CDM, Penang holds first ever Family Conference

The Church of the Divine Mercy (CDM) held her first Family Conference over the weekend of July 13 - 14. The theme for the conference was My Family, My Church.

Aug 09, 2019

By Dr Ivan Filmer
The Church of the Divine Mercy (CDM) held her first Family Conference over the weekend of July 13 - 14. The theme for the conference was My Family, My Church.

It started off with Mass on Friday, July 12. In his homily, parish priest Fr Martin Arlando mentioned that Jesus knows our human nature well. We should not put our faith in others on the same level as our faith in God. Jesus is steadfast in his love for us and is more loyal than any of our family members. By his crucifixion, he has shown us that you cannot love without sacrifice. We need to give Him a personal response or we will remain stuck in our nothingness. By praying for our family and sacrificing for them to help them preserve their faith, we understand that Jesus cannot be absent in our lives. In this way, we can also be Jesus for one another.

Fr Martin said that while it is easy to be in a family, it is difficult to be family. The main objective for the Family Conference was to cater to four groups of people in the family namely the Men, Women, Youth and Children, to bring them closer as family. The purpose was to culminate the parish’s efforts on Prayer, Word of God and Family for the last three consecutive years.

He then formally introduced the speakers for the various sessions of the conference. Michael Xavier and Derek Chong (from Sabah) addressed the men. Carmelita Xavier and Leoreen Heah spoke to the women, Brendan Lo Rick and Adrian Oyog addressed the Youth and Stephen Rodrigues the young children.


Fr Martin then explained that this Family Conference was the culmination of the three-year programme at CDM to foster the parish community to grow as a family by recognising each of our identities and how they fit into God’s plan and how to grow in it.

The conference attracted 214 participants from CDM and other parishes in Penang. There was even a group of ten students from UTAR. Each group was given six sessions over the course of the two days. They were mainly geared to bring a greater sense of self-awareness of each person’s identity and how, by their actions and resolve, they could cultivate a better sense of understanding and love within their families. Each session began with a short Praise and Worship conducted, in most cases, by volunteer groups of the youth in CDM and USM. Each of the groups was asked to write petitions and affirmations of their family on post-it slips and attach them on the crosses placed in front of the altar.

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