Archbishop John Wong celebrates 17th Anniversary of CFC in Sabah with its members Jan 7 in Madsiang Catholic Church

Photos and Article by JJ / Soccom Penampang

Feb 4 2023

MADSIANG, Penampang – Lay movement community Couples for Christ (CFC) celebrated its 17th anniversary in Sabah with thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration presided by Most Reverend John Wong.

More than 300 members comprised couples and their family members attended the auspicious event, together with Parish Priest Fr Sunny Chung, Spiritual Advisor of CFC, who concelebrated the Mass Jan 7 at Madsiang Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity Parish Inobong.

Archbishop Wong greeted the CFC congregation in his homily, “Welcome and happy celebrating 17th years of CFC here in Sabah.”

The archbishop congratulated the CFC members of their journey so far, praying and thanking them for their perseverance in faith while urging the community not only to celebrate but to be witnesses of their faith to others.

“I pray and hope that one day you matured enough and pass on the faith that you have received to one another. Congratulations, your perseverance, influence and your faith have helped you to grow in this journey as (part of the) diocese. May God bless you as you celebrate your 17th anniversary. Celebrate and be witnesses of the faith you are holding among your community and to others,” said the prelate.

As advisor to the community, Fr Sunny Chung urged them to always be equipped and guided by the word of God through ‘listening’ and ‘following’ the command of the Lord Jesus.

Quoting the Gospel reading of that day where Mother Mary asked the disciples to listen and follow the commands of her Son Jesus Christ in The Wedding at Cana, Fr Chung encouraged them, ‘So, if we listen and do what Mother Mary said, it is therefore the source of our strength, which gives us the spirit to continue our journey despite the challenges we are facing.’

Meanwhile Sabah CFC Country Head, Dr Jiloris Dony, praised God and thanked all members who have worked hard to make the historical event possible and memorable.

Dr Jiloris enthusiastically recounted the milestones for CFC Sabah in the past 17 years where it started in the Sacred Heart Cathedral. The movement now has two chapters; one in the west coast and another in the interior areas of Sabah.

He said the West Coast Central includes couples and family members in Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Inanam and Manggatal meanwhile the West Coast North includes those from Tuaran up to Kota Belud and Kota Marudu.

Dr Jiloris also mentioned that they had recently expanded their ministry in the interior district of Keningau, launched in 22 Sep 2022 in St Francis Xavier Cathedral.

The prelate is cutting the ribbon to officiate the 17th Anniversary of CFC Sabah, and opening of CFC exhibition booths at Madsiang Catholic Church, Jan 7. Parish Priest Fr Sunny Chung, also CFC Spiritual Adviser and CFC Sabah Country Head Dr Jiloris Dony look on.

“Brothers and sisters in Christ, Couples for Christ Sabah is a Catholic public community (who are) moving together, centred and focused on the Christian family values. We have now 128 couples in the community together with their family members,’ highlighted Dr Jiloris.

The leader said CFC is also giving value-added opportunities to their members on self-development, knowledge and confidence in implementing pastoral programs. This has helped them in recruiting leaders, advancing skills in evangelization to individual members and in the family, and contributing towards their respective parish pastoral duties.

Dr Jiloris said serving the Church as a community is however not an easy task in the fast-moving digital environment which is hugely affecting human lives transformation. The global phenomenon is creating conditions of materialism, relativism and secularism, with Covid-19 pandemic added to the list, which are among major challenges faced by the lay movement.

Praising the Lord, Dr Jiloris said the power of the Holy Spirit has been the driving force enabling the Christian family movement to remain focused in their mission. Their faithful members have also made it possible to stay united through every challenging pathways until today.

“The power of the Holy Spirit is certainly true, is always with us, who believe and have faith,” expressed Dr Jiloris. He also mentioned that the theme adopted by them in 2022 was 2 Chronicle 7:14; ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’.

He added that this year’s CFC spiritual healing program entitled ‘Christ Heals’ will take inspiration and nourishment from the verses in Mark 2: 10-11 ‘Rise, pick up your mat and go’.

Couples for Christ, is an international Catholic lay ecclesial movement linked to the Vatican through the Pontifical Council for the Laity based in Quezon City, Philippines. Country Coordinators for CFC Sabah, Boni and Jean Licayan, as well as Sr Suzan Guntabid, Family Life Commission Chairperson in the archdiocese, were present on this auspicious occasion.

After the thanksgiving Mass, the congregation gathered at the Church lobby where exhibition booths showcasing CFC activities were set up, and followed by fellowship in the open hall.

Among the highlights in the afternoon were the launching of CFC website by Archbishop Wong and presentation of CFC kits. The celebration was filled with songs and dance presentations from various groups representing each chapter. It ended with a Praise and Worship session.