Laudate 2015

In Couples for Christ India, the month August has always been a time where Singles from all over the country gather to hear what God has been speaking to the entire community. With 12 chapters and 260 delegates, the National Singles Conference for 2015 kicked off with the theme “Laudate-A pleasing Sacrifice” at St Joseph Vaz spiritual retreat centre, Old Goa from August 21-23 2015.

The three grace filled days were packed with astounding praise and worship sessions, awe-inspiring talks, Eucharistic celebrations , adoration, soul stirring testimonies, group sharings and entertainment galore with the ‘Bangalore Music Ministry’ whose melodious music touched the hearts of one and all.

LAUDATE BOOK COVER A5 CMYK

DAY ONE


Levin Gomes, the National Singles Coordinator briefed the gathering about the theme for the year and discussed their various expectations from the conference.

The conference was declared open by Dr. Ehrlson de Sousa, the Event Coordinator, as he welcomed the Singles from different chapters where for the first time, brothers and sisters from Africa took part. Kim Xavier, Formator of CFCI Singles Bangalore, gave the first session on “What is Praise?“. She brought out this year’s theme beautifully which is

Hebrews 13:15 – “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.”

by explaining how we are to offer praise to God continually and that we were made to praise God because he alone is right and just and due of all our praises. After the teaching, the Singles were given an activity of writing down attributes of God from the book of Psalms. As there were Brothers and Sisters’ from Africa, the sessions and teachings were translated to French by Gatcheussi William, CFCI Single from the Bangalore Chapter.

Joshua Cordeiro, the National Program Coordinator for CFCI Youth followed up with the second teaching on “Power of Praise“. He spoke about praise and its effects and what praise can do to our lives. He helped everyone realize how praise can be used a weapon against strong holds, in all circumstances, and to measure the depth of our faith.

Rev.Fr. Edson, was invited to celebrate the Eucharist for the day. Post a sumptuous dinner, the entertainment night had different chapters participating in a “Mad Ads” contest, a Pre Conference competition where delegates had to advertise different products in a hilarious manner. Other Pre Conference competitions included Video making and T-shirt designing which were won by Bangalore Chapter and Wynoma Norronha form the Porvorim chapter respectively.

DAY TWO


The Singles started the day with praise and worship, followed by The Holy Eucharist celebrated by Rev. Fr. Henry.

Biron D’Souza, from Bangalore gave the next session on “Power of the Tongue“. The talk sent a strong message on how to use our tongues as life and death are in the power of the tongue. The Singles were challenged in this area to glorify God and bless Him.

The Singles were led into a time of adoration by the Bangalore Music Ministry where they were asked to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation with the help of ‘Examination of Conscience‘ from the Conference Spiritual Guide book.

The next session was followed by Ehrlson de Sousa from Porvorim, on the most beautiful woman in the Bible “Mary – a Heart that Praises“. He spoke about the characteristics of Mary and how we ought to be like her and look up to her in our daily struggles by trusting and having faith in God, in deep reverence of humility and total submission. The Singles were then led into the Holy Rosary by Maria Laveena and Elvis Dias, from Bangalore. After the rosary, as one congregation, the CFCI family consecrated all the chapters and the works under taken by the community nationwide into the holy and humble hands of our beloved Mother Mary.

Later, the Singles were asked to meet with their Chapter Formators to pen down their action plan for the coming year. After dinner, it was time again for the entertainment night where several games were organized for singles to get acquainted and bond with each other.

DAY THREE


The last day of the conference began with the Holy Rosary led by Christy and Basil from Gurgaon followed by Praise and worship. After breakfast, Brother Kelvin Santis, gave a teaching on the “Eucharist-The ultimate Sacrifice of Praise“. He explained the different parts of mass and the importance of the Eucharist in everyone’s life as it is the highest sacrifice of praise one can offer to God. The Singles were asked to prepare themselves to receive Jesus who is alive in flesh and blood on the altar as they were led into the Eucharistic celebration by Rev. Fr. Ralin who truly made the Holy Mass come alive with the manner in which he involved the faithful in the Liturgy of the Word.

