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Passing The Legacy To The Coming Generations

CFC Canada Holds Mission Conference

It was a red-letter day for Couples for Christ in Canada. Ground Zero was the Regal Constellation Hotel in the recently amalgamated megacity of Toronto. The event was extra special. Dubbed Mission Conference, it was the CFC Canada and Family Ministries Conference. It was indeed unique and truly special for it was in reality five separate conferences held simultaneously under one roof. Five different ministries: CFC, HOLD, SFC, YFC and KFC ran their own conferences that kept the cavernous satellite ballrooms of Regal Constellation Hotel buzzing, pulsating and rocking with Spirit-filled activities. SOLD members, due to their small number, were merged in the conference.

The idea for a multi-ministry conference was originally hatched by the leaders of CFC Vancouver. There were doubts about its viability at first but faith and trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit encouraged them to move on. The success of the 4- ministry CFC Canada and Family Ministries Conference in Vancouver emboldened the CFC leadership in Toronto.

At the helm was Jun Reyes, CFC Region Head for Eastern Canada and Chairperson of the Conference Steering Committee. With the able leadership of Ricky Cuenca, CFC Country Coordinator for Canada, they went a step further by adding a full conference for a fifth ministry, the KFC, making CFC Canada's Mission Conference a five-in-one conference. The 3-day weekend conference thus became a true family conference in all respects that sprung with the coming together of families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth.

Friday night, saw over 1,500 participants of all ages, shapes and sizes converge at the hotel's Constellation Ballroom for the opening ceremonies and welcome festivities. Proudly and gaily the delegations from the different Canadian provinces and cities praise-paraded into the room and onto the stage for the raising of their banners. Contingents from other continents were present - CFC Ghana, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia and YFC Germany. Most delegations rendered brief musical presentations depicting their area and displaying items their city is well known for.

Host city Toronto wowed the crowd with welcome presentation numbers by the area ministries.

Saturday was the start of the conference proper and the huge congregation broke up into their ministry's conference in their own ballrooms.

The conference service team led by Terry and Deeda Savage of the U.S., Philippine full-time workers Luis Oquinena and Maricar Gatchalian worked feverishly with their Toronto counterparts Frank and Marisa Nuguid. Beefed-up by volunteers Eleonore Chichioco of YFC New Jersey and Sandi Pranza of SFC Manila, they coordinated with ministry heads and designated segment producers to ensure that each conference ran smoothly at any given time.

The Philippine team composed of Frank and Gerry Padilla, Rouquel and Nina Ponte together with Lito Urgino of CFC USA provided most of the inspiring talks that formed the real core of the conference. Powerful sharing that moved people to deep thought and emotion were given by Canadian ministry members. Appropriate reflection songs and creative components moved participants to open themselves up to the inspiration and leading of the Holy Spirit. The Toronto clergy were also very visible throughout the conference with the presence of Fr. Mark Villanueva, CFC Toronto Spiritual Director, and other priests.

Adding to the festive atmosphere in all conference ballrooms. Saturday night was fun night for all ministries and with themes such as Victory, Set The Captives Free, Freedom and Latino Night, it was indeed a very colorful and fun-filled evening of fellowship for everyone. The event was graced by the presence of Latino superstar Ricky Martin, CFC Canada's version that is, in the person of Ricky Cuenca, Country Coordinator for Canada. His special rendition of La Vida Cuenca (Loca) really rocked the house.

Sunday witnessed everyone waking up to the bittersweet realization that it was the third and final day of the conference. It was time for Terry Savage to give the final talk and the prayer of empowerment. Everyone was made to understand and realize that the legacy of CFC and its family ministries had to be passed on to the coming generations. All conference activities were then brought to a close with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided by Monsignor Murphy, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Toronto and personal representative to the CFC conference of His Eminence, Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic.

Time indeed moves so swiftly. Soon it was time to declare that the Mission Conference was officially closed and preparations for the next Conference open. However, everyone had to accept the reality that it would no longer be possible to hold a conference of all the ministries at the same time and at the same venue. Growing numbers of membership in all ministries and administrative and logistical limitations have made the repeat of Mission Conference a virtual impossibility. Hence, it was announced that for the next year, the ministries shall hold their conferences at different times and in different cities. And that fact just made the CFC Canada and Family Ministries Conference really unique and one-of-a-kind.

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