Young Couples All United in Love at ‘BELOVED 2024’ Conference by Missionary Families of Christ
Mangaluru: Missionary Families of Christ (MFC) is a Catholic movement that works for the renewal of families in India and organizes a variety of programs every year that attract between 50 to 3000 participants. These programs are offered for the welfare of families, couples, youth and children and are instrumental in imparting various skills to the participants besides motivating them to be instruments of change in society. MFC in association with the Diocesan Family Life Service Centre, Bajjodi, Mangaluru organized a one-day conference for young couples named ‘BELOVED 2024′ at Sambrahma Hall, St Anthony Ashram, Jeppu, Mangaluru from 8.30 AM to 4.30 PM. Young couples mainly below 15 years of marriage, and a few beyond 15 years, across all parishes under the Mangalore Diocese participated in this unique and romantic event.
The essence of this event was to empower and nurture relationships, with faith-building sessions and activities designed for this purpose. MFC’s young couples shared insights into their own lives, highlighting how God has worked in their relationships, inspiring and strengthening other couples. This was the second of its kind held in Mangaluru, with the first programme held in 2019 being a resounding success.
Yes, this was a day about HIM(Husband) and Your BELOVED (WIFE)! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner (14 February), it wasn’t just about having one-off moments in these 80-plus young couples that made them feel good. It was a unique day the organizers wanted the couples to look at the stuff that had made their marriage amazing, the stuff that kept the sparks flying and didn’t let up. The organizers never promised the couples that merely by attending the programme their relationship with their spouse would suddenly change. they were going to be given the understanding, dramatically. Rather, they were going to be given the understanding, experiences from the lives of others, and most importantly the tools that never never wear out; because they are fashioned by the Word of God-UNCHANGING and TRUE!
Dr Amith D’Souza, a Nephrologist at Father Muller Hospital, Mangaluru and his wife, Dr Teena D’Souza-KMC, Mlore
Dr Priyathan Kumble and his wife, Dr Lovely George, both physicians at KMC, Mangaluru
As these couples started on this short little trip together, the organizers hoped that what the couples took away would last a lifetime. The things the couples put down and discussed helped clear their minds, express themselves and allowed the spouse to understand her life partner better…and LOVE him/her better too! And MFC had this unique event as the couples go through this Day, they realize that they were meant to be BE-LOVED and cherish their BELOVED! As the song of Songs 6:3 proclaims “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is Mine”
Jeswin Castelino and his wife Ms Laisha, who are involved as full-time Missionaries
Melwyn Fernandes (Entrepreneur) and his wife Ms Neeta Fernandes (Banker)
The programme began with a thoughtful and meaningful prayer song by the MFC Choir, followed by a welcome address by Anand D’Silva-Event coordinator. The event was inaugurated by unveiling the programme logo “BELOVED 2024′ by Fr Anil D’Souza- Director – of Family Commission is the Spiritual Director of MFC, Bajjodi, Bajjodi, Mangaluru, joined by Anand D’Silva and his wife Ms Vanditha D’Silva- Event Coordinator.
The first speaker couple of the day were -Dr Amith D’Souza, a Nephrologist at Father Muller Hospital, Mangaluru and his wife, Dr Teena D’Souza-Opthamologist, KMC, Mangaluru. Married for ten years, having two kids, the couple spoke on the topic “Our Dream Marriage” narrating to the audience about their ups and downs, struggles, misunderstandings, arguments, etc and eventually getting back on track and living a happy married life at the moment, all because of developing faith in God and trusting the values of MFC. The D’souza doctor couple stressed the four pillars that are essential to making a great Marriage, namely: PRIORITY; PURSUIT; POSSESSION and PURITY.
The second couple who spoke on the topic ” The Pearl of Great Price ” were Dr Priyathan Kumble and his wife, Dr Lovely George, both doctors at KMC, Mnagluru. Talking about their priorities in married life, the couple pointed out their list of Priorities which looked like this- God, Spouse, Children (if any), Work/Career, Extended Family and special friends; and Hobbies and other interests.
