By anthony Arinaitwe & Jane Frances Akiteng Arinaitwe
Founded in 1981 in Phillipines, Couples for Christ (CFC) is a united global community of family evangelisers that sets the world on fire with the fullness of God’s transforming love. The group is committed to renewal of families and total Christian liberation through social justice, respect for life, and work with the poor.
Moved by the Holy Spirit and one with the Catholic Church, Couples for Christ (CFC) is committed to live in God’s righteousness and holiness, evangelizing people through a life of love and service. The group is a united global community of family evangelisers building the Church of the Home and building the Church of the Poor; Families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth. Couples for Christ is a Christian community for the renewal and strengthening of family life and making the love of God felt among the poor; not only poor in worldly treasures, but also spiritual nourishment. CFC was founded in 1981 in Phillipines and is now a private international association of the laity with the pontifical right granted in the year 2000 by the Pontifical Council of the Laity.
It is run on statutes approved by the Vatican and is one of the associations and movements of the laity with an office in the Vatican. As such, CFC is one with the Catholic Church. Couples for Christ is a family where God’s amazing love and experiences are shared daily. As the name suggests, the movement of CFC was founded by couples for couples seeking to receive renewal and evangelise. They soon received the revelation that renewal anchored on Christ required a reach to everyone in the home. CFC now has FAMILY MINISTRIES – six different ministries covering every age group in the family, thus; Kids for Christ (KFC) for children below twelve years, Youth for Christ (YFC) evangelising the youth aged thirteen to twenty one years, Singles for Christ (SFC) taking care of young professionals and job seeking individuals aged twenty two and thirty nine who are unmarried.
Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) is the ministry for women, regardless of age who are widows, unmarried single mothers, separated or divorced, or whose husbands are unable or unwilling to join as couples. Servants of the Lord (SOLD) is to the men as HOLD is to women. By reason that Couples for Christ has membership for all age groups, we say it is from womb to tomb journeying with one from birth to death.
It is universally agreed that a family is the basic unit of society. Through the family, we learn to receive love and also learn to give it through the relationship we have with our parents, children and people around us in our communities. This love is similar to that of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
Couples for Christ through the said ministries, teachings, retreats, and regular activities gives the members the means, lessons and experiences to receive and grow love of God and neighbor in our families/communities. We know that the individual’s main source of love is the family but for many, the evil one destroys this source by diverting us to seek love from other sources outside the home.
Our marriages and families are under challenges and incessant attacks. The society is awash with news of child neglect, wife maintenance demands, adultery, fornication, witchcraft, clamorous gay rights, intended childless marriages, terrorism, murder and other heinous crimes. The perpetrators are from families in our society. With the family broken, the source of love is destroyed. These and others perpetuated by technology and global influence have not spared the children. As CFC, we have a vision to defend families from the attacks of the evil one. God has called the CFC to fulfill the vision of families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth.
Couples for Christ is a free entry community that sets every member on a journey to encounter experiences and teachings that give personal renewal through formation programs aimed at each person growing in love and holiness. The main focus is love of God and love of neighbor.The entry teaching is the Christian Life Program comprising of twelve talks in three modules: the basic truths about Christianity, the authentic Christian life, and living a Holy Spirit filled Christian Life. The emphasis is to know God’s love and what it means to be a Christian; building up a strong Christian family, receiving the power of the Holy Spirit and growing in the Spirit. The one who completes the Christian Life Program and chooses to become a member of CFC signs a five – point covenant which helps us to maintain our commitment. Members are grouped in households that hold weekly meetings; and several households coming together once a month hold an assembly of members. Other gatherings are organized for the ongoing formation of CFC members as they grow in faith and discipleship.
The CFC family has a four year formation track and as such, there are numerous teachings that strengthen members’ renewal individually, as a couple, or as a group: Marriage / Family / Handmaids Enrichment Retreat, Singles Crossroads Weekend Retreat as well as Kids and Youths camps; Financial Stewardship; Foundations for Christian Living; Training on Spiritual Gifts. The programs are moderated by CFC members, some by the priests, especially for healing and forgiveness. The fact that the Catholic Church is under attack from numerous denominations; new and old who target the Christians for recruitment, CFC through the teachings supplements the work of the clergy to make the members understand the mother church teachings and doctrines.
There is a periodically organized international Lay – Clergy conference where the clergy and CFC share on the vision and mission of evangelization to the family. In every diocese / parish, CFC operates under the prior permission of the area bishop / parish. In Uganda, this has been possible through the Archbishop / Bishops of Kampala, Gulu, Luwero, Lugazi where CFC has membership. Also, CFC activities are yet to start in Masaka and Kabale. Through her mission to build the Church of the poor, CFC lives out the social teachings of the Church. The ministry of ANCOP – Answering the Cry of the Poor, runs CFC social development programs; health and education. In Uganda, there is implementation of school fees / child sponsorship program in partnership with Our Lady of Africa Mbuya Parish and St. Pius X Masajja Parish.
Through the beneficiaries, CFC community follows the Lord’s command for the love of neighbor.The Lord calls us to go and preach the Good News to the ends of the world. As members of the united global mission of family evangelisers, we are all called to go out and evangelise. The Couples for Christ is a place for all to evangelise to millions worldwide. Nothing (not even death) can ever separate us from God. Halleluja!
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