Survey Promo
RVA App Promo Image

Philippines: Couples for Christ marks 43rd anniversary, vows to be hope of the world

Clergy Lay Congress with participants

A Filipino bishop has called upon the lay Catholic organization Couples for Christ (CFC) to be the world's hope.

From June 19 to 22, 2024, Manila hosted four days of celebrations to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the founding of CFC, the largest Catholic renewal community in the country.

The theme for the anniversary was “Be a servant and a light to the nations” (Isaiah 49:6).

In one of the days of celebrations, Bishop Severo Cagátan Caérmare of Dipolog, Philippines, highlighted the importance of hope, especially now that present realities are filled with uncertainties and complexity that affect adversary families and societies.

"Hope is not based on human optimism, but rather on a gift bestowed upon us by God." It is the courage to continue loving and serving, knowing that love alone is eternal and so no single act of loving service is ever wasted or fruitless,” he said.

According to him, “May this empower us to fulfill our identity as missionaries of hope, spreading the goodness of His love in our everyday lives.”

“This is our hope for every member of CFC: that you will become apostles of hope, missionaries of hope to our families, strengthening them as they face the windstorms of life,” the prelate said.

In 1981, the charismatic Catholic group “Ligaya ng Panginoon” (Joy of the Lord, LNP) was founded; later, CFC was rechristened.

According to the group's page on the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas  (laity of the Filipinos) website, it started because the LNP "saw the need to bring the benefits of the renewal movement not only to the women but also to their spouses."

The organization has grown from 16 members to 500,000 members in 141 countries and territories, according to CFC data. It refers to itself as "the nation's largest Catholic renewal community" and is present in numerous parishes in the Philippines and overseas.

While CFC has served and illuminated the world for 43 years, Chairman Joe Yamamoto emphasized in his anniversary message that much work remains. This work entails going further and deeper into the mission that the Lord has entrusted to the CFC community.

He also reiterated CFC’s commitment to fulfil God’s call to be a source of hope for families,

"As a community of evangelizers, we will remain at the forefront." We are there at the front to preserve and defend God's plan for the family, including taking a stand on societal issues no matter how difficult or unpopular,” he added.

Some of the key highlights of the celebration were the Clergy-Lay Congress and the Work with the Poor Congress.

Wherever CFC exists, members collaborate closely with clergy in various pastoral and advocacy programs. One of the programs is to help with scholarships for students, build houses for the needy, and provide livelihoods for marginalized communities.

Chodie Cayanan, a CFC member from the USA, reminded everyone in one of the talks that being in the image and likeness of God comes with the call to be a light to the world.

He shared, “As we are illuminated by His love and mercy through CFC, we are also moved to shine His radiance so that others will also experience the fullness of life in Him.”

“We are God’s family, a family that will bring fulfillment to His mission. We are to share Christ's passion for renewing the face of the world. We are to be like Christ, the light that brings salvation to the world,” he said.

The Philippine divorce bill was one of the topics of discussion during the events.

The House of Representatives (lower house of the Parliament) passed the proposed legislation on divese in the middle of May, and the Senate (upper house) is yet to deliberate it.

In the backdrop of the proposed bill, Fr. Joel Jason, CFC spiritual adviser, said in a statement against the divorce bill, “Marriage is forever, and forever is not a ruling, but a longing of the human heart. The permanence of marriage is not a sentiment, but a commitment, and individuals cannot sustain this forever without an act of will. Finally, while the journey through, with, and in Him may make the forever marriage difficult, it is not impossible.

Meanwhile, Fr. Jerome Secillano, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) spokesperson, strongly expressed the Church's stand against divorce in his statement.

As the anniversary celebration came to an end, Tan Ecleo, a senior CFC member, urged everyone to continue being servants and lights to the world by evangelizing families as one community.

He also reminded them to fulfill their calling as God’s missionaries, saying, "We carry the light of Christ within us. May we never waver in sharing His light wherever we go, for we are not alone. Let His life-giving love and light inspire us to do more and go further in reaching more families in His name."

Marriage is not founded by the Church nor the state but by God. The State does not have the right to destroy it.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.