Couples and their children at the Couple Empowerment Programme’s 10th anniversary celebration.

Love was in the air as families came together to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Couple Empowerment Programme (CEP) on Nov 27.

Children came decked in animal and angel outfits to participate in a Christmas-themed best dress competition. Adults, dressed in blue and silver, mingled with old friends and took part in a quiz to win some attractive prizes.

The celebration, held at the Agape Village, had the theme, Living the Promise, Experiencing the Joy. It began with a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Franciscan Friar John-Paul Tan; CEP’s spiritual director, Dominican Fr David Garcia; and Jesuit Fr Charles Sim.

Speaking at the end of Mass, CEP co-founders Bernard and Ying Thio, shared their vision for CEP in the coming years.

“We seek to nurture formators in marriage and families who will teach by the examples of their own lives,” said Mrs Thio.

“Through the CEP, couples are encouraged to ‘walk the talk’ by embracing the teachings of Humanae Vitae and deepening their faith formation in these areas.”

Humanae Vitae is Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on married love and procreation.

CEP had its genesis in 2003 when Bernard and Ying Thio had a spiritual prompting to reach out to young couples.

Archbishop Nicholas Chia gave his mandate for the homegrown programme whose mission is to build communities of couples in parishes, and three years later, CEP was launched to empower young couples to live their marriage according to Humanae Vitae.

“It’s heart-warming to see so many couples and their families coming together to celebrate the joy and fruit of marital love – with God as the third party in the marriage,” said Ms Joann Chia, a participant. “My husband and I attended and benefitted from CEP, and we’re happy to be here to celebrate with the community.”

The next run of the CEP will be held at the Church of St Ignatius in March 2017.

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