Matthew 20:28 “…even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…”
Around 550 CFCI members from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Miao diocese) assembled together for a three-day Household Leaders Training (HHLT) Program from 23rd to 25th March 2018 conducted at Divine Renewal Retreat Centre, Margherita.
The goal of the Training Program was to train CFCI members to be Servant Leaders i.e., leaders who would be willing to serve rather than expect to be served.
Session 1, “Being a Servant” covered the identity, duty and obedience of a Christian servant. It highlighted the obstacles that a willing leader could face in becoming true servants of Christ, such as lack of trust, disinclination to serve, human rebelliousness and a natural tendency to think about oneself rather than other people. The session also covered ways to recognize signs of a truly mature Christian servant through everyday living, words and faithfulness in small things. The participants were challenged with
John 12:24-26 “…unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it will remain alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
Fr. Albert Hemron, Family Commission in charge, celebrated the Holy Eucharist and emphasized how the Mother Church encourages lay people to preach the gospel through their vocation of marriage.
Session 2 covered the structure of CFCI – “The Household“. The talk discussed the different CFCI meetings held during a month i.e. teaching meeting, two household meetings and one chapter meeting. It shed light on the purpose and challenges that accompany the household, along with the attitude that is required of household members and the household head.
Session 3, “Character of a Servant” spoke about the quality of humility which is the pre-requisite to service and is essential to learning from one another. It also shed light on the important role a household servant couple plays in reaching out to their fellow household members.
Participants were divided into groups (husband and wife separate) according to their parishes and were asked to share on the teachings given, thereby bringing out the importance and role of household meetings in CFCI structure.
All sessions were followed by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, enabling participants to personally reflect on the various sessions and teachings in a prayerful atmosphere.
At the end of the day, members were asked to share about their experiences on how God has been working in their lives.
Session 4, “Building up brethren” explained that a servant leader requires to have a personal relationship with members, which flows from their own personal relationship with Jesus, through their daily prayer, Scripture reading and willingness to reach out to members not just during the household meetings but during the entire week.
Session 5, Preparation for Christian Life Seminar, an initiation program for those interested in experiencing a new life in Christ by being part of CFCI.
Participants were fortunate to be able to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Participants were led in a time of preparation before the Blessed Sacrament, after which the Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Fr. Shaji, parish priest of Tinsukia. He encouraged couples to continue to spend time with each other even after many years of marriage, just as they used to do when they were just engaged, to walk together in love towards Christ.
The concept of “Quality time” was introduced to the couple participants, encouraging them to focus on their weekly couple time to share their hearts with each other, appreciate the good things and the hurts that they might have experienced in their relationship. Both husbands and wives were encouraged to start and end this time in prayer. There were visible signs of joy and love on the faces of couples post this activity.
The day came to an end by thanking God for the different encounters with His love in their lives.
As this day was the beginning of the Holy Week, the celebration of the Eucharist by His Grace, Bishop Joseph Aind, Bishop of Dibrugarh made the day even more special. People welcomed him joyfully with song and dance. His beautiful homily was a reminder that the love of Christ through His passion, death and resurrection, persuades us all to let the same love become the driving force in our families. He stressed the importance of a prayerful atmosphere in our homes to foster faith, love and hope. He recognized how the CFCI has played such a pivotal role in bringing faith in action at the family level in different parts of Assam and encouraged CFCI to bring more families into the fold of CFCI movement which would, in turn, enrich the Catholic community in the diocese. Fr. Johnson (Director), Fr. Paul (Superior), Fr. Sebastian (Administrator) and Fr. Francis of Divine Retreat Centre Margherita concelebrated the Mass with the Bishop.
This whole programme not only mentored the participants to be true leaders, but propelled them to go forth in the name of Jesus to proclaim His Word through their words, deeds and actions, which would in turn foster a renewal on a personal and family level, and eventually encourage the participants to be true instruments in the hands of our loving Father to help renew the Church.
The programme ended with a Thanksgiving activity by honouring the Bishop, Family Commission Priest in charge, Priests of the Divine Centre and the Team which comprised of members of CFCI from Chennai, Calcutta and Goa.