Bearing Witness

Ehrlich de Sousa and Suzette de Sousa have been married for 31 years. They have been a part of CFCI, in Porvorim Goa for 24 years. They would like to share their experiences, lessons learnt and how life has changed after encountering the Lord.

How has your family life changed after joining CFCI?
After joining CFCI, God has become the focus of everything. Prayer – both personal and family prayer – occupies a central place in our lives. We do not make any decision without taking it to the Lord in prayer, asking for his guidance and direction

What are your attitudes about your children?
Parental attitudes are the main social influence which the child experiences during their childhood. As we joined CFCI when our kids (a son and a daughter) were very small, we were able to mould them in a way different from the worldly way. After my encounter with the Lord, I was able to let go of performance anxiety. Learning to trust that God has a plan for each one translated into different behaviour towards the kids.

We laid great emphasis on prayer and building a relationship with Jesus. Regular reading out loud, stories from the Bible and lives of saints was another way we nurtured them. They would sometimes accompany us for our Household meetings. Now, both of them were very regular and prompt in attending their respective prayer meetings. I personally shared a good relationship with the Holy Spirit and I would often talk about the guidance and direction received from the Holy Spirit thus inculcating a hunger in them to want to experience the same.

What are the usual elements of your family prayer time?
Our family prayer time comprises of free praise, then reading of Psalms – never missing out Psalm 91. We then dedicate our day to Mother Mary and finally call on our Guardian Angels to be by our side during the day. As the occasion demands, we also ask the intercession of our favourite saints. Besides this, we also have the family rosary.

What are the challenges you faced as a couple, and how did you resolve them?
As a couple, we faced many challenges. Our marriage in the initial years was rather difficult. Lack of communication, money issues, inability to forgive, lack of appreciation were some of the issues that rocked our boat.

But with the help of brothers and sisters in the community, through much prayer, attending marriage enrichment retreats as well as the Marriage Encounter weekend, we were able to carry on, believing that through it all God had a great plan for us.

What do you think are the problems affecting couples today?
Excessive use of technology, chasing after money, stress, exhausting work schedules

How have you’ll been serving God as a family?

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:15, NKJV)

This verse is apt to describe what we as a family are doing. Right from the time of our commitment we have taken an active role in the CFCI community, serving first as household servants and later as chapter servants. For nearly 7 years we worked with Singles and currently, we’re nurturing the young couples from our chapter.

Both of our children are also actively involved in the work of building God’s kingdom. Our son and his wife are household servants in the Singles ministry as also is our daughter. Additionally, our son is also on the Core team of Singles and our daughter is in the music ministry

What do you love most about the relationship you share with your children since coming to the Lord?
The very open and free relationship I share with the kids, their willingness to correct me when I’m wrong but above all their obedience is to be really admired.

Families, become what you are.
“Spouses are therefore the permanent reminder to the Church of what happened on the Cross; they are for one another and for the children witnesses to the salvation in which the sacrament makes them sharers. Of this salvation event, marriage, like every sacrament, is a memorial, actuation, and prophecy. As a memorial, the sacrament gives them the grace and duty of commemorating the great works of God and of bearing witness to them before their children. As actuation, it gives them the grace and duty of putting into practice in the present, towards each other and their children, the demands of a love which forgives and redeems. As prophecy, it gives them the grace and duty of living and bearing witness to the hope of the future encounter with Christ.”
~ Pope St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio. 1981.

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