BOUND IN HEAVEN
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- John 16:33
CFC-Youth leaders from all over Florida gathered on January 7-8, 2017 in Titusville for an empowerment weekend that embraced the message of growth in suffering, discovery, and friendship.
They kicked off the retreat with an inspiring worship led by Cris Buenvenida (Lakeland Household Head). Buenvenida reminded the youth of their true unity as brothers and sisters, a defining attribute of the ministry and ONEFLO.
Session 1: “Heavenbound” was given by former Chapter Head of CFC-Y Port Charlotte, Justin Mercado. He brought to light the importance of following Christ through the CFC-Youth identities and advocacies, and how these play a significant role in the journey to Heaven. The youth then were invited to renew their Covenant and commitment to living the life of a CFC-Youth. Afterwards, leaders broke out into brotherhood and sisterhood discussion groups where they discussed their roles and challenges.
The afternoon worship was led by Miami’s Chapter Head, Cocoy Marasigan, inviting the youth to become fully present with God.
The afternoon was filled with team building activities, such as Telephone Pictionary and Crazy ABC’s. These exercises challenged the youth to communicate despite crippling setbacks that were placed upon them. The youth built upon the values of communication and perseverance. After the activities, the youth enjoyed fellowship with one another.
Session 2: “Heaven on Earth” was given by Florida’s Full-time Pastoral Worker, Patrick Coronel. Coronel discussed the rewarding responsibilities that Catholics have in this world. He challenged the youth to continuously “chase God, and all else will follow.” The session was then followed by Mass at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church.
After mass, brothers and sisters were again split into separate sessions. Tampa’s former Chapter Head, Arlyn Barlaan, gave insight on what it means to be a woman of Christ and how to stay against the tide. An open forum invited sisters to write down questions that were from their hearts. They were then encouraged to answer each other’s questions through their experiences.
The brothers were led by various older brothers in the community and learned the importance of accountability and the significance of their identity as a brother in CFC-Youth. The brothers were encouraged to take a stand guarding the dignity of the sisters and families, persevering as one in the battle against sin, and pursuing personal holiness through the Sacraments and living a chaste life.
Once united as one group, everyone broke out into their respective areas. A reading of the Biblical story of Jesus washing the feet of His apostles invited each chapter head to wash the feet of their members. This act symbolically represented the humility of being a leader. Each chapter closed the night with a prayer for their areas and a new determination for stronger growth.
Sunday morning worship was led by Dexter Necio of Lakeland, who encouraged the leaders to keep building and growing despite mistakes and shortcomings.
After leaders went into common prayer time, Session 4: “In the World, Not of the World” was given by former chapter head of Lakeland, Lady Marie Bulilan. Bulilan reminded the leaders of the reality that Christians face in a culture that compels people to live for themselves and not for God. Bulilan inspired the youth to take heart and to be reassured that God is carrying them with an intense love. She exhorted the youth to choose between being a light and claiming God’s victory or to let the world consume them with sin.
Finally, ONEFLO’s closing praisefest was led by Patrick Coronel. His exhortation sparked a fire within the hearts of the leaders as they sung their praises together as one. Praisefest peaked with Bethel Music’s “Wonder.” The weekend concluded as Coronel invited the leaders into a powerful prayer of unity and for the Holy Spirit to come alive in their lives.
Lord God, we praise You for all that You have given to us.
We thank you for allowing us to stay accountable as brothers and in sisters in this community, and for giving us the ability to uncover more of the world’s realities.
We pray for the strength and bravery to constantly fight for Your plan
and seek Your truth.
We pray that we can be more of Your love to other people in this world
And united in prayer and action through our trials with one heart, one mind as ONEFLO.
January 7-8, 2017
CFC Youth ONEFLO Leaders' Empowerment