More than 700 Couples for Christ (CFC) members and their families from across Australia gathered for a retreat at the Companion’s Hall of Loyola College in Watsonia on the weekend of 17–19 May 2024. CFC—an international lay Catholic community recognised by the Vatican in more than 120 countries—is dedicated to the renewal of marriage and family life, and the theme of this year’s retreat was ‘Be a servant and a light to the nations’ (Isaiah 49:6), CFC’s ‘anchor verse’ for 2024.

Archbishop Peter A Comensoli delivered a video message welcoming the participants before they took part in four talks or sessions exploring how the humility and obedience of Jesus Christ can be our model as we seek to serve God.

Through the pastoral formation talks, discussions and communal prayers, participants explored how to ‘be a servant and a light’ to others in today’s world. Speakers from diverse backgrounds shared their insights and experience, inspiring participants to embody the values of humility and obedience to God in their daily lives.

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More than 700 Couples for Christ (CFC) members and their families from across Australia gathered for the weekend retreat at the Companion’s Hall of Loyola College in Watsonia. (Photo courtesy of Couples for Christ.)

One of the most heart-warming aspects of the retreat was the way it involved children. The weekend gathering was not solely for adults seeking spiritual rejuvenation; it was also a vibrant playground for more than 150 children, who were given a parallel program tailored to their ages and understanding. They engaged in activities that nurtured empathy, kindness and a sense of responsibility towards others, and storytelling sessions and craft activities—where children made rosary beads using old, coloured magazines—were infused with moral lessons.

Throughout the retreat, times of reflection and introspection were interspersed with times of joy and camaraderie. From shared meals to a spontaneous musical gatherings, the retreat fostered a sense of belonging and unity among the participants. Bonds were forged, friendships were kindled, and a shared commitment to serve God with humility and obedience was nurtured.

Participants returned to their respective states and homes invigorated and inspired to embody the principles of service to God, Church and community in their everyday lives, and to be beacons of hope in a world yearning for light.

Banner image: close-up of a couple holding hands. (Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.)