Happy Birthday to the

Star of the Sea

(Estrella del Mar)


Happy Birthday Myspace Comments

If you turn from the main road … in Cebu, and ride up the narrow lane, you would not expect to find a huge gate and behind it a massive building: Cebu Lay Formation Center. It has been there for 25 years now. Around the building there are many plants, a lust for the eyes, well kept by the gardener. Suppose the walls could talk, they would have a lot to tell about the people who came and went; their conversions, joys and sorrows, achievements, growth, transformations.

Since 1987 CLFC is a member of the worldwide Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF). No wonder that in this formation Center the Bible has an important place. You can find it enthroned in the beautiful chapel in Filipino style. There are many activities offered at this Center to make the Word of God the center of our life, among others:

  • Bible seminars (Bible and Life) – for people to get basic knowledge of Scripture; how to read, study, pray and share the bible in simple ways.
  • Biblical retreats, recollections, and leadership trainings to different groups in the Archdiocese of Cebu as well as in other dioceses.
  • Bibliodrama Workshops, Retreats, Recollections for Religious Education Teachers in Schools, Religious groups and Lay leaders.
  • Youth Encounter Seminar-Workshops – a biblical retreat on personhood, relationship with others and with God/Christ.
  •  Parents and Children Recollection – Objectives: To provide an opportunity for parents and their children to experience a recollection together for closer bonding in their relationships; To experience learning and sharing together; To reflect and pray together as a family.

Other seminars as requested…

The interior is simple, clean and cozy. The members of the staff are friendly and make you feel at home immediately. I was surprised to learn that there are only a handful of them. Estrella or Star del Mar explained that they cannot afford to pay the needed number of personnel, so keep it small. No wonder Star is doing the work of six people at a time: She is the manager, the facilitator, the errand girl, the cook, the secretary, the treasurer. I am not surprised that after some workshops or seminars at the Center, she ends up in the hospital. I have stopped giving her advice, since it seems to be her spirituality that the good shepherd must give her life for her sheep. Star has given the best years of her life for the development of this Center. For that I give her my highest tribute.

Star conveyed her secret to me that it is the CBF that keeps her going. I am happy that in this way the CBF has contributed to the Center in some way. But the gain is reciprocal. Being the CBF-SEA sub regional coordinator since 1996, I can say that CLFC is not just any member, but the most active one in this sub region. Star herself has served the CBF as a member of the Executive Committee for six years, from 1990 till 1996. Since 1996 she has been my right hand as the treasurer of our sub region. I cannot think of a more devoted and skilled treasurer, getting the most of investments, serving all for the good of all. She does not limit herself to money matters. Everybody knows that she is a very resourceful person, always full of new ideas for the good of the Center, the Archdiocese, the country, the Church, the CBF.

So, on the Silver Jubilee of CFLC I would like to congratulate the founder, the staff, and in a very special way the motor that keeps everything going, Estrella del Mar. Long live the Center, long live the Staff, long live Star. God bless you all!!! May you keep serving the people of God for still many, many years to come.


Bandung, October 6, 2010,

Sr. M. Emmanuel Gunanto, OSU

CBF-SEA subregional coordinator


One Response

  1. dear Zr. Emma,

    you don’t know me now, but Sisca Holtrop tell me so much about your person and i know that you are a very lovable person and realy are a child of GOD.
    After i see your picture, i know that you are a very lovely and warmth person and you look a lot like my mother. That’s one of the reason that you touch my heart, even i don’t know you.
    I hope to see you in the month of June in Tilburg, so that i can say “THANK YOU DEAR GOD” for knowing and meetiing this lovely sister.

    GOD BLESS YOU sister Emma and see you soon.
    Ietje v.d. Rest.

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