Tito A.V Jose,- the Country Servant of CFCI addressed the Singles and explained to them the importance of evangelization. The young missionaries of CFCI were also invited forward as Singles stretched out their hands to pray over them.

Kelvin Castelino from Bangalore led the congregation through the Infilling of the Holy Spirit session. Tito Jose laid hands and prayed over the Formators from each chapter following which they went forward to pray over the household servants and the household members. The Singles witnessed to the marvelous working of the Spirit as many of them came up to share the wonderful things that the Lord was doing in their lives.

Ehrlson de Sousa gave the Vote of Thanks and also exhorted the singles to make use of the Spiritual Guide Book and follow the Vision Plan laid down to them, thus bringing down the curtains on a memorable and unforgettable experience. The Singles then danced away to glory and shouted praises to our Lord as the conference ended with Bangalore Music Ministry’s exhilarating Praise Fest.

The curtains were rolled down as the emcees, Basil Rodrigues and Diedre Rodrigues from Mumbai, brought a close to the evening with their glorious chant to Jesus, “WHEN I SAY PRAISE, YOU SAY JESUS, PRAISE YOU, JESUS!!

Do share your experience of the conference in the comment section below.

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6 Responses to Laudate 2015

  1. When I heard about the theme of the Conference a month ago, I was excited. I thought this is exactly what I needed in my life right now. The past few months, personally for me, have been difficult. I have often found myself cribbing, complaining, accusing others for being the reason why things are not the way they ought to be. In my pride, I often tend to think that only I know how to run things, especially in the Community. And I often have zero tolerance for those who in my view “dilute” who we are as a Community. So, I was never at peace with things happening around me, both in the Community and even personally.

    While I was preparing for the conference, I began praying the Magnificat daily, along with the Litany of Mary. I also pondered on Hebrews13:15, the theme of the conference. I started to realise God was calling me to be more humble, like Mary and to just surrender, even if it means things are not going to be in my control. The Magnificat slowly became my favourite prayer.

    As I attended the conference I became more aware of the same. I became aware that God loves me just the way I am. More than anything, I realised I am an instrument to be used in the Kingdom, and that everything I do is for God’s glory and not my own. I asked God for more opportunities to be humble so that I could use those instances to praise Him.

    Rightly enough, just a week after the conference, God revealed to me some of my (almost embarrassing) weaknesses. I began to praise God with tears in my eyes, realizing how imperfect as a human I am. And I kept getting reminded of the verse “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness”.

    What it made me also realise is how intolerant and impatient I am with the weaknesses of others, when God is so patient and loving to me inspite of mine. It also motivated me to always speak well of others, because putting down someone in slander, makes you disrespect the person, or makes you think you are better than them in some way (even if you are just stating the facts). Now, I am learning to deal with those around me with love.

    Though I’m still far way off from internalising the Conference completely, but I already feel more joyful in my walk with God. I hope that as the year passes by, I get a chance to live out the message of Laudate more and more.

  2. God has worked beautifully in my life. I have learnt that God works in his own ways and that He knows our deepest desires. I have experienced this and truly believe in it. And today I can stand with pride and share how God has spoken to me and how he listens to His people. At the beginning of the conference Levin questioned each one of us – “What are we here for?” Though we gave silly answers and even laughed over it, still deep down in my heart the same question needed an answer and the eagerness to know “Why?” And Levin’s reply was true – “I am here because God has chosen us and He has called us to be here”. His words struck me and he then urged us to listen to God and pray as to what He wants from us.

    I prayed and asked God that by the end of this conference I want an answer, and at the same time I was seeking answer to a particular question. But before knowing the question just a flashback. I use the Laudate app to pray, which I use religiously everyday in the morning. Two days before the conference I opened the app to pray, and something spoke within me saying, “You use this app every day. Do you really know what Laudate means?” I was taken aback by that thought. I had no idea what it meant and I thought I would search the meaning or ask my household – but I didn’t end up doing either. This thought kept troubling me and there was an eagerness to know. But I let this be with me and did not let anyone know about it.

