Enthusiasm among members of Couples for Christ (CFC), whose aim is to strengthen Christian values and family life, is helping the lay-movement grow in Nepal. Over a dozen people, all parishioners of Assumption church in Kathmandu, gave talks and led prayer and discussion sessions at the weekend at the church hall to complete Nepal’s ninth Christian Life Program – a requirement for membership of the group. One young couple, Ashish and Anuradha Pradhan took on the role as leaders of the three-day program. “We thought it was important to say ‘yes’ and we managed to lead it with the help of others for all three days,” said Anuradha Pradhan, a school teacher. The Couples for Christ movement began in Manila in 1981 and was introduced to Nepal in 2003, by visiting lay Indian and Filipino migrant workers in Bahrain. The first few Christian Life Programs were organized under the leadership of visiting CFC members, but now local parishioners are doing it themselves and have seen membership spread to four parishes. Father Jomon James, the new priest at St.Ignatius Church in Kathmandu’s Baniyatar parish, said: “I am eagerly waiting for CFC to come here as we need to strengthen faith formation among a growing number of Tamang tribal couples and families.” The movement tries to strengthen faith, especially during their Christian Life Programs, by making speakers out of silent listeners. Caritas Nepal worker, Bal Kumari, gave her first talk on Saturday. “This was the very first time I have spoken for such a long time in public,” she said proudly. Later this month, a lay couple from Kathmandu will for the first time participate at an international CFC gathering in Manila – the CFC’s 30th anniversary celebrations. Assumption Church priest, Father Robin Rai, will be going with them. Apart from getting people to speak, the movement has been a great help to illiterate Catholics who cannot read the Bible, who say they have learned a lot by listening to the various talks. Ramon Santiago, CFC regional coordinator for South Asia, spends several weeks in Nepal each year, and is surprised at how fast the movement is growing. “CFC Nepal, at this point in time, is the most active in evangelization and mission work among the CFC communities in the South Asia region and it also has in place all the family ministries and a music ministry,” he said. “At present the movement has about 300 members in Kathmandu, Godavari, Pokhara and Dharan parishes and has hosted two South Asia regional conferences in the past three years,” he added. Santiago said CFC is now encouraging its members in Nepal to be more deeply involved in inter-religious dialogue, pro-life advocacy and contacts with other Christian denominations.
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