Romans 10:14-15 has always been among of my scriptural inspirations, “How can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?” It is Edna’s as well.
In our 27 years in CFC, Edna has been my service partner and support. Our first seven years in CFC were in Marikina, Philippines, where we were Unit Leaders by the time we moved to the US. The next 20 CFC years were in Maryland, USA, where we started all over again – from members to household leaders and then to various levels of pastoral service including ANCOP.
Edna and I made our life-long commitment to each other on Valentine’s Day 1976 and since then, we have been celebrating the 14th of each month in our own little loving ways- for almost 45 joyful years now.
Despite her dual degree in Pharmacy and Medical Technology, Edna opted to be full-time mother during the formation years of our children. Edna’s love for cooking, baking, managing the home, and raising our children made her truly the “light of the home”. We endeavored to raise our children in the love of God and pursuit of good character and education.
We are blest with three children, three wonderful in-laws, and with two grandsons. Catherine, our eldest, works as Family Counselor, and has a master’s degree in psychology. Michael Rommel, has a master’s degree in Information Systems and is raising a family of two boys, 11 and 9. Bernadette is our CFC Family Ministry child who transitioned from KFC to YFC to SFC. She is teaching at a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Washington.
For the last seven years of my service (as Regional Head for 4 years and member of the National Council for 3 years), my vision for CFC-USA was that of a community of Missionary Disciples who are willing and eager to go out of their comfort zones to proclaim the Gospel joyfully – inspired by Pope Francis’ “Evangelii Gaudium” (Joy of the Gospel), During my pastoral visit all those seven years, Edna was with me, most of the time, and would gladly join me in giving talks and teachings, give sharings, or even just getting to know the members in the areas were visiting.
In July, 2018, Bro Shok Arriola, then CFC president, recommended the creation of a Home Office for CFC-USA to be served by a full time general manager or executive director, who will manage the day-to-day operations. Bro Shok observed that all NC members had full time jobs and needed assistance. Thus was born the Home Office with a Servant National and an Administrative Support and mandated to “Expedite effectively and efficiently”
Inspired by St Barnabas, who I consider is my patron saint, I found myself preferring to take the back seat and being just in a support role. Thus I opted to skip my 4th year in the National Council and volunteered to lay down the foundation of a Home Office as its first Servant National, my preferred service title instead of General Manager or Executive Director.
Edna and I retired from our secular jobs last year and are now empty-nesters. Our lives revolve around my service as Servant National, daily Masses and prayers, outdoor walk to reach our respective target steps per day, calls to our children and grandsons, household meetings, and many conference calls.
Inspiration? I have lots of them – Our Lord Jesus, Mama Mary, St Barnabas, St Norbert, and my partner-in-life and forever sweetheart, Edna. I give them all credit for where I am now. There is a saying that “Marriage is bringing each other to heaven”. Edna, in her prayerful and saintly ways is doing just that. I hope she is successful.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with everyone and may Mama Mary always intercede for CFC-USA.