Lito and Arlene Martin have been married for 40 years. Members of the “Bukas Loob sa Diyos (BLD) Covenant Community” – a Catholic charismatic community – the couple reflects on how their marriage has been enriched by participation both in a lay movement and in parish life. BLD is one of the marriage enrichment groups helping to organize and promote Marriage Sunday in the Archdiocese of Toronto, taking place on Sunday, February 12.
1. What is the BLD Covenant Community’s mission and what is your role as a couple within that?
It is a communion of families and a community of persons called together as one people through a moment of encounter and a process of renewal to a relationship of faith, hope and love with God.
"Bukas Loob Sa Diyos" is a Filipino name; in English, our name is "Open in Spirit to God." Our original name reflects BLD's country of origin, the Philippines. Today, however, members of the community live throughout the world. Outside of the Philippines, a large number of members live in Canada and the United States.
The community is Roman Catholic in its essence, charismatic in its activities and faithful to the Magisterium of the Church.
Our renewed mission as a communion of encountered families is that we are called by the Lord to build communities of disciples of Jesus Christ who, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will renew and strengthen our faith through programs of Christian Encounter (such as: Marriage Encounter, Family Encounter, Solo/Single Parent, Singles and Youth Encounters, and Life in the Spirit Seminars); of spiritual growth; of pastoral care; and of poverty alleviation.
Our role as Stewards for Evangelization is to renew and strengthen the Christian faithful through our community’s encounter programs and the Life in the Spirit Seminars among others.
2. How does your involvement in this lay movement enrich your relationship?
Our involvement enriches our marital relationship very deeply by way of caring not only for ourselves but also for other people. It is our caring for others that motivates us to work hard as a couple. At the BLD, we are one of the “sharers” in the Life in the Spirit Seminar and the Marriage Encounter Weekend, wherein we share our life experiences for couples to experience the healing in their married life, the joy of being a couple and the victory of the Lord in their relationship.
3. Can you share with readers how participating in parish and archdiocesan activities and events impacts your marriage?
Our involvement in parish activities is one of the joys we have in serving the Lord through our parishes. We are lectors and Eucharistic Ministers at St. Josephine Bakhita Parish. Likewise, we are part of the Marriage Preparation Ministry of the Merciful Redeemer Parish. We teach the subjects of communication, conflict resolution and forgiveness; and living our values and becoming parents.
Being of service to our parishes is one of the most effective and satisfying aspect of our married life by way of establishing a strong relationship not only of ourselves but a relationship within the community itself. Participating in such activities gives new meaning to our marriage as it sustains us through thick and thin.
For more information about the BLD Covenant Community, please visit www.bldtoronto.org. For details on Marriage Sunday, including the Celebration of Marriage Mass, please visit www.archtoronto.org/marriage. As the event has reached capacity, all are welcome to join via the livestream at https://www.stmichaelscathedral.com/live/.