Re-posted from the website of “The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh” 08-08-2016

Couples for Christ, an international Catholic lay ecclesial organization, gathered in Raleigh for their annual conference on August 5-7, 2016.

Couples for Christ (CFC) recognized by the Vatican as an International Association of the Faithful of the Pontifical Right, through the Pontifical Council for the Laity, is present in over 100 countries Their goal is to renew and strengthen Christian family life.

The conference included talks from CFC members from around the world and workshops that allowed couples to understand and deepen God’s message for the community and to reflect  and implement the evangelization call for every Christian. This year the theme was Rejoice, Pray and Give Thanks from Philippians 4:4-7.

On Sunday, August 8, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Mass. Fr. Bruce Bavinger, S.J., Parochial Vicar of St Raphael, Raleigh, and Fr. John Forbes, Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, Raleigh, concelebrated.

Reflecting on the theme in his homily, Bishop Burbidge said, “If we are to be prepared to meet the Lord, then we must realize what truly matters here and now. It is not about keeping busy; it is about being. Yes, we have obligations and responsibilities to fulfill each day. But if in the process we become so busy we lose our focus, then our priorities will be misplaced; life will become chaotic, and we will travel the wrong path.” Bishop Burbidge continued, “The only remedy is by being with the Lord so to put into practice the theme of your gathering. In being with the Lord, we rejoice in knowing of his abiding presence in our lives; we pray for the grace and strength he so freely offers, and we give thanks for the abundant blessings that surround each day, which we can so easily miss if we are too busy doing. Rejoice, Pray and Give Thanks. In this way, at the end of time, we will not be strangers to the Lord, but known as His companions.”

Mike and Lulu Miranda joined Couples for Christ six months into their marriage and have been actively serving the ministry for the past 21 years. “In this faith community, we were able to grow spiritually, not as individuals but as a couple, and we have learned to put Christ at the center of our marriage,” said Mike Miranda. “Our daughter Liesl grew up in this family ministry, and I believe that the greatest legacy we can give her is not any riches but the gift of our faith, as she now actively serves in our youth ministry as well.”