The third couple speakers on the topic “I AM YOURS’ were Jeswin Castelino and his wife Ms Laisha, who are involved as full-time Missionaries, spreading the good word of God/Christ. They also narrate about the four pillars, especially mentioning steps to Purity in Marriage, like Taking responsibility for your behaviour; not returning sin for sin; Admitting your faults; Forgiving; Speaking the Truth in Love; Pray for each other; and Seek righteousness Fellowship”.
The fourth couple speakers were Melwyn Fernandes (Entrepreneur) and their wife Ms Neeta Fernandes (Banker) who spoke on the topic “LEAVING A LEGACY OF LOVE”- and covered the points about building our families on a firm foundation; Catholic Parenting; and they mentioned about two primarily principles that the style of parenting should flow from: LOVE Is EMBODIED; and LOVE is INTIMATE!
The whole day session ended with a solemn mass concelebrated by Fr J B Saldanha- PRO, Mangalore Diocese and Parish Priest of Bejai Church, and in his Homily said, “Sensitivity to the needs of the life partner is a must; Presence of Jesus in the family make our families Holy; Be faithful to one another. Don’t cheat your life partner; Give time to your children; Be kind to one another; What is within makes a difference; Respect ethical principles; and Be careful of what words you use. Your children hear what you say, and Be polite and learn to forgive. Fr Anil D’Souza joined Fr Fr Saldanha in celebrating the Mass.
Team Mangalorean interacted with a few young couples, and this was their thoughtful expressions- Dr Deepa Pais/Rebello-(45 yrs) Homeopathy doctor at Father Muller Homeopathic Hospital, Deralakatte and William Rebello (51) (Prop: Advertising Agency) and married for 19 years with two daughters said, “Our marriage life changed much better after joining MFC, and our boldness strengthened our relationship, through MFC. We joined MFC seven years ago, and we are seeing a difference in our married life, I (Deepa) am a kids’ formator. MFC has made a difference in our lives extremely”.
Arun D’Souza (39) an Engineer at TCS, married to Ms Anika A (35) MBA Profession, for 10 years and having a baby boy said, “No doubt there were ups and downs, lack of mutual understanding, arguments etc, but MFC did bring a vast change in our married life to overcome all the obstacles and hardships, and now we are enjoying a happy married life, understanding each other and believing in forgiveness”.
Anand D’Silva (51) HR Manager at HP married to Ms Vanitha (44) for 20 years and having three kids said, “By the grace of God and support from MFC we have never tried to lose hope despite obstacles, ups and downs in life, etc and now our marriage is going from GOOD to GREAT. You also need to be part of MFC, if you are looking for a happy married life, stress-free and full of happiness”.
Meet the youngest newly arranged married couple united in wedlock nine months ago, Joel Concessao (31) a project Manager married to Ms Rema (28) advocate said, “Our marriage till now is working well with no hassles, misunderstanding, differences etc, and just a few ups and downs, life is going on well, and since we are freshers to married life we are confident of living a happy married life forever, and we may approach MFC in case we need marital life advice.
The prayers/hymns were by MFC Choir under the leadership of Binoy Peters, and the programme was meticulously and eloquently compered by Malcolm Lobo and Ms Shanthi P, both MFC members. A parallel programme was also held for kids aged 4 to 12 years in another hall Remember a MARRIED LIFE always remains successful and lasts longer when you TRUST and JOIN missionary Family of Christ.
Formerly known as Couples for Christ, the present Missionary Families of Christ, Mangaluru is a lay Catholic evangelistic community dedicated to proclaiming Christ and defending faith, family, and life. The movement, initiated in 2003 in the Diocese of Mangalore under the guidance of Bishop Emeritus Aloysius Paul D’Souza, has now expanded to other dioceses such as Udupi, Bangalore & Shivamogga. In India, it operates under the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India Family Commission, and under the family commissions in the respective dioceses. Fr Anil D’souza, Director – Family Commission is the Spiritual Director of MFC Mangaluru.