For seven years now I have been a Member of the Couples For Christ family ministries in the UK. In recent years I have acted as their Spiritual Director too. As much as I have been able, I have participated in the Nation Conference of CFC as it spreads through the United Kingdom enlivening parishes and communities with their charismatic presence. In fact, CFC has now been in the UK for 21 years, having started in the United States and quickly spread to the Philippines 34 years ago. There are CFC communities in over 120 countries now around the world!
This year, on the last weekend of July, it was the turn of the United Kingdom communities to host the CFC MEGA EURO CONFERENCE in Brighton on the South coast of England. Over seventeen hundred delegates gathered for two days of praise and worship, the celebration of Mass, to participate in faith workshops and to learn from keynote speakers from the CFC world-wide leadership based in Manila, Philippines. There were opportunities for the Youth For Christ, Kids For Christ, Servants of the Lord, and Handmaids of the Lord to gather together, support and affirm each other in faith and pray together.
From the very start of the conference the Spirit blessed us with great joy, fellowship and love. No part of the two days was wasted as we grew in understanding of our catholic faith and experienced our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ. Even our times of recreation and enjoying table fellowship were moments of grace and blessing; there was laughter, tears and great joy as we listened to personal testimonies of faith.
Delegations came from France, Spain, Holland, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, the Isle of Man, Ireland and Israel to the conference representing thriving CFC communities. Each delegation had the opportunity to share something of their respective country’s cultures, and most entertaining it was too!
Some groups brought a local chaplain with them, and they were able to concelebrate Mass on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday the principal celebrant for Mass was Canon Gerard Tartaglia from the Archdiocese of Glasgow, where the National CFC Conference was held last year. On Sunday the principal celebrant at Mass was Bishop Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton Diocese and Episcopal Vicar for the Family in England and Wales.
While working in Iloilo, Philippines I had encountered the Couples For Christ ministry and often celebrated Mass with them at various locations in and around the city. When I was Pastor of St. Edmund Campion Parish in Maidenhead I introduced the Couples For Christ to the parish, and it quickly spread to several parishes in Reading, Frimley and Taunton. The CFC is an integrated ministry/movement in the catholic church which encourages its members to be active in their local parishes and diocese. I am most happy to be associated with this growing ministry and proud to be a member of the Servants of the Lord..
Fr. Paul F. Mooney MHM
(Rector, Herbert House UK)