The Couples for Christ India-Singles attended their annual National Singles Conference, held at the St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Renewal Centre, Old Goa from the 18th to the 20th of August 2017. The event saw a large turnout with around 240 delegates hailing from far and wide, crossing borders and rivers to get to Goa. We had our brothers and sisters from Assam, Gurgaon, Pune, Mumbai, North and South Bangalore, Margao, Caranzalem, Porvorim, and a new area this year, Mangalore. Drawing from the theme of the year, Romans 8:14, the conference was called Break Out.
The Conference comprised of workshops, games, sessions, mass, confessions, competitions and so much more. We began the three-day conference with the praise parade. This was a competition that the delegates had prepared for well in advance. They showed off their flags, colors and yelled out their chants while making a dramatic entrance and putting forward a very loud introduction to their chapter. We saw some of the shyest people, coming out of their comfort zones with loud voices we didn’t know they had.
We were then given the first session by Jimmy Xavier. We learned about the different lies that we tell ourselves or situations that we are pushed into, making us believe that we aren’t good enough or on the right track. The session was brought to life by the short skits that were added to it, which gave us a better look into our own lives to further drive the point home. We all went through some questionnaires that allowed us to take a deeper look at our personal lives.
No conference is complete without a few competitions and games. So right after being led through the Divine Mercy Rosary by Vanessa, the second half of the day gave us just that. Delegates were divided into tribes and competed against other tribes, in shows of strength, art, creativity, music and a lot more.
The second session, put forth by Dr. Ehrlson De Sousa, was titled ‘Sanctified by the Spirit’. Here we learned about the sanctifying gifts of the Holy Spirit, and how we can use them in our lives. Some of us were surprised to know we already possessed some of these gifts and didn’t known about them. Nikita, Albino and Erushka came forward to share their lives to show others how the Holy Spirit acts.
After attending mass, the mic was left open for people to come forward and share about their lives, allowing others to see the Holy Spirit at work in them. This also gave people an opportunity to tell the others their struggles and how they overcame them through prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit.
The night ended with the second chapter event, Broadway talent. Different chapters enacted a musical, that was funny, witty and gave the audience a lot to laugh about.
Day two began with the third session, titled ‘Moving in the Spirit’, given by Gerard Antony. The session covered the charismatic gifts of the Spirit, the different obstacles to receiving them and the antidotes to overcoming them.
Following the sessions, there was some time for reconciling with people who hurt us or were hurt by us. During this time, there was adoration before the blessed sacrament. The reconciliation carried forward to the next day and the delegates spent a lot of time reconciling over the last day of the conference as well. Many had held hurt for things others had done to them, while others were informed about the times they intentionally or unintentionally caused hurt. Many attendees left a ton of emotional baggage behind that day and a lot of friends reunited. Following the reconciliation, there were confessions. Twenty priests made time in their busy schedule to hear our confessions, after which we all felt light and as if a huge burden was taken off us. During the confessions, household servants prayed over their members. After this we had a short break followed by the workshop on the gift of tongues. After praying and praising in tongues, many of the delegates who could not speak in tongues were blessed with this gift.
For the second half of the second day, we had two workshops. The ‘Word of Knowledge’ and ‘The Gift of Prophecy’. During these workshops, two people, not well versed with each other, sat together and prayed for the other, hoping to get some clarity about the other person’s life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, many delegates received visions, messages, and knowledge about their partner. While for the gift of prophecy, they received word from scripture that could benefit their team mate. All the participants were overwhelmingly overjoyed and astonished by the experience.
The night ended with some more sharing’s and some wise words by Tito A. V. Jose, the CFCI Country Servant.
The final day gave the delegates their last session, entitled ‘Ambassadors for Christ’ delivered by Prajwal Pinto. The session spoke about how we are called to reconcile our brothers and sisters to God and each other and that our mission is to be ambassadors of peace. The session comprised of a talk show, with guest appearances by Joshua Cordeiro and Christy Gabriel.
The tiny two, Conroy Mendes and Roxanne Pinto enhanced the vibe of the conference with their humour, general chirpiness and wit. The ‘Bangalore Music Ministry (BMM)’ brought a whole new dimension to the conference with their electrifying performance and dynamic music. Not only did they go all out with teaching the attendees a whole bunch of new songs, but they also helped create the atmosphere needed to worship and feel God’s presence. Not failing to mention the amazing priests who came forward to celebrate masses on every one of the three days. Furthermore, the amazing worship leaders who handled worship sessions throughout the three days with great eagerness and enthusiasm. Finally, all this wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless effort by the service team who spent some sleepless nights making sure everything went according to plan.
I’d urge everyone who couldn’t make it to attend the next one, since conferences like this are usually life changing experiences. No matter how much you hear about them, you have to be there for yourself to believe what goes on.
As the famous quote goes, only when you know, you will act, only when you act, you will change, only when you change will there be a difference.