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Sodalitium Christianae Vitae - English / News  / Living “The Joy of Being Family” at an international meeting

Living “The Joy of Being Family” at an international meeting

From October 13th to 15th, the city of Cuenca, Ecuador, was the scene of an enriching international event that brought together around 100 participants from 8 countries. Under the title ‘The Joy of Being a Family’, this meeting brought together couples from the Christian Life Movement (MVC), members of Families of Nazareth of the MVC, couples of parents from various schools and parishes linked to the Sodalitium, as well as Sodalits committed to the family apostolate.

Participantes del Encuentro Internacional 2023.

Participants of the 2023 International Meeting.

The meeting is born from listening to the inner voices of so many families who long to live the horizon of holiness expressed in the family apostolate in our home, on a daily basis”, explained event organizer Oscar Álvarez, from Lima and Adherent to the Sodalitium, who lives in Cuenca with his wife, Adrika Canales, and their 5 children. The adherents are couples who discover God’s call to be linked to the style and spirituality of the Sodalitium Christanae Vitae and remain available to its apostolate.

Óscar Álvarez, organizador del evento.

Óscar Álvarez, organizer of the event.

Sodalits at the meeting

At the conclusion of the opening day of the event, José David Correa, Superior General of the Sodalitium, addressed the attendees with an emotional greeting, emphasizing: “It is He who has moved the hearts of some so that this beautiful sharing between us can take place”.

He also highlighted that this event took place under the gaze of God, with the protection of Saint Mary, Our Lady of Reconciliation, and highlighted the coincidence that the meeting took place in Ecuadorian lands, a country consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

José David Correa, Superior General del Sodalicio, en su saludo a las familias.

José David Correa, Superior General of the Sodalitium.

“Count on the help, accompaniment and commitment of all Sodalits in the apostolic task that the Lord entrusts to us from the families and at the same time, I also ask you, as you have always done, that you also accompany us, encourage us and correct us when necessary, because at the end of the day we are family”, he said.

He concluded his words by expressing his gratitude for the invitation to participate in the meeting and sharing three key points to be better prepared for the days of the meeting: having a very spiritual attitude of listening to the Lord, maintaining a look of deep hope and renewed trust in God. , and promote the joy of being family and apostles.

Intervención del P. Emilio Garreaud, SCV en el Encuentro Internacional "La alegría de ser familia"

Father Emilio Garreaud at the presentation of his book.

In subsequent days, Enrique Elías shared details about the “Family Missions”, an initiative that involves apostolic and solidarity trips made by entire families, including parents and children, to communities in situations of need; On the other hand, Father Emilio Garreaud enriched the meeting with a pre-publication of his book “Keys to Married Life”; Finally, Alexandre Borges, General Coordinator of the Christian Life Movement, offered detailed information about the upcoming VI Plenary Assembly of the MVC.

Experiences at the Meeting “The Joy of Being Family”

Gary Suffy and Isabella Cañas, from Cali, Colombia, shared their experience at the meeting. “This meeting for us has meant the possibility of renewing ourselves as a couple, as a spiritual family and renewing ourselves as a Church in this great mission that we have to form ourselves in the family and share with others who are also in need”, said Isabella.

“It has also been very refreshing on this marriage journey that we recently began, Gary shares.

Magalis and José Luis Castañeda, from Lima, shared their impressions: “When we get together it is as if we had known each other all our lives. It seems like there has always been that invisible thread which is because we are a spiritual family”.

From Philadelphia, USA, Nicole Naranjo and Randall Stoddart recounted their experience at the meeting. “I think the experience at this meeting was very pleasant. I liked meeting several of the MVC. It was a nice experience with my wife, who is from Ecuador, in addition to being able to meet people from Argentina, Chile, and Peru. This really speaks to me about the breadth of the MVC”, Randall said.

Testimonio de un matrimonio en el Encuentro Internacional "La alegría de ser familia"

Testimony of a marriage.

Nicole added: “I think this meeting has brought us a new perspective on what family life with God at the center can be like and how these families have become beautiful, wonderful, spiritual families because their parents have been able to carry the Word of God to his children. This has been very inspiring for us and I think that this meeting has nourished us because we know that this is how we want our family to be, we want God to be at the center of our family when we are fortunate enough to have children”.

Finally, Josefina Cañas and Raimundo Allende, from Santiago de Chile, shared their experiences: Josefina said: “A deep joy and a lot of hope to feel accompanied on the path of forming a Christian family in a world in which it is very difficult to be a Christian family”. Raimundo expressed: “I leave with a full heart. It truly has been an extraordinary experience. We have had testimonies of incredible marriages”.

Visit to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Cajas

One of the significant moments of the meeting was the visit to the Sanctuary of Mary Guardian of the Faith, popularly known as the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Cajas. In this spiritual environment, they participated in the Holy Mass celebrated by Father Marcello Carrillo, General Assistant for Spirituality of the Sodalitium.

Visita de los participantes del Encuentro Internacional "La alegría de ser familia" al Santuario de la Virgen de Cajas.

Visit to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Cajas.

Sunday, October 15th, marked the closing of the meeting with an emotional closing Mass, followed by a lunch where the participants shared in a family atmosphere. And finally, a plenary session was held, focusing on the launch of the next International Meeting of Families scheduled for 2026.

You can see the playlist on YouTube of this meeting here.