‘BELOVED 2019’ – A young-couples conference for both CFCI and non-CFCI couples was organized on Sunday, 1 September 1, 2019, by CFCI Mangalore in association with The Diocesan Family Life Service Centre, Bajjodi at the Most Holy Redeemer Church, Golden Jubilee Hall in Mangalore. The conference was aimed at providing the tools required to make a marriage amazing.
The participants were welcomed and taken to a photo booth designed to remind them of the day of their marriage. The music ministry engaged the couples by teaching a few songs followed by power-packed praise and worship which set the tone for the day. The conference was then inaugurated by Rev. Fr. Anil D’souza, Director of The Diocesan Family Life Centre, Mangalore and the Spiritual Director for CFCI Mangalore and the event heads. In his inaugural speech, he welcomed the participants by saying ‘Many are called but few are chosen’ and telling them that they were chosen by God to be here and encouraged that they apply everything they learn to make their marriage fruitful.
The MC’s kept the couples thoroughly entertained throughout the day. The storyline was that God had asked them to build a house and they were attending the conference for inputs.
The first session began by asking the participants to write down what their dream marriage looked like. The speakers then helped the participants to understand that it was God who designed marriage and He has a concrete plan in place for every couple. And this plan is:
‘Therefore, a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed’.
~ Genesis 2:24-25
However, we fail to live out His plan because we don’t focus on that which is important. We need to invest in our marriage and this requires hard work. They then introduced the four pillars required to make a great marriage – Priority, Pursuit, Possession and Purity.
After a break, the second session resumed by focusing on the first two pillars – ‘priority’ and ‘pursuit’ based on the Scripture verse:
‘Therefore, a man leaves his father and his mother and cleave to his wife’ ~ Genesis 2:24.
It was explained that priority for spouse comes next only to God. The speakers gave sharings from their own life that the most common hurdles in putting our spouse first are parents, children, work, gadgets and sometimes friends too. Participants were asked to review their current priorities and given an understanding of what priorities in our married life should be like. The next part of the session emphasized on the importance to pursue our spouse by doing the deeds we did at the beginning of the marriage, to apologize when we take our spouse for granted and to constantly let our spouses know that we love them and are thinking about them.
We then celebrated the Eucharist with Rev. Fr. Victor D’mello, the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Remedies, Kirem and previous Spiritual Director of CFCI Mangalore as the main celebrant and Fr. Austin Peris and Fr. Aquin Noronha as the concelebrants. The first half of the day ended with the novena where the children of the participants strewed flowers outside the hall honouring Mama Mary.
The afternoon began with power-packed praise and worship where the worship-leader encouraged everybody to participate wholeheartedly. It was a great joy to see the new couples raise their hands praising and worshipping God. This was followed by a game that thoroughly-entertained couples.
The third session for the day was on the next two pillars – Possession and Purity based on the Scripture verse:
‘and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed’.
~ Genesis 2:24-25
The speakers explained what ‘one flesh union’ actually means, how everything that we own is not yours or mine but ours and this is possible only when we grow in trust and intimacy. They also spoke on how we need to mutually submit to one another. The fourth pillar ‘purity’ was about openness in marriage – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They used sharings of their own life to explain which areas could hurt our spouses when we aren’t open and concluded by asking the participants to identify the areas of their life which they needed to work on to grow in the pillars of possession and purity.
The fourth and the final session of the day was on parenting. The session stressed on the importance of learning from God and finding answers in Scriptures, the need to prepare our children for their eternal home in heaven and above all, the fundamental principle of parenting is love. The speakers shared numerous experiences from their life on how they had both failed and succeeded in these aspects which made the session very practical.
The conference ended with an introduction to CFCI for the non-community members and a Praise Fest. The children of the participants too enjoyed their day with sessions, action songs and activities at the same venue where a parallel program was organized for them by the youth and singles of the community. The couples returned home carrying the message that as they begin working or strengthening these pillars the theme verse
‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’ (Songs 6:3)
will become a reality in their married life.