Gawad Kalinga - Giving Care
Representatives of "Couples for Christ" in Germany visiting Schoenstatt to present their community and offer partnership - Launch of ANCOP Germany on April 26, 2003
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. Families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth - according to this motto, "Couples for Christ" on April 26 will launch ANCOP Germany e.V., a partner of ANCOP Foundation International - A Network of Communities of the Poor -, the communities social ministry for the poorest of the poor. ANCOP’s mission is the upliftment and renewal of the poorest of the poor communities in the Philippines and other developing countries. On March 28, four representatives of the community, founded 1981 in Manila, Philippines, visited Schoenstattt to present their community and offer partnership in the spirit of Pentecost 1998. Sulpicio M. Confiado, 2nd Secretary and Consul in the Embassy of the Philippines in Berlin, with his wife Priscilla representing the community in Germany, invited Schoenstatt to join forces in Gawad Kalinga - giving care.
It is always the same sensation when members of the Ecclesial Movements and New Communities meet - a spirit of mutual understanding, shared ideas and ideals, and almost immediately a familiarity that crosses language and mentality barriers. Freddie and Mila Dayo, from Offenbach, Couples for Christ Unit Head of the Frankfurt Area, who arrived some time earlier to Schoenstatt than Sulpicio and Priscilla Confiado who came from Berlin and were stuck in a huge traffic jam, presented the history, mission and vision of "Couples for Christ".
Present in 107 countries of the world
"Couples for Christ" was founded in 1981 in Manila, Freddie Dayo, said - not prepared to do the presentation, he and Mila shared from their heart, giving a testimony of the mission and vision and the evangelizational power of their community not only through their words, but through the sincere enthusiasm they spread. Approximately 1.4 millions of members belong the the community; in Germany, they started in 1996, and are now present in Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Mainz, Bonn, Bremen, Lübeck, Siegen, and Essen - "more or less all big cities," remarked their Schoenstatt interviewer. Indeed, they see a special challenge in working with the people in the big cities, mainly Filipino families working in other countries.
Four to seven couples form a so-called prayer group, and unite once a week, following a well-defined structure: prayer, discussion on significant topics, and "fellowship", that means socializing with sharing food and experiences. Next to the family ministry, the central focus of Couples for Christ, there are the ministries for children (Kids for Christ, 6 - 12 years), youth (Youth for Christ, 12 - 21), Singles (Singles for Christ, 22 - 40), widows or older single women (Handmaids of the Lord), and widowers (Servants of the Lord). "We found it to be better to work in these groups, as each way of life and situation of life creates different wishes, needs, and possibilities to evangelize," Mila Dawe explains. How similar to the concept of Father Kentenich with his Schoenstatt family, divided into branches for youth, couples, married women, unmarried women, men, priests.
"And of course we have also profession-related ministries," Freddie Dayo added, "for example for Government officials, policemen, army members, lawyers."
Mission and vision of "Couples for Christ"
"As Christian families we are called to grow in holiness and discipleship, so that God can use us as evangelizers and missionaries in order that He might renew the world.
In this task, we are called to take up the very mission of Jesus in bringing glad tidings to the poor. We rise up in defense of the poor and the oppressed. We struggle for peace, justice and the integrity of creation. We work for total human liberation in order to establish the kingdom of God here on earth," reads the mission statement of "Couples for Christ". "Families in the Holy Spirit renew the face of the earth." Evangelization is the focal point of their activities, and they aim to be present in 150 countries by 2006. "A high goal," Mila admits, "because now there are hardly other but Islamic and Communist countries left…". Evangelization is a source of joy, they say - and it is convincing. "What better can we do than bring the Good News, and Jesus himself, to others?"
