COUPLES FOR CHRIST
Couples for Christ (CFC) is an international private association of the laity, recognized by the Vatican through the Pontifical Council of the Laity, intended for the renewal and strengthening of Christian family life. The members have committed themselves to the Lord and to one another so that they may grow in maturity as men and women of God and fulfill their primary vocation of raising up families under the lordship of Jesus Christ and for the service of the Kingdom of God.
Couples for Christ (CFC) is a work of Christ which raises up Christian couples and establishes Christian families committed to the work of evangelization, winning the world for Christ and Total Human Liberation through the power of the Holy Spirit.
It grows mainly through the establishment of localized units in different parishes
Building the Church of the Home
Couples for Christ (CFC) is a “Charismatic Family Life Renewal Movement”. Central in its life and mission is the new, powerful and life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit that the lives of CFC members are transformed and their relationship with Jesus is renewed, coming to know Him personally so that they may proclaim His name through words and lives of service in their local communities.
Couples for Christ (CFC) provides pastoral care to its members through its family ministries, namely: Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD), Servants of the Lord (SOLD), Singles for Christ (SFC), Youth for Christ (YFC) and Kids for Christ (KFC).
Building the Church of the Poor
Recognizing the social dimension of the Gospel, “Bringing Glad Tidings to the Poor” provides the vehicle by which the social teachings of the Catholic Church are realized. These teachings remind all Couples for Christ (CFC) members that the personal problem that relate to poverty is not only the sins of the poor, but also the sins of the rich.
Gawad Kalinga (GK) which means “to give care”, is Couples for Christ’s flagship program in helping the poor, is a way of living out the life that our Lord Jesus Christ has taught us. It is an alternative solution to the blatant problem of poverty not just in the Philippines but in the world. Gawad Kalinga’s vision for the Philippines is a slum-free, squatter-free nation through a simple strategy of providing land for the landless, homes for the homeless, food for the hungry and as a result providing dignity and peace for every Filipino. Gawad Kalinga (GK) is more than about building houses for the poorest of the poor. Providing a decent home is just the beginning of the transformation of the people and the community. With most members of Couples for Christ (CFC) immersed with the work on the ground there is great hope for a total human liberation in the Gawad Kalinga (GK) communities.
What started in 1995 as a daring initiative by Couples for Christ (CFC) to rehabilitate juvenile gang members and help out-of-school youth in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, then the biggest squatters’ relocation area in the Philippines, has now evolved into a movement of nation-building. In 2006 Gawad Kalinga (GK), received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, for harnessing the faith and generosity of Filipinos the world over to confront poverty in their homeland and to provide every Filipino the dignity of a decent home and neighborhood. The Ramon Magsaysay Award is considered to be the Asian counterpart of the Nobel Prize.
Building the Church of the Pilgrim – Catholic Migration
As a Catholic lay organization with a large number of migrants, Couples for Christ (CFC)-Europe recognizes the importance of serving the needs of its members on Catholic migration concerns, and works with Catholic chaplains all over Europe.
On a limited scale, it has provided social assistance to a number of Filipinos on migration issues, and intends to embark on a renewed effort to expand its evangelization focus to other Catholic migrants.
Couples for Christ-Vienna
Couples for Christ-Vienna falls under the Central Region of Couples for Christ-Europe. CFC-Europe is headed by the European Coordinator appointed by the Manila-based CFC-International Council.
CFC-Europe began in October 1995 when 12 couples completed the Christian Life Program (CLP) in Paris, France. Currently, Couples for Christ (CFC) is present in Europe in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Although its members consist mostly of Catholic migrant Filipinos, CFC-YFC members in Poland are all locals while in Malta, they are Maltese and Indians.
In Vienna, CFC came in September 1995 when the first Christian Life Program (CLP) was held through the initiative of Fr. Joey Demoy, who was then the new Chaplain of the Filipino Catholic Community. The seminar was held for two consecutive weekends and was conducted by six CFC couples who came all the way from Manila. For the 62 participants who finished the seminar, the CLP was a new experience. The twelve talks and the personal testimonies shared by the speakers inspired the participants towards a deeper and more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. They learned a new way to pray and worship - in songs, in shouts of joy, in dances and in tongues. They came to understand the workings of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was no longer just the dove in paintings of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan, but an ever-present, loving companion. It’s as if a new beginning has come, the world seemed less hostile, there was an unexplainable urge to make friends with everybody, and each day began and ended with praises and prayers. Close relationships were formed in the household and the general assembly became the most anticipated activity every month.
The 1st Christian Life Program (CLP) in Vienna yielded 21 Couples for Christ (CFC), 12 Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) and 8 Singles for Christ (SFC). In 1996, again under Fr. Joey’s initiative, the first Youth for Christ (YFC) Youth Camp was held in St. Oswald, Lower Austria with over 60 young participants. Not long after that, the first Kids for Christ (KFC) Camp was also conducted, finally making CFC–Vienna complete with all the family ministries.
Based on the Pontifical recognition granted on 11 March 2000, Couples for Christ (CFC) also received recognition as an association of the faithful from the Archdiocese of Vienna by virtue of a decree issued on 1 June 2001 signed by Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn.
In cognizance of the vibrancy, potential and commitment of its members, CFC-Vienna was soon named the CFC Mission Center for Europe. CFC-Vienna grew steadily in number, reaching thousands by its 10th year anniversary in 2005. Armed with new found boldness in proclaiming the Good News, new communities were also established in other provinces in Austria. Being the Mission Center, CFC-Vienna is instrumental in bringing CFC to most countries in Europe and elsewhere.
Gawad Kalinga (GK), has added a new dimension to Christian community life. What used to be just faith has become faith in action. Gawad Kalinga-Austria supports the Prayer Mountain village in Antipolo City and several towns in the Bicol Region. Through the generosity of many who wanted not just “to go back” but “to give back” to the motherland, thirty families have been given decent homes and their children sent to school.
The Christian Life Program (CLP)
The Christian Life Program (CLP) is the entry point to Couples for Christ (CFC) and its Family Ministries. Everyone who would like to join Couples for Christ (CFC) should complete the CLP. The CLP starts with the Orientation session and then goes through 10 weekly meetings. The weekly sessions last about 2 ½ hours. However, a schedule can be tailored according to the availability of the participants.
The topics of the talks are: God’s Love, Who is Jesus Christ?, What it means to be a Christian, Repentance and Faith, The Christian Ideal: Loving God, Loving your neighbor, The Christian Family, Life in the Holy Spirit, Receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, Growing in the Spirit, The Life and Mission of CFC, Transformation in Christ.
After the Christian Life Program (CLP), one becomes a part of a small group (4 to 6 couples or 6 to 8 persons) called a Household. The Household meets weekly for mutual support and encouragement in the Christian life, under the direction of a Household Leader. A typical meeting will involve some time for prayers, a time for discussion (sharing) and some time for fellowship. Many members fondly call the Household their “filling station”. Finishing the CLP is just the beginning of a long process of growth and transformation in Christ. CFC provides a continuing program for formation through teachings, recollections, retreats, conferences and fellowships.
For further information about Couples for Christ and its Family Ministries please contact:
Couples for Christ European Mission Center - Vienna
Wienerfeldgasse 11, 1100 Vienna, Austria
Tel./Fax +431 954 8818
Mobile +43 676 3332505
Web Sites: www.cfcglobal.org.ph www.cfceurope.org www. gawadkalinga.org