What is Couples for Christ?

Couples for Christ (CFC) is a movement intended for the renewal and strengthening of Christian family life. It is an association of Christian couples who have committed themselves to the Lord and to one another, so that they may grow into maturity as men and women of God and fulfill their primary vocation of raising up their families under the lordship of Jesus Christ and for the service of the Kingdom of God. Couples for Christ is a work of Christ which raises up Christian couples and establishes Christian families committed to the work of evangelization and winning the world for Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. It grows mainly through the establishment of localized units in different parishes.

Where and how did CFC begin?

CFC began in 1981 in Manila when a local Christian community tried out a new approach in evangelizing married couples. The method used consisted of bringing together a small group of prospective couples in a private home. There they were brought to a living relationship with Jesus Christ and to renewal of the power of the Holy Spirit through a series of weekly informal discussions of the gospel in a social setting.

Soon, CFC became a Christian family life renewal program made available to parishes and groups of married couples who wished to live out their Christian life in an active, supportive relationship with one another.

Through the years, CFC has blossomed into a worldwide ministry, becoming a major force for the renewal of Christian family life and also of the church.

Why is such a ministry necessary?

It is God’s plan that the family is the basic unit of society, such that the families determine the condition of society. However, there are many forces in the world today that would , wittingly or unwittingly, destroy the very foundations of the family. CFC wants to rise up in defense of the family which is God’s work. CFC wants to bring God’s strength and light to those who are struggling to be truly Christian families in the modern world.

How does Couples for Christ intend to work for Christian family renewal?

CFC intends to carry out its work by focusing on three specific objectives:

1. Individual renewal. Before one can even consider the whole family, the husband and wife first need to renew their commitment to God. CFC takes the basic message of Christianity and proclaims it anew so that those who hear it can make a renewed commitment to God in a way which will allow them to receive a fuller experience of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
2. Family renewal. As couples renew their commitment to God, they also renew their commitment to one another and to their Christian family life. Gradually, the new life that they find in the Lord filters down to all their family relationships.
3. Church renewal. As individual families are renewed, they form a network of equally committed Christian families which not only support one another but also strengthen the Church of which they are members.

Vision, Mission and Statement Philosophy of CFC

Statement Of Mission

We are living in a time of rapid change. Everything is changing–social values, relationships, economic systems, ideologies and many other things that affect life in general. Caught in this tide of change is the family. Some futurists predict that the time is coming when the family shall be totally irrelevant and unnecessary in a world that is dominated by technological change. In some parts of the world, the family no longer operates like it used to. We see this as a matter of serious importance.

In the modern world, man has learned to band together for mutual protection. There are certain artisan guilds, trade unions, various business associations, all organized to protect and uphold common interest. But the preservation and strengthening of the family does not seem to be a matter of priority to many people. The family is left exposed and unprotected against the forces that tend to destroy it.

Now a spiritual revival has touched the earth. Christian families are feeling the need to be truly Christian in a modern world. Families are reaching out, crying for help, but they have nowhere to go. The help they are seeking is not normally available in the average parish. Whatever traditional help is available in some parishes is usually inadequate. And in this time of growing darkness, many parents do not have a clear direction. They hear strange voices leading them into strange paths, all promising fulfillment yet all causing confusion.

We believe that God wants us to rise up in defense of His work. We believe that the family is a creation of God and no one else has any right to change it, its structure and its purpose. We believe that God’s plan for all creation continues to operate, “namely, to bring all things in the heavens and on earth into one under Christ’s headship” (Eph 1:10).

Couples for Christ is a creation of God distinctly called to bring families back to the plan of God. Couples for Christ is called to bring the Lord’s strength and light to those who are struggling to be truly Christian families in the modern world.

In submission to God’s will, Couples for Christ commits itself to this mission. Couples for Christ will serve wherever God brings it to serve, trusting only in His guidance and His power.

Statement Of Philosophy

The following embodies the beliefs and ideals of the Couples for Christ (CFC) as a movement, from which flow its Christian attitudes, values and behavior, as well as its programs, teachings and approaches to Christian renewal within the context of family relationships.

WE BELIEVE in marriage as an indissoluble institution as taught by our Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 19:6). That God created marriage primarily for love between man and woman, and for the procreation and proper rearing of children.

WE BELIEVE that God created man and wife with equal personal worth and dignity. That God ordained order in the family by giving the man the role as head of the family and the woman as helpmate and support, which best expresses their complementarity.

WE BELIEVE in the inalienable and irreplaceable right and responsibility of parents to educate their children. That children need to be educated in essential human and Christian values for them to become responsible and mature members of society.

WE BELIEVE that the family in practicing the gospel message shares in the life and mission of the Church — through prayers, evangelization and service to men. We uphold and defend the rights of the family as proclaimed in the chapter on family rights (Familiaris Consortio).