    As I mentioned before God knows our deepest desires. We reached a day prior to the conference at the venue and were helping the team with the setup. I was watching them put up the conference banner and to my surprise the conference was called – Laudate! I rejoiced because this was exactly what I was looking forward to – to know what Laudate meant. I thanked God for he knew that I wanted to know and said – “Jesus, you are the only one who could do this.” I praised him for what he had done. I couldn’t stop smiling and my heart was filled with joy.

    There were certain struggles that I was going through, which were all connected to each other. At the last conference – Hearts of Sacrifice, I didn’t know how to praise and pray, especially in tongues. It was more than a year that I was praying to the Holy Spirit to teach me to praise and to receive the gift of tongues. Unfortunately, I never received it. I was also apprehensive about praying at our household meeting because I felt I was not good at it. During our COP talk on holiness, I felt God speak to me through our household member saying that God doesn’t want fancy prayers and words. God just wants me, and he is our Father, we can tell him anything we want. We don’t require special words to express our love for him. He is right there waiting for each of one of us. That really struck me and it helped me get closer to God our Father and to know the trinity love.

    Now after a year of praying and waiting, during the conference worship, God gave me the gift of tongues. And he also revealed to me the true meaning of Laudate, and from now on I will always be open to His Word. I learnt at the conference that it is only and purely praises that God wants from me.

  3. I don’t know what part of the conference changed me or even if any part of it did. I attended the talks everyone attended and ate the food everyone ate, was inspired by the things most people were; how much filth comes out of my mouth, what am I thinking about right now and so on but nothing stood out at that time. Looking back nothing in particular seems exceptionally significant. It feels like everything played some role or the other.

    After the conference though, a lot changed. The following Monday began like any other and I thought I was the same person who entered the conference three days ago, but I was not. I attended mass with a friend as it was his birthday and it made me very happy. I mean a mass has never made me that happy before. I haven’t stopped since, I usually complained that mass was during work and I sometimes got late so didn’t attend it or some meeting was delayed and that was out of my control. However, to avoid this nonsense from ruining mass for me, I decided to start attending mass super early in the morning. 6:45 am , and this is something I would never usually do. I don’t even know why, I just realised that it makes me happy and I have to do it. Sometimes my church is closed and I ride to a neighbouring village to attend, courtesy my epic bike. Alright, this isn’t a sacrifice because I love to ride around on my motor cycle.

    That’s not all, with me, it never is. I have changed as a person as well, I refused to tell you people this, as it might seem like I am praising myself but my friends said I should mention it as they noticed a change in me as well. (Shoot me a personal message if you need references). I haven’t cussed or sworn since I walked out that conference hall. In the past I had made many attempts to make sure I didn’t, but I had to speak very slow and be attentive to anything I was saying, and after a few days, I would go back to old habits. NO MORE, I just talk casually now and nothing even slips out, nothing at all. It’s amazing! My friends sometimes find this weird because the situation might need one but they don’t get it out of me and I correct whoever they get it out of.

    Like mentioned earlier, it ain’t over yet. I used to be a troubled douchebag in the past with very little patience and always angry and grumbling, safe to say, been as cool as a cucumber and haven’t lashed out at anyone. People are actually offended now when I compliment them. (I will send screenshots here as is well, if required).

    There is a tonne more, but sending this from my phone while I wait for my father, is making my fingers hurt so, I’ll end with one more. I used to use specific words to describe people or their habits, not bad words just rude ones. If I have painted a clear picture of the kind of person I was, you would know where I am going with this. Anyways, I don’t do that anymore. Odd enough, someone was describing a girl to me using the exact same vocabulary I would have used a few days back, and I felt it was offensive. I wanted to tell him to stop but I thought it would be hypocritical since I was doing the exact same thing so I stayed silent and after a while I couldn’t stay quiet anymore so I told him to be quiet.
    He stopped and I felt like I was putting on this fake mask and fighting crime when I was actually a criminal myself. I gave it a week and today I can say, I don’t think about that person, that old me, anymore. That was a different chapter of my life and I am NOT like that anymore. I personally believe I have changed, let’s wait for people around me to decide whether it’s for the better or for the worse.

    FYI: I hate travelling but I am happily going on mission coming Saturday.

    Praise God!