by ROWENA OREJANA
When former Couples for Christ members Mel Nepomuceno and his friends from the Philippines talked about their faith journey to New Zealand, they found they shared a desire to more actively take part in their parish, St Luke’s in Flatbush.

Mel Nepumoceno
Mel Nepumoceno

“We were drawn to the parish. We wanted to make the parish our community here in New Zealand,” Mr Nepomuceno said. As they offered their services as liturgical ministers, readers as well as fundraising, Mr Nepomuceno said they noted the lack of parish groups.
“All the rest operate and meet outside the parish. We wanted something that is in the parish so that it can contribute to the life and vibrancy of the parish,” he said.
They formed a group called Live Christ, Share Christ, with the blessing and guidance of parish priest Fr Ezio Blasoni, SM.
Mr Nepomuceno said the group had offered living rosaries, prayer group meetings and other activities for three years now. At one point he came across a programme called Living the Eucharist on the Internet.
“I liked it because it was something I was familiar with from my previous experiences. I liked the way it was developed. My fear was that there would not be enough people in our group to lead everyone. But the beauty of this programme is that everything is laid out so that you only have to follow the steps,” he said.
Mr Nepomuceno said those involved do not have to be experienced facilitators. “Willingness is the only requirement.”
Living the Eucharist is a parish-based programme that runs for three years during Lent. Its aim is to “revitalise parish life through a more profound experience of the Sunday Mass”, he explained.
The group acquired the materials, which Mr Nepomuceno admitted were a bit costly but worth every cent.
In the second year of the programme, Mr Nepomuceno said he really liked the programme because it offered him an opportunity to meet people at church whom he might have otherwise just passed by.
Mr Nepomuceno said there are gems to discover in the Catholic tradition.
“Lectio Divina (Divine Reading), for example, is a simple method of centring prayer by way of silence and repetition. It’s more of letting the Word speak to you,” he said.
Mr Nepomuceno said the programme ends with a half-day retreat two weeks after Easter Sunday.
“Our wish is for other parishes to see this programme and consider having this themselves. We will be happy to help them get the programme going,” he said

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