Are you one who is still reeling from the joy experienced from the recent conference, or one who unfortunately missed the event, or perhaps someone who’s not been but would love to attend one day? Whichever category you fall in, this article is for you.
It would be great to write here every single wonderful thing that happened during the conference (as there were so many) but that would be tad lengthy, so let us break it down into four elements and just look at the highlights shall we?
Reason for the Journey
Every journey takes us somewhere exciting, but they all start in the same place: our hearts!Follow your heart, as the saying goes.
This year’s conference, God called us using the slogan, “Come! Walk together with Me.” He knows that today, time is becoming more and more unfavourable for most of us. We struggle, we suffer, we are discouraged, tired and overwhelmed. Yet when He chose us, we responded with a resounding yes and persevered in carrying out our ministry. The conference was meant to help us reflect on our covenant, culture and charism in CFCA. And it did just that – it allowed us to walk in harmony with our brothers and sisters as one body of Christ.
Planning for the Journey
Back in Adelaide after 6 years, the CFCA National conference was held from 21 to 23 April 2023 in St Michael’s College, Henley Beach SA. It drew 300 delegates from across the nation – New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and of course host state South Australia.
South Australia was teemed with preparations leading up to the event, with conference reminders and promotional vlogs.
Online registration and payments were rolled out successfully with members embracing this new method fully. Accommodation and transport proved to be challenging due to the size of the community in SA, plus various sporting and school holiday events that also fell on the same weekend. However, the Lord was faithful and took all of these roadblocks away.
Experiencing the Journey
The conference kicked off on Friday with an evening mass officiated by Fr Shibu Jacob. This was followed by a meet and greet in the form of a snake dance which got everyone standing and dancing to the tune of “Walking on Sunshine” sung by the lively CFCA band.
Saturday started with the much-awaited Praise Parade. There was no better way to jumpstart the day than by watching each state interpret the song, “We are Marching (Siyahamba)” while proudly displaying their banner. It was an amazing display of colours – blue, white, green, maroon, red. VIC was the overall winner for the Praise Parade, and NSW for the banner. However, everyone went home feeling like a champ. The applause and accolades were a clear testimony of that.
The rest of the day flowed smoothly with three talks, each starting with a keynote speaker, followed by a creative presentation and personal sharing. Notable speakers during the day were Lyn Pangilinan, Fr Matthew Newman and Vitt Lim. Inspiring line up of sharers included Bodyet Reyes and Donna Lim. Group discussions, group activities and praise fests were interspersed between to keep the day alive and vibrant.
The evening was abuzz with excitement because of the social night, which if spelt another way can also read F-U-N. The talented CFCA band and rising Catholic rapper songwriter Josh Angrisano opened the night, much to everyone’s delight. However, these were all just prelude to boarding as the pilot and his crew later arrived and took the delegates via flight GOD143445254 to different exotic destinations. First stop was India where NSW captured everyone’s imagination through a Bollywood presentation. Second stop was Hawaii where TAS mesmerized with their luau dance. Third destination was Texas where QLD danced to lively southern beats. Fourth stop was Philippines where SA showcased their talent in folk dancing. Final destination was Jamaica where VIC showed off their cool Caribbean vibe.
Sunday was the last day of the conference and the final talk was given by no other than CFCA National Director Edwin Aguirre. The 3-day event officially closed with a mass officiated by Fr Dennis Ssemuju.
Remembering the Journey
Now that the conference is over, a couple delegate remembers the journey and have summarized it beautifully below.
I know you would have received a lot of positive feedback regarding the conference. I just needed to personally tell you how wonderful you made this experience for us. It has been more than a week and I still smile when something reminds me of the weekend.
Everything ran smoothly, from the registration process to the different activities and sessions. Your attention to detail and dedication to making sure that everything was in place did not go unnoticed. I appreciate the effort and time that you put into ensuring that everything went as planned.
The location was easily accessible and the facilities suited our needs. As I said, it was "Hea-ve-nly Beach" for us
The food was delicious and well-prepared. The meals were on time and served in a quick and orderly manner.
The technical team, facilities and services were also top-notch. The sound system was excellent, and the video presentations were clear and visually appealing. I appreciate the effort that you put into making sure that everything was in place for the success of the event.
The media team came up with creative ways to keep us engaged and excited weeks before the event and kept us informed of what we needed to know and do. This extended even after the event with the website for the videos and photos. The team thought of everything.
The social night concept blew me away. I had goosebumps when the "flight crew" marched down the aisle to the upbeat music and sound effects.
Josh Angrisano is so talented and his heart for serving the Lord in the rap/hip hop world shines a light in a world known for violence and darkness. I would love my sons to have his songs on their playlists.
The band!!!! Oh, the band sounded great and the choice of songs were perfect both for the praise and worship and for the social night! I've never seen so many CFCA people rush to the dance floor on their own.
I was told that quite a few people volunteered to help with transport and billeting the interstate guests. This is so inspiring to see the community come together.
The Holy Spirit is truly at work in our community. We are so blessed! We were spiritually fed and ready for the year ahead.
And finally, the little gift we received at the end as speakers for talk 3. That was the icing on the cake. What a beautiful, unexpected gesture of love!
Please extend our gratitude to the whole of the CFCA SA community. May peace, love, and God's joy fill your hearts as you have filled ours.
Vitt and Donna, NSW
But for all of us, the journey does not stop here.After all, Pope Francis said, “the life of faith is a journey.”
“Journeying is an art because if we're always in a hurry, we get tired and don't arrive at our journey's goal. If we stop, we don't go forward and we also miss the goal. Journeying is precisely the art of looking toward the horizon, thinking where I want to go but also enduring the fatigue of the journey, which is sometimes difficult. There are dark days, but always think of this: Don't be afraid of failures. What matters in the art of journeying isn't not falling but not staying down. Get up right away and continue going forward. But also, it's bad walking alone. It's bad and boring. Walking in community, with friends, with those who love us, that help us. It helps us to arrive precisely at that goal.”
So continue journeying forward brothers and sisters. Remember, God is walking along with us and the whole CFCA community is rallying beside us.
That’s a wrap for Adelaide. Next stop – New South Wales! See you all in 2024!