Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Family and Life Ministry Articles

(draft articles for Q4 2011 Family and Life Ministry Newsletter)


Renato Manzano (brother Along to his many friends), once gave an NFP seminar on the Standard Days Method (SDM) to Family and Life Ministry coordinators at the Cubao Diocese formation center. Brother Along spiced his NFP lecture with many interesting and humorous anecdotes that made the short seminar entertaining as well as very educational. He emphasizes that husbands should not move the beads two or three at a time beyond the wife’s knowledge - an amusing reference to the counting of beads that is a simple method in the SDM to keep track of fertility cycles.

Brother Along is one of the many Family and Life coordinators and NFP volunteer resource persons who have been trained under the auspices of the Cubao Diocese and its various parishes. In the Christ the King Parish of the Sta Rita Vicariate where brother Along is the Family and Life coordinator, he joins hands with 5 other NFP volunteer consultants to provide NFP consultancy to its parishioners. They have been trained in all modern NFP methods such as the Billings Ovulation Method, Standard Days Method, Two-Days Method, Thermal, and Sympto-Thermal NFP methods. Under the pastoral stewardship of Fr. Henry, these NFP volunteers are available on-call, anytime to render able assistance to those who seek NFP consulting services. This initiative is replicated in at least three other parishes of the Sta Rita Vicariate, where 11 others Parish NFP “consultants” likewise selflessly devote their time and effort towards reinforcing the promotion of NFP which is a major Diocese-wide thrust of the Family and Life Ministry. Brother Along’s group is set to stage an NFP seminar in their vicariate this coming October to beef up their resources, a strategy that is similarly meant to be sustained Diocese-wide.

This NFP program has been envisioned by the Diocesan Family and Life Ministry as a practical effort to counter anti-life forces in the country, a step beyond the usual campaigns of conducting pro-life forums which the Diocese has already undertaken many times in the past. So anytime any parishioner feels the need to get informed about NFP towards its practical use, they can always seek the services of Family and Life workers like brother Along and many others in the Diocesean NFP program who are ever willing to instruct, evangelize, and at the same time – entertain.


The Christ The King Parish in Green Meadows is one of the busiest parishes in the diocese in terms of number of marriages solemnized. According to CK FLM coordinator brother (Doctor) Doy Lopez, they can average over 20 marriages in a month! It is therefore fitting that we chose them to share their experiences in conducting precana seminars.

CK’s precana team is composed of 12 couples who alternate in delivering 7 precana topics over a successive two-day, 8am to 5pm weekend schedule two months before the actual wedding. Each session numbers around 24 to 30 couple participants. NFP is delivered as the concluding topic to wrap up the seminar.

The husband and wife team of Dr Doy and Estrelle Lopez has been fully dedicated in coordinating the precana seminars, which is scheduled bi-monthly. They have been very active as coordinators of the Family and Life Ministry since 1996. With parish workers such as the Lopez couple and their precana team, those who tie the knot are assured of starting married bliss on the right path – with boundless blessings for a happy family devoted to God.


Lina Espina goes to Mass every Sunday at 7:15am. She actually arrives 15 minutes before the Mass to ensure the families that assigned to lead the Prayers of the Faithful as well as the Family offerors are all set and ready. When a volunteer family fails to show up for some unexpected reason, she approaches another family right there in the church to ensure that the Prayers for the Faithful and the Mass offering is covered. She not only does this for the 7:15am mass but for the rest of the seven Sunday masses as well.

Sister Lina, as parishioners fondly call her, has been at the service of the Family and Life Ministry at the Holy Family Parish Kamias, St Joseph Vicariate for over 20 years. For the past 5 years, she has untiringly focused her service to the “Simbang Pamilya” program of the Family and Life Ministry. She has well over 50 families in her “database” of volunteer families who serve either as Prayers for the Faithful leaders or Mass offerors.

Ever since 5 years ago when Bishop Ongtioco pioneered the “Simbang Pamilya” program for the Cubao Diocese, the Family and Life Ministry of the Holy Family Parish in Kamias has implemented it on all Sunday Masses (except the 6AM Mass). It has helped that 18 parish organizations have been tapped to invite families for the Simbang Pamilya either as readers or offerors. Each organization is assigned a mass slot every Sunday, with the encouragement of the Parish Priest Fr Ben ArceƱo. A similar approach is being practised Diocese-wide.

Sister Lina has many stories to tell in her service in the Family and Life Ministry. Once, she happened to invite a family where the father is not on speaking terms with the eldest son due to a long-standing argument. The family hesitantly obliged and went on to lead the Prayers for the faithful on one Sunday Mass. The reconciliation between the father and the son was sparked by that prayerful event and since then, they have patched up their differences and the entire family now goes to mass together consistently. Simbang Pamilya is truly a blessing to the Church, and parish workers all over the diocese like Sister Lina serve as powerful instruments of God to keep the family together.

1 comment:

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