Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A married couple with four children, united, experienced terrible challenges to their faith. And yet, they have never ceased to "surrender" to the will of God, continuing to support other families despite serious health problems and terrible doubts.
Cynthia and George Campos are one of the couples who presented their story of life and mission to the Synod on the Family in the Vatican. They also call on Synod Fathers to remember "irregular families" for which "enlightened charity", preparation and "new forms of accompaniment" are needed.
The full text of their intervention follows.
Our call to vocation
Cynthia and I were married in 1987, blessed with four children. In 1990, we became members of Couples for Christ, a Private Lay Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right. We have committed ourselves to be a living catechesis of our vision to live as "Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth" and our mission: "Building the Church of the Home and of the Poor" in the 107 countries that we are present in.
Cynthia: I applied to be a nun with the Rosas Hermanas (Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit), a contemplative congregation. I was accepted, however, I was asked to undergo a one-on-one directed retreat with a priest. At the end of the retreat the priest said; "You are not meant for the religious life. God will give you a husband who will help you rear the children who will serve Him in the future. Your work is outside". After this seeming rejection from the Lord, I went back to school to finish my course. By the way, George was an altar server in the same convent I was applying to.
George: I attained a high stature in a company I was working with for 25 years. At age46, I opted to resign. I told the owner that "I have spent the 1st half of the prime of my life serving this company and now I want to spend the 2nd half serving the Lord." Cynthia at 47, resigned too, so we can serve together as a couple.
We have grown deeper in faith and love for the Lord through our teaching formations and weekly household prayer meetings with other couples. This blessed encounter with Jesus led us to become fulltime missionary disciples. Our children are following suit. They have joined the CFC Family Ministries beginning with Kids, Youth and Singles for Christ. We have been in missions together in Vietnam, Thailand and Australia.
A dangerous pregnancy
Cynthia: On my 4th pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. We were told that my life would beat risk if I continued the pregnancy and my child had a high probability of being born abnormal. We were advised to choose between terminating the pregnancy or taking the risk. It was truly a test of faith and surrender. We decided to have the baby and to abide by the will of God. By God's grace, we both survived and my daughter Christen is now very healthy and full of life.
Breast cancer diagnosis
Cynthia: In 1998, I was diagnosed with breast cancer with 3 to 6 months to live. Instead of letting go of our service, we continued, supported by the prayers of my family and our CFC community. My prayer was "Lord with just a flick of your finger you could change my illness. You just have to will it". God heard our prayers for now I am standing before you cured with a simple medical intervention and a dose of antibiotics.
The pastoral formation and support CFC gives strengthens and sustains us and our family in the daily challenges we face. But how about those who do not have the privilege of having a support group? And so our mission continues with greater passion.
CFC has ministries for matured men (Servants of the Lord) and women (Handmaids of the Lord) who are single, with spouses working abroad, who lost their spouses either through death, legal separation/divorce or a diverging view of associative Church groupings.
For couples in irregular situations, the Jacob's Well ministry was established. This was inspired from the conversation of Jesus with the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John (4:1-42). It didn't fare well due to mutually felt uneasiness and lack of interactive preparedness with regularly married couples and a Church advisory that our organization is meant only for couples married in Church.
An enlightened pastoral charity inaugurating innovative forms of "accompaniment", of conjugal spirituality formation and of inclusionary participation in church life leading to full communion needs promotion and enactment by our ordained ministers.
Caritas Christi urget nos.