News Release

Church, UPM, NCFF Host 2nd Interfaith Family Forum for National Family Week

As part of the celebration of the 27th National Family Week, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its partners, the Uniharmony Partners Manila and the National Committee on the Filipino Family, held the second annual Interfaith Family Forum.


Held last 25 September at the Aurora Meetinghouse of the Church, the forum’s theme centered around the Church’s family campaign dubbed as #BFF, which is short for #BuildingFilipinoFamilies.

Speakers spoke on topics that touched on the different issues that affect the family in the 21st century.

Atty. Jo Imbong, Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, shared about the Current Trends and The Family and Digital Media. The attorney pointed out that digital media, which is supposed to unite people, tends to divide when used inappropriately.

Rev. Fr. Carlos Reyes, Minister of the Ministry of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila, shared about Spirituality in Family and emphasized the importance of making faith and spirituality as the foundation of the home.

Dr. Maribel Canlas, Ph.D., President of Valiant Development Foundation and a service missionary of the Church’s Family Services, talked about the Family and Mental Wellness. A licensed psychologist by profession, Dr. Canlas shared that one of the most important approaches in dealing with mental disorders such as depression and anxiety is adding spirituality in the treatment plan.

“Parents should safeguard their children against mental health disorders, which can affect the way they think, feel and act,” she added.

The last speaker was Ms. Rebecca Ortega, a Senior Coach of Raja Yoga Meditation. She touched on the topic of Health and Well-being. She emphasized the importance of being present when it came to building and strengthening family relationships. Family members feel loved and accepted when their loved ones are not just physically present but being mentally and emotionally available for them.

Family Matters

Following the topic presentations, Haidi Fajardo opened the floor for a panel discussion. The questions raised by the audience were varied. Some asked about the essence of prayer in the household. Others asked about some of the best ways to prevent the trigger of mental disorders.

Atty. Imbong, a mother of eight, shared about how instilling prayer to her children at an early age helped in raising a big, growing family. “Motherhood is not a one-shot job. It is a lifetime service,” she added.

Dr. Canlas added that it’s therapeutic for those suffering from mental illness to start a garden or own a pet.

Throughout the forum, it was emphasized that love in the family is as important as respect. It was reiterated that wives should define their goals as homemakers, husbands as pillars of the family, and that faith as the answer to any family challenges.

The forum concluded with a message from Elder Aretemio Maligon, Area Seventy of the Church. He shared highlights from the Family: A Proclamation to the World. He emphasized that God ordained the family, and that marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. He also explained that children are entitled to birth “within the bonds of matrimony.” Lastly, he quoted from the 1995 declaration, “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Other individuals who participated in the opening exercises included Ted and Asela Arago, Representatives for Inter-religious Dialogue of Focolare Movement Philippines; and Maria Villar, Executive Director of Andres P. Tamayo Sr. Foundation, Inc.

Over 100 participants from the partner agencies of the National Committee on the Filipino Family and Uniharmony Partners Manila attended the forum. Full-time missionaries under the leadership of President Welch of the Philippines Quezon City Mission of the Church were also present at the event.

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