Last weekend was a gift for our community in CFC Kids for Christ as we attended the Family Conference 2019 with the theme “Light to the World”. It was held in Columban College-Baretto, Olongapo City, Zambales. It was an annual gathering of CFC-KFC families from Metro Manila and North Luzon.
This is special for us because this is Aljhon’s first KFC conference as well as the first time for us to go together as a CFC and Couple Coordinator. I think the last conference I attended was way back 2008, when it was still called International Kids’ Village (IKV). I love how it transformed- focusing on families and building and strengthening family values, incorporating theological “lessons” into sessions but explaining it in a way even little children can understand, and requiring the delegates to utilize non-disposable dining utensils. The conference has indeed changed- adding variety of workshops that children learned practical stuff like saving money, having a ROCK facilitators assembly, and conducting a Parenting Summit. I am proud and pleased to be able to attend the conference with our young “children”.
Day 1 opened at 9am with Creative Competitions- a friendly contest showcasing talents from families of North Luzon CFC & KFC. It features dance, band, duet, show choir, tableaux, and painting competitions that must be participated in as a family. Daddy Aljhon and I were supposed to join show choir (Family Pitch Perfect) but he got sick during rehearsals so we had to back out. In the afternoon, sports took the spotlight as the conference continued with Sports Competitions. Our chapter didn’t have a representative to any event so we just spent the afternoon fixing our things in our accommodation room, watching some family games, and preparing ourselves for the session in the evening.
Evening session began with a Holy Mass celebration, followed by preliminaries from CFC & KFC leaders. We got our dinner and ate in the session hall (Columban College Gymnasium). Afterwards, an Aeta tribe from Zambales presented their tribal dances, welcoming all delegates to their province and culture. Then session 1 began, given by Remojo Family. It was about the characteristics of the Catholic Church being One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic and how we can strengthen the Church through Culture of Togetherness. It urges the families to do things together, especially attending the Mass together, because that’s how we can fight the indifference that is slowly breaking up the Filipino Church and families. The activity challenged us to think of our personal promises to strengthen our family, and make a family covenant to always practice the Culture of Togetherness. The night closed with a worship and Kids’ Praise.
Day 2 began early for us. Since there were a lot of delegates and few shower rooms provided, the girls and I woke up at 4:30am to take a bath. Then breakfast was served at 7am, followed by praying the rosary at 7:30. The first activity for the day was the ROCK Facilitators Assembly, discussing with our YFCs the importance of time management and proper prioritizing. Then it was followed by Morning Kids’ Praise and then, Session 2. It was given by Fr. Tim and the Florencio family. It was about the power of the Eucharist. Fr. Tim talked about 4 powerful things that happen when we attend Mass: (1) it unites us with Jesus, (2) it separates us from sin and our inclination to sin, (3) it brings us closer as brothers and sisters, and (4) it makes us more thankful and faithful. It rightfully concluded with the celebration of the Holy Mass.
The afternoon activities centered on workshops. Our kids attended theirs, while the Parents had a parenting seminar. Of course, it was about Mental Health. Hmmmm medyo hindi satisfying ang pagkakadeliver ni Speaker. Mental Health is a beautiful but complex topic, and I think it must be delivered in a positive and creative way. Anyway, there was a firehose bath after all the workshops, but our Chapter opted not to come. We stayed in the room until dinner time. Then we came back to the Session Hall to watch the Praise Parade. It was heartwarming to see a Father and son tandem to lead the delegates into worship. The day closed in by 9pm.
We began Day 3 at 4:30am again. We still had our breakfast by 7am, but we sneaked into a mini-photoshoot before attending the Mass at 8am. Session 3 was afterwards, challenging us to become Light to the World by becoming modern day Saints. We had an activity of choosing our Family Saint, and we chose St. Peter because just like him, we are close to Jesus but sometimes we fail and deny Him, but are still saved by God’s grace. Concluding the session, there were 4 family sharers who talked about the KFC values which we can all imitate and practice in order to become Saints- Love for God, Love for Family, Love for the Poor, and Love for Life. We then proceeded to the final worship and Kids’ Praise, wrapping up the Conference. We felt blessed because we were also had the chance to pray over one another as a family.
The conference ended with a lunch, and our North b sector took a side trip to a beach resort, thanks to the generosity of our CFC leaders. We left Zambales by 5pm and arrived safely in QC by 11pm.
The North luzon Family Conference 2019 is one of the weekends I will always treasure. I was able to serve our children in the community as well as learn more with the husband on how to become better Couple Coordinators. I realized so many things, and I am truly grateful to God for giving us this service. Though I missed Ella because we left her with Loloy and Lolay, we will definitely bring her to the next FamCon at La Union. Right now, we’re off to applying what we learned and becoming Light to the World!