WE BELIEVE that Christian family renewal can best be achieved by inviting Jesus to be the Lord of our homes and by allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to lead our family lives and through the full use of all charismatic gifts at our disposal.

Who can become members of Couples for Christ?

Any validly married Christian couple can become members of CFC. CFC draws its membership from all sectors of society, young and old, rich and poor, etc. CFC transcends all cultural, economic, educational, social and other distinctions.

How does a couple become members of Couples for Christ?

Those who want to join CFC go through a seminar which is called a Christian Life Program (CLP). The CLP starts with an orientation session, then goes through 12 weekly meetings, thus involving a total time period of 3 months. The weekly meetings are usually held in the evenings and last about 2.5 hours per session.

What is the nature of the Christian Life Program?

The Christian Life Program (CLP) is an integrated course leading into a renewed understanding of God’s call to us as Christian couples. It is divided into 3 modules of 4 session each. Each session consists of a talk, group discussion, and some time for fellowship.

The different topics of the talks are as follows :
1. God’s Love
2. Who is Jesus Christ?
3. What it means to be a Christian
4. Repentance and Faith
5. The Christian Ideal : Loving God
6. Loving your Neighbour
7. The Christian Family
8. Life in the Holy Spirit
9. Receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit
10. Growing in the Spirit
11. The Life and Mission of the Couples for Christ
12. Transformation in Christ (and Dedication)

The first module (first 4 talks) presents the absolute basics of Christian life, with emphasis on our hearing it with an adult perspective. The second module (next 4 talks) presents the kind of life that God calls us to: it spells out the personal response involved in receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour and helps couples to make a reorientation of their lives around Jesus. The third module (last 4 talks) helps the couples to commit their lives in a serious way to Jesus. It helps them appropriate for their lives the power of the Holy Spirit. It provides the basics for continuing spiritual growth.

Is there any cost involved?

There are no fees or any monetary expenses required of participants. The only investment required is their time and their openness.

What happens after the Christian Life Program?

After the CLP, those who finish are invited to join CFC. When they do and after making their commitment, they are made part of a small cell group called a Household. The Household is composed of 5 to 7 couples who meet weekly for mutual support and encouragement in the Christian life, under the direction of a Household Leader.

What is the nature of this household?

The purpose of the Household group is to build an environment for the support of the Christian life of couples, and to provide a means for encouraging and hastening spiritual growth. It provides friendship and brotherhood. It helps people overcome obstacles to growth in the Christian life.

The Household meeting is held in the homes of the group members, on rotation basis. A typical meeting would involve some time for prayers, a time for sharing or discussion, and finally some time for fellowship. It would normally last for about 2.5 hours.

How about Christian formation?

Finishing the CLP is just the beginning of a long process of growth and transformation in Christ. As such, CFC provides a continuing program of formation, which includes teachings, recollections, retreats, etc.

How is Couples for Christ different from other movements or organization?

CFC differs in a number of ways but the most significant are the following:
1. It fosters deep spiritual renewal which involves personal conversion, developing a personal relationship with Jesus, and living in the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. It focuses on the couple, with emphasis on husband and wife growing together in their Christian lives.
3. It provides continuing support and formation, recognizing that programs can only plant a seed, but that growth is a long and difficult process.
4. It concentrates on evangelization, reaching out to more and more couples, in line with the Church’s call for lay people to participate actively in the building of God’s kingdom on earth.

Is Couples for Christ recognized by the Catholic Church?

Yes, CFC is a servant and lay arm of the Roman Catholic Church in the work of family renewal and evangelization, and has a number of bishops as its Spiritual Directors. The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has granted Couples for Christ recognition as a PRIVATE ASSOCIATION OF THE LAY FAITHFUL in accordance to Canons 321-329 of the Code of Canon Law. Furthermore, CFC operates under the auspices of the Family Life and/or Evangelization Offices of parishes and dioceses throughout the world.

What benefits can a parish derive in having Couples for Christ?

There are a number of benefits :
1. Couples are renewed and strengthened in their Christian lives. Strong couples make strong families, which make strong parish.
2. A basic CFC objective is to be relevant to the life of the Church, specifically in the parish, CFC members are expected to support their parish priest and be available for parish services.
3. CFC can be effectively used in the strategic evangelization of parishioners who are potentially strong servants and workers for the parish.
4. CFC has proven to be an effective tool for fostering unity among mandated organizations and other parish groups, by redirecting leaders to focus on the Lord rather than on their service.
5. CFC can be a conduit for social action in the parish, one of our objectives being the economic and spiritual upliftment of our less fortunate brethren.
6. CFC can hasten the formation of a strong, vibrant Christian community.