Kyle Mercado leads praise and worship during last year’s National Singles for Christ Conference in Florida. This year’s gathering, to be held in Portland, is a chance for young adults “to realize that they are not alone in the pursuit of the truth and the Gospel,” said Fr. Cary Reniva, pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton. (Courtesy Couples for Christ Family Ministries USA)
Kyle Mercado leads praise and worship during last year’s National Singles for Christ Conference in Florida. This year’s gathering, to be held in Portland, is a chance for young adults “to realize that they are not alone in the pursuit of the truth and the Gospel,” said Fr. Cary Reniva, pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton. (Courtesy Couples for Christ Family Ministries USA)
Next month, rooms of Hilton’s Embassy Suites in Northeast Portland alternately will pulse with praise and worship, contain hushed prayers of the faithful, and ring with cheers for lively improv and dance — all to invigorate the faith of young people in love with the Lord. The 25th annual National Singles for Christ Conference, slated for Aug. 2-4, is expected to draw more than 400 young adult Catholics from around the country.

Participants are striving “to become encouragers and inspirations to other people, to become the light of the world as they give the best version of themselves,” said Rossana Junge, a Couples for Christ leader in the Portland Archdiocese.

A lay Catholic movement founded in the Philippines, Couples for Christ — the umbrella ministry for Singles for Christ — seeks to evangelize through love and service and focuses on the renewal of families, social justice, respect for life and work with the poor. It is recognized by the Vatican and has specific ministries for Catholics of all ages, married and single.

“The whole idea is really to help you find holiness in your own unique state in life,” said Father Cary Reniva, pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton. The priest, who will celebrate Mass at the conference, became involved with CFC youth ministry in high school and feels “it sparked and nurtured” his vocation to the priesthood.

This summer’s gathering for Catholics ages 21-40 will include daily Mass, with Portland Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith celebrating the Sunday liturgy, the rosary and opportunities for confession. Testimonies and talks center around the theme “Daybreak.” Sessions will “celebrate God’s goodness, help us recognize that we, his children, inherit his goodness, and kindle us to share this with others,” said Tina Leung, a pastoral missionary with Couples for Christ Family Ministries USA and one of the event organizers.

To encourage creative evangelization, there will be competitions around song, dance, improv, T-shirt design, photography and video.

Workshops include pro-life apologetics and guidance around dating and courtship in the modern world.

The conference is supported by Couples for Christ volunteers who are married, and they serve as resources and role models, said Father Reniva. “Many have been in their shoes before and are now in marriages that are happy and solid,” he said. “They are not just fortifying faith in the present but can be a huge sign of hope for young people’s futures.”

Most conferencegoers are CFC members, but nonmembers are encouraged to attend. Father Reniva notes that while the majority of those in CFC are Filipino, the movement and the conference “are not just a Filipino thing” and all are welcome.

Father Reniva said most young adults at the conference are working professionals and the event assures them that a vibrant faith and successful career are not mutually exclusive.

“People think they are so busy at their work, but this event can help them see that practicing your faith is not opposed to success, that success in your career can be anchored in God,” he said.

Father Reniva added that the national conference is a chance for young adults “to realize that they are not alone in the pursuit of the truth and the Gospel.” And amid a culture that champions individualism and where people feel increasingly isolated, it is an affirmation that community is critical, he said. “Journeying with another in faith is something essential to one’s own faith and relationship with God.”

To register, go here. Email cfcsinglesforchristusa@gmail.com with registration questions.



Learn more

For information about Couples for Christ in Oregon, visit cfcoregon.org.