Help the poor to dignify themselves
The Dayo's, as well as the Confiado's joy and pride however is ANCOP Germany, to be officially launched on April 26, 2003, with a ceremony and benefit concert in the Bad Homburg spa theater; ANCOP Germany is a partner to ANCOP Foundation International, the movements special charity for the poorest of the poor. "Gawad Kalinga", giving care, is the aim of this foundation that helps with housing projects in the Philippines, Eastern Timor, India, Indonesia, and South Africa. The "Shelter Program", Priscilla Confiado explained after supper in House Sonnenau, is a response to the experience that educational projects for youth and children are doomed to fail when the child has to live in ramshackle, dirty, poor huts, with all of the personas living in one room. "We insist on a separate room for the girls," Priscilla Confiada adds with a sad smile, "you know, there is such a high rate of abuse of girls in these sad conditions, and you have to save them from this fate before teaching them about health care or religion.." - "We want to give all of the family members a decent place," the Dayo said, "Once they live in a decent place, they can dignify themselves, they find a new self esteem." It is the grace of having a home, Schoenstatt listeners spontaneously think; in the natural and then in the supernatural. Before going to supper with the Confiado who only arrived after 6:00PM, the Dayo had gladly accepted the offer to visit the Original Shrine and pray there for a while - the place where Schoenstatt offered Mary, and thousands of persons a "decent place". Both know the MTA picture - the Pilgrim Mother is visiting with several of the families of "Couples for Christ" in the Frankfurt area.
The "House for Children" project, the Day Care Centers for children from poorest conditions, a project that grew in the Schoenstatt Movement of Argentina is mentioned, the youth and family missions, the social commitment of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign.
Sulpicio Confiado stressed that the Shelter Program, as the other social ministries joined to it, are not just about a charity. In the Shelter Program, the families from poor slum quarters are encouraged to help with the building of the house, to work with their own hands for their better future. "We start to rebuild their homes, and thus rebuild the communities."
"Maybe the poor are there because the Lord wants to teach us to be generous, to share... to love"
"A time to build" is the title of deep-blue brochures about the benefit concert on come April 26, 2003, in Bad Homburg. Well-known Filipino, Corean, and German artists will perform classical pieces of music from German and Filipino masters. The evening is opened with a display of photos and paintings about the work of ANCOP, the pictures being part of a special collection of Filipino artist Pierre Patricio. With the proceeds of the ticket sale (25.00 €), and with further donations, ANCOP Germany hopes to be able to build "German Village" , a complex of houses in one of the biggest slum quarters of the Philippines. One house is built for 750.00 €… Other fundraising activities are bazaars, caroling… Creative love! The president of ANCOP International will come from Manila to give a ten minute presentation of the Foundation.
Entering more deeply in the field of social commitment, the participants of the encounter, the representatives of "Couples for Christ" like Schoenstatt, got more excited. It is at the heart of the each of the two movements: Evangelization, being missionary, being apostolic, and this especially by concretely going the extra mile to help the physically and spiritually poor. "Before working for ANCOP, we never had enough time for all the many things we thought we wanted to do," Mila Dayo said. "Now we are working all time for fundraising and in concrete ministries, and we feel we still have time left to do more!" It is the experience in Schoenstatt, too. Those who have the heart of an apostle excel once they have apostolic tasks.
The "Couples for Christ" came to offer and look for partners for the evangelization of the modern world, and the work for the poor. Sr. Miriam Lopez, English Office, and the Dayo discussed possibilities of Seminars and Congresses of the Community to take place in Schoenstatt, and about mutually presenting the charities,
"It was really so nice meeting you with all the interesting topics we had discussed," Freddie Dayo worte on April 3, 2003. " Again, thank you for your hospitality and I hope to see you again in the near future."
The Benefit Congress will be on April 26, 2003, in Bad Homburg, beginning at 8:00 PM; presentation at 7:00 PM. Tickets: 25.00 € each. Ticket sale: Tourist Information & Service, Kurhaus, Louisenstraße 58, 61348 Bad Homburg. Or contact: email@example.com
More about "Couples for Christ" in Germany, including the Concert: http://www.cfcfrankfurt.org
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