Humility and Obedience in Jesus Christ

“Be a Servant and Light to the Nations” was the battle cry when South Island members of Couples for Christ (CFC) New Zealand, flocked to Rolleston Community Centre in April, for its annual Theme Weekend Retreat. The theme of this retreat was based on the anchor verse for the year, taken from Isaiah 49:6 “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

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400 faithful gathered at the venue for the community’s three day gathering of solemn prayer, encouraging teachings, powerful worship, deep reflection and fun-filled fellowship. The aim of the retreat entitled “Humility and Obedience in Christ” was to provide a collective road map on how CFC members can fulfil this year’s objective.

The retreat began on Friday with a World Mission Rosary, emphasising the CFC vision and mission of being families in the Holy Spirit, renewing the face of the earth. A holy Mass was offered by Fr Rex Ramos, the new Filipino Parish Priest of Hurunui and chaplain to the Christchurch Philippine Chaplaincy. The first session was a prologue to the next few days, rekindling the embers of service planted in every attendee from the moment they became CFC members.

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Saturday began early with a rosary and Mass, presided over by Bishop Michael Dooley of the Diocese of Dunedin. He concelebrated with Fr Michael-Therese, parish priest of Holy Family Parish, Christchurch West. Attendees then spent time in Eucharistic adoration. The first session for the day entitled “The Slave God”, taught members that Jesus, despite His divine nature, chose to leave the majesty of heaven to dwell among us. He humbled Himself, in order to dedicate His life to serving God the Father and His people, all for love’s sake.

The second session spoke of Jesus as “The Obedient King”, obeying God even during His most sorrowful and desolate moment, in His agony in the garden of Gethsemane. The third session was a “Call to Servanthood” to those in attendance, a reminder to every member that CFC is a community of servants, following Jesus’ example. Every leader present, then washed the feet of their respective members. The full day ended with a fellowship among the attendees just having fun, playing group games, dancing and mingling.

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Sunday’s event was opened by another rosary and a Mass, celebrated by Bishop Michael Gielen and concelebrated by Fr Michael Hishon of Dunedin. A wonderful homily was given by the bishop, emphasising that as immigrants, the faith should not end with the attendees, but rather be passed on to the next generation, through family prayers. What a perfect introduction to the last session, called “As For Me and My Household, We Will Serve the Lord.” Service is not just for an individual, but rather is designed for the whole family. The family is the hope and the solution for a world in which there is division. It is through the family that we can all fulfil our purpose and destiny.

The retreat ended with each member carrying a torch of hope and faith in their hearts, encouraged to live out the call “In everything, love and serve the Lord.”

by Don Gracia, Couples for Christ

Published in Inform Issue 141 - Winter 2024