On its 61st year, CFM Philippines looks back with gratitude to people of faith from different places during different periods of time. Their unique ideas led to the beginning of Catholic Action and the founding of family movement throughout the world.

It all began with Fr. Joseph Cardijn of Belgium whose motive in life was "to help the working youth and the working class". After seeing the poor working conditions in the factories during the Industrial Age in Europe, he studied the social teachings of the Church. He acted by forming small groups or cells of workers and instructed them to: Observe - what was happening in their workplace? Judge-what were they seeing in the light of Christ's teaching? Act - what are they do to make their situation better? Observe-Judge-Act (OJA) became an effective formation tool for small groups on a "like-to-lie Apostolate (with members of the same age, gender and occupation).

Apostolic movements of workers and students using OJA spread throughout Europe and other continents-Young Christian Workers (YCW) and Young Student Workers (YCS). It was the beginning of Catholic Action. In 1925, the OJA method was approved by Pius XI.

YCW and YCS members who got married continued OJA formation by organizing family movement in France and Spain. Other members in Canada and USA shared the same idea. In USA, the Adult Catholic Action composed of men and women cells organized a movement called Catholic Family Action which include couple groups. During a national convention in 1950, the name Christian Family Movement was adopted. Three conditions were agreed upon - the membership should be by couples, "For Happier Families" will be the initial book and OJA process will be used in succeeding inquiry books. From factory workers and students, the OJA was applied to the area of family life with the blessings of Fr. Joseph Cardijn.


Initial Year

On February 8, 1956, with the help of Tony and Teresa Nieva and the blessings of Archbishop Rufino Santos, D.D., the CFM-USA Presidents Pat and Patty Crowley planted the seeds of CFM in the Philippines. After several months of recruitment for membership and evenings of orientation, the first unit was organized by Tony and Teresa Nieva at Forbes Park, Makati sometime in September, 1956.

Expansion and Organizational Structure

In less than a year, the Federation of the Greater Manila was organized to coordinate the units formed in Makati, Manila, Quezon City, Pasay, Paranaque, and Pasig. CFM began its expansion program in provinces of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao from 1958 to the Sixties. As CFM took roots outside the Manila Area, regions (now referred to as archdioceses/dioceses) with existing units had been organized under geographical areas for better coordination.

As early as 1959, standing committees were created to assist the national officers in strengthening the Movement through their programs and activities. In 1960, CFM came up with its own By-Laws. Four years later, CFM was incorporated as an organization.



Initially, the CFMers concerned themselves with personal and family sanctification and strengthening of family relationships. CFM pioneered in organizing couple retreats/recollections, feast of the Holy Family celebrations, and later, family life education seminars in schools.

After some time, members began to look beyond their homes and were involved in temporal concerns based on the outcome of their OJA meetings. They pioneered in the areas of parish life, education, socio-economic life, mass media, ecumenical dialogue and political life.

Family Evangelization Guidebooks

The OJA remains to be the "heart" of the CFM meetings held every two weeks in each other's homes. Originally called the social inquiry book, the change of name emphasizes the formation aspect of the meeting.

From 1956 to 1965, these guidebooks were provided by CFM USA. In 1966, CFM Philippines published the locally written book, "The Christian Filipino Family after 400 years".

Special unit meeting series are prepared for pre-convention activity or for special concerns on national issues affecting the country. The most recent guidebooks are on the Spirituality of Stewardship, Stewardship of the Family, and Stewardship of the Environment.


CFM-Church Relationship

Acknowledging CFM's early contributions in the area of family life and social concerns, Archbishop Rufino Santos, DD , granted CFM the official mandate as a Catholic Action Organization on the Archdiocese of Manila on November 30, 1960.

CFM was granted another certificate of mandate on May 17, 1967 as a National Catholic Action Organization. This time the recognition was from the Episcopal Commission on Catholic Action headed by Archbishop Teofisto Alberto, DD. Up to this day, CFM remains under the supervision of this Commission now known as the Episcopal Commission of the Laity, and the Episcopal Commission on family & Life.

The direction, "CFM Service to the Local Church", has been acknowledged by the Hierarchy. This direction is the result of the re-alignment of the CFM structure with that of the Local Church including the use of the same terminologies for each level.


How can a couple or family benefit from CFM?

CFM serves as a practical school on marriage and family life. Husband and wife together learn with other couples and get support and inspiration from like-minded families. What they learn in CFM, they can apply in their own families. Within the basic cell of the CFM, a community spirit pervades and member couples find new and lasting friendships.

Through their exposure to CFM processes and programs, and involvement in the CFM apostolate, couples develop their spirituality and discover their potentials. There are also ample opportunities to use one's talent and gifts for others and within the CFM.

As the couples grow together, they strengthen their own marriage. The children benefit as well by participating in CFM programs developed especially for them.


How does a couple join the CFM?

A couple becomes part of CFM by joining an existing or new CFM unit. A CFM unit consists of five to seven families (represented by the spouses) with its own chaplain or gabay. Contact the CFM at your Parish Office or contact us at the Nazareth Home and we shall organize you and your group into a Unit, or be a part of an existing Unit. Kindly fill in the declaration of intention "I want to join the CFM" and email/fax it to Nazareth Home or the CFM Coordinator Couple in your parish or Diocese.