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The CFC-FFL Awesome Weekend
January 23 and 24, 2010
Baguio City

“Awesome! Awesome! Awesome is He!”

Thus chanted everyone who came to witness the Lord’s majesty and splendor during the CFC-FFL Awesome Weekend at the CAP in Camp John Hay, Baguio City last January 23 and 24, 2010. The theme, “The Almighty! Just and Righteous is He!” was derived from Job 37:23. The conference welcomed around 2,000 members and leaders of the CFC-FFL community from the Philippines and abroad to this cool city that was warmed by the love shared by each other through fellowship, and by the love richly showered by our awesome God! The excitement splendidly poured as participants started trickling in on Friday morning to register and claim their weekend kits. By Saturday morning, CFC-FFL members and leaders swarmed the venue with joy and eagerness etched on their faces!

After the recitation of the Rosary led by Nani and Bing Almanza, CFC-FFL USA Country Servant, the Holy Eucharist, presided by Fr. Arlo Yap, SVD, together with Fr. Justin Sequeira, SSS, and Msgr. Anthony Kornu of Ghana, perfectly

marked the beginning of the conference. The event was emceed by Grace Oconer together with Jay Pangan, who brought the house down with his very unique antic of leading the “awesome chant.”

Everybody was not only reminded about his/her posture as a child of God, but the first talk entitled “THE ALMIGHTY,” delivered by Patrick Oconer, CFC Singles for Family and Life International Coordinator, likewise brought forth the perfection and glory of our Father, as seen in His creation, in our salvation history, in the people around us, and by the way He has provides for our needs. The worship led by Patrick proved to be such a wonderful segue to the succeeding points of his talk, that focused on God’s majesty and greatness. The message that “majesty is God’s basic nature” awakened everyone to avoid belittling God. The truth that sin and pride blinds us from seeing this majesty of the Lord further struck everyone.

Chinka Besinga-Sarmiento’s rendition of Psalm 139 was very touching, reminding all God’s children that He is always near! Yet, as Patrick noted, we still doubt and have anxieties about so many areas in our lives. “Surrender the unknown future to the known God” was perhaps the message from the talk which all took to heart. As an expression of this “surrender”, the participants wrote all their concerns, needs, and wants on a sheet of paper. Sealed in an envelope, the petitions will be lifted up in prayer by the CFC-FFL Intercessory Group.

Since sin and pride blinds our ability to witness the awesomeness of the Lord, all of us are then called to live a holy life, exemplified by “THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JOB,” a talk given by Chito Liban, CFC-FFL Novaliches District Servant. He related the essence of how Job’s holiness, which consisted of a life lived in purity, sincerity, honesty, faithfulness, generosity, compassion, justice, hospitality, and good stewardship that enabled him (Job) to face the most difficult and trying moments. Further, Chito’s story about faith, hope, love and grace was something the delegates pondered on. As he said, which everyone took note of, “God said, ‘Faith, hope, and love can cover the bases, but only My grace can bring you home.’”

The Examination of Conscience, which led to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, highlighted the session. Father Arlo Yap, SVD, Spiritual Director of CFC Singles for Family and Life, and Msgr. Anthony Kornu of Ghana were instrumental as the channels of grace borne by the sacrament.

It seemed that the messages of the session on “The Almighty,” emphasizing the glory of God, and the talk on “The Righteousness of Job,” which called on each one to live upright lives, paved the way to a point which is inevitable, something all of us must go through if we are to be identified as sons and daughters of God: “REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING – THE WAY OF THE CROSS.” Father Justin Sequeira, SSS laid down the very powerful message on how we should see the cross as meaningful when he said, “The ‘cross’ is a word used by unbelievers, but see no meaning in it. With suffering, believers see the cross as something negative turned into something positive. As the Lord said, ‘I am present in your tragedy’.” Father Justin further explained that suffering becomes redemptive when we free someone by undergoing suffering ourselves… when we suffer to benefit others. However, as he said, suffering should be undertaken cheerfully and willingly, without complaining, and still continually praising God at all times.

The sharings given by Jojo Junio, District of Novaliches and Mike Javier, CFC-FFL Canada, manifested how such suffering is endured. Jojo shared what he and his family went through during the great flood brought by Typhoon Ondoy in September 2009, and how their faith and trust in the Lord led them to safety. Mike, on the other hand, was among the missionaries who met a terrible vehicular accident while on mission in Ghana. He shared how he was held in the Lord’s palm, and how our Blessed Mother interceded, throughout the ordeal until his recovery.

The outpouring of God’s love and mercy, as all of us face life’s travails, was experienced when His awesome presence was celebrated through the exposition and veneration of the Blessed Sacrament. The procession, marking the entrance of our Lord, made everyone feel the profound healing and merciful love our Father has for each of His children. Everybody was given the opportunity to come up front and touch the white cloth that magnificently flowed from the Blessed Sacrament, while pouring out one’s sufferings and longings to the heart of God. Adoration hymns were also sung before the Blessed Sacrament. It was touching and truly moving. It was a perfect spiritual feast that concluded the day.

On Sunday, January 24, participants were greeted by the Lord’s and Mama Mary’s love through the praying of the Holy Rosary led by CFC-FFL Thailand Country Servants Gerwyn and Rissa Tuason. Immediately after, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was concelebrated by Msgr. Anthony Kornu and Fr. Justin Sequeira. In his homily, Msgr. Anthony emphasized that “Rejoicing in the Lord should be your strength.” He also passionately reminded all that “the word of the Almighty is not just a concept… it is not just in our imagination. He is in our midst! God Emmanuel!” This, Msgr. Anthony said, gives us enough reason to rejoice.

Soon afterwards, Joe Yamba of CFC-FFL New Jersey led the worship. Just like the message of the homily, he made everyone realize that we are not just gate-keepers of our faith, but more importantly, we are “God-keepers!” Truly, all of us ought to be moved not only to keep God in our lives, but also to share Him with others. Our faith should move us and others to come to a deep understanding and full appreciation of the “JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD.” As CFC-FFL Servant General Frank Padilla weaved the messages of all the talks, it became clearer how God wonderfully arranges events in our lives, and how He continues to work in us and through us. The key, he said, is humility so God can continue to work in us. “I only want such a God! I will give Him my all!” should be our response. The Servant General also made it clear that suffering and affliction are not punishments, but rather, they are God’s ways to purify us. Just like what happened to Job, sufferings should deepen our understanding of who God is, which leads to restoration/redemption. As Jesus chose the cross to witness to a life of redemptive suffering, we are also called to holiness.

The last session further assured everyone that we, indeed, have a very just God. God’s plan for us is to live in total harmony with Him in paradise. However, as we stand before our righteous God, we are not free to go about matters our own way, but only God’s way. The Servant General also related how persistent God is, that no matter how hard we try to push Him away, He is still with us, going to the extent of giving His only Son! Hence, Divine Justice is not to condemn us, but to restore us through Jesus who is our model of holiness. From ourselves, this should be passed on to the family and to others through our community. That is why the Servant General said, we do not “recruit” members, but we “witness” to them. The session was capped by a reflection led by Mon Arguelles, with the song “The Restoration of Zion” wonderfully rendered by Bambi Urgino.

AWESOME… BREATHTAKING… SPLENDID… MAGNIFICENT. No words can capture the greatness of our God, yet, He chose to be with us and make us His own. With this, we give our Lord a never-ending standing ovation. We give Him our infinite applause by living holy lives as a witness to His righteousness, as we desire for His justice. Amen to God! All praises and glory to Him! He is truly an AWESOME GOD!

Contributed by:

Myra M. Menguito
CFC-FFL Education Ministry

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