Recognize the Gift. Rekindle the Gift. Relay the Gift.

 

This was the invitation and call to action for every family during the Family Is a Gift Conference in celebration of the Year of the Youth, held last October 26, 2019 at St. Paul College, Pasig City.

 

Organized in cooperation with the Commission on Family and Life of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, the conference was attended by families from the CFC community, Parish Pastoral Council members, Youth Ministry members, catechists, and Family and Life volunteers from different parts of the Philippines.

 

The event commenced with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist led by His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, D.D., who welcomed everyone in the family that Jesus has built— the Church. In his homily, he emphasized that every family is a Church at home where wounded members should be loved and accepted.

 

“God does not rejoice in the destruction of sinners,” he shared, “even the wounded people are still gifts from God.”

 

In the plenary session titled “Family is a Gift,” Cardinal Tagle spoke about understanding God’s plan for the family and nurturing the youth, in the light of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), an exhortation by Pope Francis addressing the pastoral care of families. He encouraged everyone to not give up on their families no matter how hard it gets, and instead, see challenges as a chance for renewal and rediscovery of God’s plan for the family.

 

“Even with the heaviest of challenges, you bear them; you face them as opportunities to affirm the beauty and the gift of the family,” he noted.

 

In the session “Pamilya: Tawag at Tugon,” Bro. Michael “Shok” Ariola and his family shared ways on how families can make the best out of God’s original plan for the family and share their giftedness to other families.

 

“We are called to commit, embracing kahit yung masama, yung masakit, kahit ayaw (even what’s imperfect, what hurts, what we don’t want).” He added, “commitment is deciding to wait a little bit more knowing that God will act.”

 

Breakout sessions tackled the realities that modern families face today as well as lessons on nurturing relationships. Discussions on mental health, chastity, Catholic parenting, and the importance of family meal time were facilitated for parents; while workshops on friendships, good study habits, social media, and gender identity were conducted for the youth.

 

Afterwards, a praise and worship concert by Liveloud led the delegates to pray and sing together as one family in Christ.

 

To end the celebration, Rev. Fr. Joel Jason, Commissioner for Family and Life of the Archdiocese of Manila, led the consecration of families and the young people to the Holy Family of Nazareth.

 

Having learned to recognize, rekindle, and relay the gift of the family, everyone went home with hearts ready to love their families even more, and a mission to share that love as they bring more families to Christ.

 

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