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.
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.
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.
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.