This year’s Theme Weekend Retreat, held last 13 April 2024, saw more than 700 members of CFC-Sg in attendance. The eager participants arrived early at the Surbana Jurong  Campus, a venue which the community used for the very first time, and were joyfully received by the service team from West 1 Chapter. After registration, members had the opportunity to take photos at the beautifully prepared backdrops while some availed of the free coffee and tea and had their breakfast at the ample eating area. 

The retreat started on time at 8am with the opening Praise and Worship. The songs, the visuals, the exhortation and prayers by the P&W leader, bro Benedict Lam, effectively set the mood into a prayerful mode. 

In keeping up with this year’s theme, “Be a Servant and a Light to the Nations (Is. 49:6), a parade of lights followed. Waving colourful fluorescent sticks, the chapter leaders, cluster leaders, family ministry national heads, country heads, and the national council leaders paraded and took turns to go onstage briefly as a symbolic illustration of the theme. 

The prologue came next and bro Rudy Dimayacyac’s encouraging delivery led the participants to be excited and anticipate the four sessions to come.

The Slave God, the first session with bro Joe Yamamoto as speaker, reminded us of how Jesus came down from heaven and become like one of us. Only love can make this possible and God invited us to imitate Christ’s humility.  At the session’s end, we reflected on what the Lord is asking to empty ourselves of, for the sake of others and for the glory of God. 

The Obedient King, the second session with bro Raffy Ballesteros as speaker, was a call to emulate Christ’s obedience and His total surrender to the will of God. We obey God because we desire to love Him who unconditionally loves us and willingly offered himself for us. Our obedience to Him will always be rooted in love. At the end of the session, we put into writing the things we would like to commit to.

Call to Servanthood, the third session with bro Jimmy Ilagan as speaker, explained the importance of having the right attitude as servants. To be like Jesus is emulating what he showed us, that is, putting the needs of others before our own. We are a people called to witness Christ’s Servanthood by becoming the light to others. As Pope Francis said, “It is not enough to receive light; one must become light.” In our reflection, we were challenged to recognise our flaws to keep us grounded, as well as remember our innate goodness and gifts. For indeed we are called to offer our gifts as servants. 

A washing of the feet ceremony was the fitting end of the third session. All were invited to participate and imitate the humility and selfless love of Jesus.

As For Me and My Household, We Will Serve the Lord, the fourth and final session, with bro Romy Alfaro as speaker, reinforced God’s love for us and how we ought to respond. The promise of God’s faithfulness to the family clearly manifested the perfect and consistent commitment of God to us. His Plan for the family prompted God to create us in His image and likeness for us to mirror Himself. It is through our commitment to His plan that our purpose and destiny may be fulfilled. The Power through the gift of the Holy Spirit to the family to be a Servant and a Light of Christ enkindled in us how God envisions the family as the hope and solution. God remains faithful to us and we ought to obey and proclaim His faithfulness.

The different testimonies we heard from the sharers in every session, allowed us to understand and trust the ways God works in our lives. Being in CFC we are strengthened and empowered to lead others to Him and lead lives in accordance to His will.

Towards the end of the retreat, which remained spirit-filled and teemed with learnings, a holy mass was celebrated by Father Joachim Chang, assistant priest at Church of Christ the King. A mini praise fest led by Bro William Villaviray soon followed and everyone expressed gratefulness as we sang. There was, of course, the picture taking to capture the smiles of everyone present. This capped the retreat which we left joyfully, looking forward to the next.

The simple creatives presented by members of the organising chapter, the food that we partook together, songs we sang as led by the music ministry and the joy of being present and one with our brethren in our beloved community, all added to the success of this year’s retreat. Kudos and thanks to the organisers for all their efforts. 

To be a Servant and a Light to others may be a tall order but God has given us Jesus as our model, to imitate and follow. For all of these, may God be glorified and praised!

Written by: Sis Guia Creencia