Conducting a Life in Christ Seminar (LCS) at San Guillermo Parish in Buting, Pasig City was just a dream for us, knowing the challenges that lie ahead.
How do you take just one step when you know that there is this sensitive part of the body that you just cannot easily move? When good friends fall apart due to differences in opinion, a pain is left in the heart. Not to mention there was this feeling that the parish is simply not yet ready and so how do we make it ready? We don’t know. That is how it is in our parish.
The initial plan for LCS remained a plan for several months. Those assigned to lead and assist had several personal challenges. We planned again, this time reaching the parish priest. Somehow it did not flourish even if support is all out. Some strange force is working against us.
God made His first move. A young and enthusiastic priest, Fr. Michael Ortega, came to our parish and into our lives. He enjoys church activities and encourages everyone to continue with what is already working. A glimpse of hope woke us up but still how do we pursue LCSC? His being there does not change the fact that CFCFFL and CFC Global are still not the best of friends like we used to be.
God did His next move. The letter from us with Bishop Milo Vergara’s endorsement encouraging LCS in the parish landed on the hands of CFC Global. Father Michael, for some reasons, gave it to them. Being good soldiers that they are, the challenge is to know what it is all about. Again for months, it remained a plan. Do they ask us to join them? Do we teach them? Are they the first participants?
The questions ended when Father Michael formally apologized to CFCFFL for the mistake and took the letter from CFC Global and forwarded it to us. Now, what do we do? We don’t want this to be a reason for CFC Global and CFCFFL to widen further the chasm of their relationship. It took us several meetings and timeline settings including self-convincing that we take this opportunity to bridge that gap. We again drafted a doable plan that seems to be mutually acceptable. There is no stopping us now.
On October 4, we met with the CFC Global group to iron out details of this joint plan with respect to the fact that they first received the letter and they, too, want to do LCS but just do not know how to go about it. It was a fruitful meeting. Work was equally divided and delegated.
On November 7, we had our bonding session to rekindle the friendship. Everybody brought food to share. We had games. It was so enjoyable that they still raved for more. Like the old times, we were one again.
On November 8, our CFCFFL group went as far as Bataan to observe how LCS is conducted. Again God was there with us. We had a breath of fresh air. We met brothers and sisters there – Bro. Jeo Liban, Bro. Regs Queddeng, Bro. Frank Abian of Cainta, and Bro Lito of Morong, Bataan to name a few. Everybody was gracious and thankful. We also participated in some given activities.
We conducted the joint LCS on November 14, 2015. When we reached San Guillermo Parish, some members of the Parish Pastoral Council were already there. Everybody was working on their assignments. The registration table was a busy area. Even Father Michael asked for a name plate and joined the group discussions. We had great speakers: Bro. Allan Santiago and Bro. Chito Angeo from CFC Global, Bro. Dan Magtibay, Bro. Hernan Casas and Bro. Allan Gaddi from CFCFFL.
The true test of this effort is measured by the attendance. Guess what? There were 108 faithful, including the service team, who responded to God’s call. When we were almost done, Father Michael asked that the collection basket be passed around. For a while we thought “for what?” but as obedient disciples we did and the proceeds were handed over to him.
When the last talk was over we asked for Father Michael’s blessings. He surprised us by thanking everyone, with special mention to CFCFFL and CFC Global. He was really happy of the outcome. He handed over the collection basket to the representatives of the two groups, Bro. Danny Nieves and Bro. Marlo Flores, as LCS seed money so that the LCS and related programs will gain ground in the parish. His appreciation did not stop there. He also gave each group an envelope with cash gift as token.
For us, the Life in Christ Seminar was a journey orchestrated by God. He sent a medium to make possible the impossible.
Truly everything happens for a reason in God’s perfect time.
By Chody Doris Salengua
Chody Doris Salengua