I have always looked forward to attending our Singles For Christ National Conferences. For me, it’s a God-given opportunity to have a weekend with Him – to spend time with Him through the Sacraments, to pray to Him in praise and worship, to hear and learn from the great talks, to actively participate in the fun activities, to view the great location, and to share our faith journey and experiences along with my brothers and sisters in Christ from across Australia and beyond – these are only few of a myriad of reasons why SFC Conferences are a must-attend for me.
When it was announced at the end of the 2015 SFC Oceania Regional Conference that the 2016 National Conference was going to be in Adelaide, South Australia, I became very excited and decided right at that moment that I was not going to miss this event.
The theme for the 2016 SFC National Conference was “Christ Bound” with the anchor verse from Romans 12:2 that says: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Having just returned a month prior to the conference from the 31st World Youth Day held in Krakow, Poland, my heart was on fire with love for God and neighbour and I was yearning for opportunities to actualise this love in a more concrete way.
The Conference was held during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. One of the talks during the Conference that inspired me was given by Fr. Roger Manalo, CS, and he spoke about God’s infinite mercy – beautifully written in Pope Francis’ Bull of Indiction Misericordiae Vultus (Face of Mercy). He said, “Open wide the doors for Christ.” As the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us, so must we also open wide the doors of our hearts. And we certainly put love and mercy into action by visiting a nursing home where we were blessed to meet some elderly yet joyful people – we spoke to them, held their hands, listened to their interesting stories, laughed with them, ate with them, and we even sang for them. I tremendously enjoyed this experience with them. The ministry to the poor, sick and elderly is very special and close to my heart because I can see the face of Christ in them.
I encourage everyone to attend future SFC Conferences. These Conferences are channels of God’s graces whereby He touches the heart and soul. The 2016 SFC Conference certainly gave me that grace – to be transformed by His Spirit and to discern God’s will in my life…and then actually do something about it. May God be praised always!
Heherson Alarde – SFC New South Wales, Australia