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Filipino couple invited to family synod

MANILA (Agencies) : One Filipino couple has been included among the lay participants invited to contribute to discussions at the upcoming Synod on Family Life scheduled to begin on October 4 at the Vatican.

CBCP News reported on September 16 that Nelson Villafania and his wife, Maria Soccoro, are among the more than 50 lay auditors from various countries who have been offered the opportunity to address the assembly and share insights in the small group discussions.

Villafania and Soccoro have been working as on call facilitators for the Manila-based Evangelion Foundation, a lay group committed to the mission of evangelising in the marketplace.

Father Edwin Mercado, the executive director of Evangelion, described the two as being dedicated missionaries, as they continue to broaden their vision of reaching out to more people in the coming years.

He said that until now, the couple has worked in the area of empowering school teachers and communities through values-formation programmes.

Villafania worked in the corporate world before becoming an active Evangelion collaborator, while Soccoro is a former theology lecturer at Assumption College and a collaborator of the Salesian Sisters in training catechists.

She said they were surprised when the apostolic nunciature in Manila informed them that they were being invited to participate in the synod participants.

“Who are we? Why us? That was the farthest thing from my mind,” she said.

She added they will take it as a chance to be heard and an opportunity to share the concerns of the Filipino families.

Father Mercado described the couple as an asset for The Philippines as the Church needs to discuss a wide range of matters dealing with family life.

Archbishop Romulo Valles, from Davao, will lead the Philippine bishops at the synod.

Archbishop José Palma and Bishop Gilbert Garcera, have also been named members.

Luis Cardinal Tagle will be present as a delegate president and Father Emmanuel Ayo will also serve as one of the assistants to the synod general secretariat.