During the olden times and in the medieval ages, a knight was regarded as a brave warrior who fought to protect kingdoms and rescue maidens in distress. Their oath of loyalty and character were unquestioned and they were always regarded as having high moral standards that they try their best to uphold. In this modern day and age, these same characters of a knight are being called upon and invoked to be embodied by the brave brothers of the Couples for Christ – Singles for Christ (CFC-SFC) Oman.
Last 20 – 21 February 2015, the Knight’s Tale of the CFC-SFC Oman was held. This weekend retreat, commenced with the celebration of a Filipino Mass in Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Ruwi at 10 am, which was joined in by the participants. The rest of the delegation then proceeded to the new Headquarters, which is located in the home of the very supportive couple coordinators of SFC, Tito Chong and Tita Mil Zamora, for registration and lunch.
The opening worship was then lead by brother Harriet Cudal, who is also the Music Ministry head of SFC, to call on God’s presence before the start of the sessions. Prior to the first session, an activity transpired, which tested the physical prowess of our SFC brothers. This consisted of push ups, sit ups and arm wrestling. They were divided into two groups and both needed to outdo the other to win. Each gave their best, but finally the group of brothers Nestor Guerrero, Cyrus Garay, Chito Timario Jr. and Fred Domini out willed the group of brothers Mark Pilapil, Donnie Aquino, Rommel Magat and Juls Abarcas. After that, the first session started, which was given by SFC alumni leader and now CFC member Jeff Silvestre. His topic was about Authentic Manhood. His talk emphasized that modern day knights have a commitment to family, community and church instead of just possessing physique, power, prosperity and prowess. The path leading to authentic manhood should consist of a vision of manhood, a code of conduct and a worthy cause to fight for. Finally, knights should have attitudes, which are humble, obedient and available.
The second session then followed, A Vision of Knighthood was given by Arnel Egnisaban, fondly called by his brothers and sisters in the community as Nicky. In his talk, the three core of being a knight, which are desire to love, desire for adventure and a desire to battle was given new meaning. The four principles manhood were also emphasized: a real man rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously and expects the greater reward. The brothers were then lead to a few reflection questions and asked to answer on their own about the talk.
The day drew on and it was time for dinner, which was lovingly prepared by the activity head bro Harvey Singson and the rest of the service team. After the sumptuous meal, it was time for another activity. This time, it was a kind of sharing, facilitated by a deck of cards. The brothers were then joined in by Chino Cayabyab, making the number of participants for this activity as nine strong. Together with the servant leader and the service team, the brothers created a big circle and each were given a few playing cards. The mechanics were then explained, each was to give an experience, may it be good or bad and others who have the same experience should put in a card. Each were also asked to explain in a short statement how his experience was. Of course, all was done with the oath of secrecy by all the participants as well as the service team. Each took turns until all were finished.
Before the day finally ended, an honoring was given to the brother’s unit head, bro Nicky, who is about to take the sacrament of matrimony with fellow SFC sister Icee Oquendo this coming April. A few recorded messages were presented from the brother’s parents, his own brother, SFC sisters and of course, his soon to be wife. A framed picture with words of well wishes from the brothers was also presented to him.
After the first day, almost all the participants have already relaxed and have grown more accustomed to each other’s company. Jokes and fooling around grew more frequent and each was becoming more familiar with the other. All then prepared to sleep and prepare for the next day’s activity.
The following day started with breakfast, prepared again by the service team at around 7:30 in the morning. After the meal, the first speaker has then arrived and everyone prepared for the third session. It was given by previous couple coordinator of the SFC and now Family Ministry head of the CFC, Tito Jojo Dy, it was about Code of Conduct. His talk defined the difference of the knight’s code of conduct before, which was loyalty, excellence, love and honor of women and generosity to the poor as to God’s code of conduct, which are a will to obey, a work to fulfil and a woman to love. It was then followed by a healing session facilitated by Tito Jojo himself, after all the participants were urged to avail of confession during this season of Lent in local parishes. Some of the participants were little emotional, given all the realizations they’ve experienced during the retreat.
The fourth and last talk was given by none other than the father of the SFC Oman, Tito Chong Zamora. It was entitled A Broken Code and a Promise of Redemption. This time, a bit of history was discussed about how Adam failed and the effects of what he and Eve did had on us but this was also given sharp contrast by the modern day Adam, who is Jesus Christ, who promised His people victory if they follow repentance, deliverance, allegiance and compliance. The seven values of an SFC Knight were also discussed, which are integrity, initiative, humility, excellence, courage, faith and servant leadership.
All the participants were then initiated into Knighthood facilitated by Tito Chong and bro Harvey by the symbolic touching of the brother’s shoulders by a sword and were called on to be brave knights and to be protectors of faith. The activity finally ended with praise fest led by the activity head bro Harvey, with his words of inspiration, “I hope this activity brought you fulfilment and was full of realizations.” It was followed by a group sharing. Some of the words heard during the sharing were from bro Chito Timario Jr, who was originally from SFC UAE and was based in Al Ain before being transferred here in Oman by his company. He said, “It was refreshing for me.” Also, bro Donnie Aquino said, “Ang dami kong realizations sa activity na ito.” (I had many realizations in this activity). All the brothers were really filled with inspiration but the final dare came from their father in SFC, Tito Chong who said, “I challenge you all to evangelize more people and bring more brothers here in SFC.”
It was indeed a fruitful weekend. The very first time that the Knight’s Tale had the biggest number of participants from SFC brothers, with everyone having fire in their hearts, it is hoped that this phenomenon of having less brothers in the SFC community will soon be over and will give rise to more brave soldiers for Christ. – C. Garay