The Catholic Chic is a personal and faith-based blog on the life of a Catholic woman in the modern world.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Repost: 3,000 singles "Choose Christ" in 1st Metro Manila Recon

By Ericson Paraguya

Close to 3,000 Singles for Christ members from the four corners of Metro Manila flocked to Antipolo City on July 18 to 20 for the first Metro Manila Regional Conference (Recon).
The theme “Choose Christ” is anchored on Philippians 1:21 “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain”. The conference urged single men and women to harken and strongly make a decision to know, imitate and live Christ daily.

“When St. Paul encountered Jesus,” explained SFC Metro Manila coordinator Bob Lasala, “everything else in his life became rubbish because Christ became his ultimate gain.” Thus we are called to emulate St Paul, Mother Mary and the disciples in choosing Christ.

The Official Recon t-shirt.

The 3-day Recon was packed with sessions, workshops, and sheer fellowship dedicated to the encounter of choosing Christ. Interactive booths showcasing the different SFC programs were also displayed.

The Workshop venues, activities, and the map.

Choose Christ in One’s Vocation and the Sacraments
The conference also aimed to aid the Singles to pursue Christ in their personal vocations. 
With most of the SFC’s in their productive ages of 20’s and 30’s, workshops held tackled the practical specifics of choosing Christ in the workplace whether in the corporate, business, health or other fields. Other workshops also encouraged singles to choose Christ while harnessing the power of social media.

Priests, nuns, brothers and sisters from various religious orders set up booths spreading cheerful information and invitation into the religious vocation. 

These cheerful brothers inviting the Singles to sign up for vocations discernment.

A brother signing up.

Religious items for sale.

Individual consultations with the religious were held which addressed the needs of the singles seeking vocation advice. Confession was also available where the participants patiently queued to receive the life-restoring Sacrament.  

Cue for the confession and individual consultations.

Confession and Individual consultations ongoing.
The Holy Mass was celebrated each day on top of the vibrant worship and plenary. “It is easier to live for Christ, when you know Christ”, said Most Rev. Francisco De Leon, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo in his homily. “There is a big difference between, ‘I know Christ’ and ‘I know about Christ’. To know him, we must encounter him”.

Fr. Francisco during his homily.
Faith stronger than generator power
Day one commenced amidst generator-powered staging, with SFC Fulltime Pastoral Worker Tox Remojo delivering Talk 1 – Christ is Alive. “Jesus comes to us in our deep sadness, paralyzing fears, doubts and guilt.” He further exhorted that with Christ, we are never the same again because we are changed by His living presence in us.
The night was capped by a ceremonial lighting of candles that bathed the stadium in a sea of warm light, showing that no power interruption in Antipolo can stop the light of Christ in the hearts of the SFCs. 
On day two, Ghie Guzman, SFC Fulltime Pastoral Worker, gave Talk 2- Hearts On Fire and urged everyone that “It is our faith in Christ that gives us joy and peace.” She went on to say that Mama Mary, the cause of our joy and queen of peace, should be our model to strengthen our faith. Together, the SFCs opened tiny neon paper envelopes that revealed Bible passages on faith. The talk ended with a Prayer of Surrender.  

Our personal messages contained in the tiny neon envelopes.

SFC Cluster Coordinator Nick Escalona delivered talk 3 entitled Hearts in Love. He reminded that God wants an inner union with us, which will only be possible by being like Jesus – in humility, in obedience and in service.
The Recon was also an apt opportunity to launch one of the newest SFC advocacies –Generation Christ. 
It is an advocacy calling singles to choose to “live simply, live freely, live fully” through a lifestyle hinged on modesty, purity and faith in Christ.
In the same vein, Day 2 closed with a Clubpraise, the SFC’s take on partying which is, as one of the night’s trending hashtag describes, #goodcleanfun.
This time the partying SFCs, clad in solid block colors, were encouraged to go around to meet both old friends and new acquaintances alike to take a selfie or a “we-fie”.  Pumping dance music and flashing strobe lights flood the plenary hall in the spirit of pure fun. 
Holy Spirit pour and flow
On Day 3, Bob Lasala capped the final Talk – Life is Christ, with the affirming words that “Even before you choose Christ, God chose you first,” since we are able to love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Thus we are called to live a full life that can only be done through a life for Christ and with Christ. The talk concluded with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to pour and flow unto the congregation. 
The SFC crowd were later rallied to the “Isang Sigaw” chant which is a unity battlecry for all Singles as one SFC Metro Manila community.

The music ministry.

A rousing praisefest ended the conference which further edified the conviction to choose Christ because there is “L-I-F-E in Christ”, that is, through Christ we are Loved, Inspired, Forgiven and Empowered. 

The Praisefest.
These are the truths that the singles were able to bring home to Manila with foremost a renewed vigor to “choose Christ”.


Text taken from page C3, Ugnayan section of the CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 15, July 21 - August 3, 2014. 

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