By Mila Barquin
The Couples for Christ (CFC), a Roman Catholic Church organization has programs for enrichment of the Christian life “from the womb to the tomb”.
The Couples for Christ Ministries are: Couples for Christ for married men and women; Singles for Christ for single young professionals; Youth for Christ, an organization for those who are 16–20 years old; Kids for Christ, a vibrant group of 7 to 15 years old; and the Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD), composed of mature women who are single, widows, separated, and wives of OFWs seeking the Lord in prayer and meaningful and productive service.
The CFC Handmaids of the Lord in Capiz started in 1990, a Christian Life Program intended for the women sector.
As stated in the Mission Statement of CFC Handmaids of the Lord: “The CFC Handmaid of the Lord is a creation of God distinctively called to the mission of personal transformation and evangelization to bring her family and others, especially women to a renewed life in the Lord and wholehearted service to bring glad tidings to the poor.”
The 230 members of the CFC Handmaids of the Lord prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic have been conducting household meetings, Christian Life Program, General Assemblies, Gift-Giving and other activities that enrich solidarity and love for God.
Eighty percent % of these women belong to the Senior Citizens group but the fire that they possess in serving God is manifested in the way they treat each other and those in the community.
When the pandemic hit Capiz in March, the Family Ministry, just like all the rest of the world, was taken aback with the changes.
For the most part, the members looked forward to the weekly gathering where they can come together to worship the Lord, nourished by the Teachings from God’s word and be a source of comfort, friendship and instrument of God’s Love.
As stated in the Guidelines on ECQ and MGCQ, Senior Citizens could not go out, which posed a challenge to the members, who are used to going out for the weekly gathering.
As an inspiration to the members, CFC Handmaids of the Lord provincial coordinator Rita Villareal initiated the Daily Online Devotional, making use of the Facebook’s Messenger app for group chat.
The members of the group shared their anxieties, their learnings, their love of God, the hope that everything will come to pass, for as it is written in Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The Regional CFC Handmaids of the Lord also provided nourishment via Zoom App on coping with stress during Pandemic and even Urban Gardening.
The CFC HOLD led in the giving of food packs to the members who were of financially challenged during ECQ. More rercently, they gave food packs to 40 families on lockdown in Barangay Cagay as a manifestation of God’s love and providence and to encourage the people that this pandemic will pass— just like any other trial. The members of the organization who are Senior Citizens desire to serve despite the fact that they had been prevented from going out of their houses. Not losing hope, they helped in pooling the resources to contribute to the project of giving food packs. As they say on the group chat, jokingly: “Pag nais, may paraan.”
Mrs. Rita Villareal said that she and the CFC Handmaids of the Lord are happy as they embrace the new normal. Most of the members are not good in using computers or social media applications but we try our best to learn. We continue to come together, not face-to-face as we used to—but as a family through virtual meetings.
We are embracing the changes. The pandemic even made us closer to each other and to God. This pandemic cannot stop God’s people from spreading the love.
Indeed, the members endeavor to fulfill the vision of CFC Handmaids of the Lord : “Women in the Holy Spirit, Joyfully proclaiming the greatness and glory of God as Mary did by living out her fiat: ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word,’ in selfless love and discipleship.”