weekly seminar series named the Christian Life Program (CLP), which usually spans 13 weeks, equivalent to 13 sessions. The CLP serves as the primary approach for Evangelization, and is a core activity for CFC members.
At the end of the CLP, couple-participants are invited to dedicate themselves to the Lord as CFC members and to commit to participating actively in the life of the community and of the Church through regular prayer meetings, attendance in community assemblies and teachings, including participation in parish life. CLP graduates are then grouped into cell groups called "households," consisting of 4 to 7 couples under the pastoral care supervision of a family head.
The CLP is also the point of entry for those who wish to join CFC's Family Ministries:
- Singles for Christ, for single young professionals
- Handmaids of the Lord and Servants of the Lord, for women and men who are widowed, single parents or those whose spouses choose not to join
- Youth for Christ (for teenagers) and Kids for Christ (for pre-teens) through attendance in a regular camp or similar activity.
The goals of CLP are evangelization and renewal. Taking the basic message of Christianity and to proclaim it a new so that those who hear it can make a renewed commitment to the Lord. This is also to bring individuals to a stronger relationship with God, family and church.
The CLP proper is divided into three modules which is composed of four sessions each. Module One - The Basic Truths About Christianity Module Two - The Authentic Christian life Module Three - Living a Spirit-filled Christian Life
The household groups or simply 'households' meet once a week or bi-weekly. Each member of the household is encouraged to host meetings at their home, when not held in Church meeting spaces. A household group operates as a 'family of families'. Household meetings can be conducted as pastoral or fellowship.
Over the course of CFC's existence, there has been some restructuring and changes of leadership, and occasionally, divisions. Despite these, the members at large are mostly unaffected, and the respective communities continue to flourish.
CFC and FFL
In 1993, a group led by Francisco Padilla, one of the original members recruited by LNP in 1981, severed CFC's ties from LNP citing differences in evangelization approaches. Padilla was CFC's Executive Director until 2007.
In August 2007, the same group of leaders announced the creation of a separate group known as Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL). This development, particularly since it was a direct offshoot of the bi-annual CFC elections that saw Frank Padilla and his group defeated, caused a division of membership within CFC, as some of its membership migrated to Foundation for Family and Life (FFL). FFL applied and was granted approval by SEC to use a defunct CFC foundation created in the 1980s, the Couples for Christ Foundation, Inc. The group continues to use the name, despite a Vatican admonition that "no other group may use Couples for Christ" in their name other than Couples For Christ Global Mission's Foundation, Inc.
CFC leaders have stated that they are open to reconciliation with FFL, but do not expect a quick resolution, particularly since Padilla, current FFL Servant-General, continues to insist that only FFL is recognized by the Vatican. He bases this assertion on a statement issued by one official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines who stated that “in the dioceses in the Philippines there can be two groups of the CFC provided again the bishop of the place will permit. Abroad, FFL may not use CFC in their names." The Vatican has not revoked the recognition given to CFC, evidence cited by CFC that indeed it is the Vatican-recognized CFC.
Padilla's claim to be the founder of CFC, which is supported by FFL, is questioned by CFC. CFC's publication Origins of Couples for Christ directly responds to this claim by including the point of view of Vic Gutierrez, a former LNP leader who was responsible for the conceptualization of CFC in 1981.
Although FFL has received support from some Philippine and foreign dioceses, CFC still retains its recognition as a Catholic ministry nationally in the Philippines and internationally. Many bishops have also declared recognition of CFC in their dioceses, including John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark.
CFC and Gawad Kalinga
Christian Life Program Revised
ANCOP stands for Answering the Cry of the Poor. It is an umbrella program made for the purpose of consolidating CFC's efforts in 'Building the Church of the Poor,' essentially a social outreach undertaking. Shelter-building for the poor and child-education sponsorship are among its dominant sub-programs. Certain aspects affecting the society are also being addressed through the ANCOP program, such as health, education, livelihood and community development activities.
As a social outreach program, ANCOP also involves sectors such as migrants and their families, uniformed personnel, those in prison, and environment stakeholders. Through ANCOP, sub-organizations like cooperatives and mini-programs like The Cornerstone have materialized.
This is a program of CFC and its Family ministries in the cooperation with Ateneo Center for Educational Development. The main objective of this program is to help grades 2 and 3 students in public schools on how to read and understand English. SFC members take the lead in teaching the students and providing them Values formation activities.
ABLAZE Communications, or simply "ABLAZE" is registered as a subsidiary of Couples for Christ. It is involved in the production of audio-visual presentations and merchandizing of products.
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- About Couples for Christ Archived 2008-12-23 at the Wayback Machine
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- "Ablaze Communications". Retrieved 2015-03-11.
- "LiveLoud: the biggest Catholic Filipino worship reunion concert ever! | YouthPinoy". youthpinoy.com. Archived from the original on 2017-08-21. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- "Liveloud to bring Jesus experience in Cebu on its 10th year". cebudailynews.inquirer.net. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
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