Victor Chin Wee Keong, 73 (RCIA)
“After attending the RCIA sessions for nine months, the day of Baptism was an important milestone in my Catholic faith journey. To be converted at my age, I have likened myself to a lost sheep that Jesus had found.
I was feeling tense and nervous as I was worried that Covid or some other incidents might prevent me from getting baptised. But with God’s blessings, I made it to the Sacrament of Baptism! The moment Fr Ben poured holy water over my head, I felt relief and all the guilt and sorrows of my past were washed away. This indeed was a once-in-a-lifetime experience – the amazing atmosphere of the SFX congregation cheering and welcoming us into God’s kingdom made it even more memorable.”
Vinod Jude K, 48 (RCIA)
“During my RCIA journey, I recalled the question of why I was here. My wife and sponsor then recounted how 20 years ago during our Marriage Preparation Course, I had made a personal intention to convert after we got married. However, I became distracted by various commitments over the years and only now did I have a chance to revisit that intent.
Honestly, I could feel God’s constant presence in my life – especially in the friendships I have carved since childhood. But as I reflected on how few those friendships grew with me through my adult years, I then realised that it was perhaps because I was not a very nice person then and I have hurt several people, especially those closest to me. Nonetheless, without my knowing, God stayed and remained a distant friend. I finally felt his nudge to come back to him when the weight of the worldly burdens started to grow heavy.
I am edified by the dedication of the RCIA service team and the parish priests have also inspired and helped to strengthen my belief and faith. It was through much prayers and divine intervention that brought me here today to re-kindle my friendship with Jesus. Praise the Lord!”
Augustine See Fen Fei, 28 (RCIA)
“The RCIA journey has been an arduous one. Was I truly ready as this was my third time joining the RCIA program? Weeks before baptism, I wasn’t sure if my godparent would be able to make it for my baptism as he was on reservist duties. Days before, I was also under a lot of emotional stress for fear of my family rejecting my invitation to come to the church to witness my baptism. Thankfully they all made it! However, my struggles did not end there. Two days before my baptism, I suffered terrible gastric pains and the cramps lasted throughout the Easter Vigil mass. I then realised that it was a physical manifestation of my anxieties, nervousness, worries and self-doubts. My loss of appetite then turned into a hunger for the Eucharist. I am grateful to the Lord for showing me the importance of yearning for the Eucharist which not only brings joy but helps me get through my daily struggles.”
The Yang Family: Claire Anne Yang, 9, Peter Yang, 42, and Ashlyn Teresa Aw, 41 (RCIA)
“In my search for purpose and the meaning of life, I stumbled into RCIA and was patiently led to discover God’s love and embrace which helped quench the thirst in my spiritual desert. Over the nine-month long program, I came to find inner peace and an alignment of heart and mind as I also understood the greater purpose of giving even when we have nothing to offer. ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’ (Job 1:21).
My wife and I are very thankful and we feel so blessed to be chosen by God to go on this journey of faith in Christ together as a family. Though we did not feel worthy, we managed to follow the path that the Lord has willed for us, and His plan is truly perfect. When our nine years old daughter who has been blessed with an affinity for the faith told us that she too wanted to be baptised, we knew that it was indeed His plan for us.
The little mustard seed that was planted in us blossomed into a sapling thanks to the loving watering and care of the RCIA service team and parish priests. Their selfless sacrifice and the love of God have inspired and guided us right up to Baptism.
“I first learned about God when I was in Primary 1 and I have wanted to be close to Him ever since. Last Christmas, my parents brought me to St Francis Xavier’s Church for the very first time. The Church looked so beautiful with all the stained glass and the statues of saints. The hymns were so lovely I found myself swaying to the music. When my parents and I decided to be baptised this Easter, I felt so happy!
That night, it was the first time I saw the church pitch black. But when the candles slowly lit one by one, I couldn’t help but feel so excited!”
Abigail Low, 28 (RCIA)
“Throughout the course in RCIA, I have learned to understand more deeply what it means to be a Catholic and to reflect deeper on my relationship with God. I really appreciate being able to share my stories and questions openly which made this journey genuine and fruitful. It’s been a life-changing journey where I have found peace within God’s love and I have also learned to trust God and what he has planned for me.”
Natalie Anastasia Imelda Ong, 17 (RCIY)
I have been introduced to Jesus from a very young age as my mother and elder brother are Catholics. I also grew up in Catholic schools for 10 years. I knew no other way than to pray to God when I am struggling or facing any sort of difficulty. This made my relationship with Christ very strained as it felt like I went to church hoping for my prayers to get answered. Not being baptised also made me feel like I was not worthy of Jesus’s love.
Last year, one of my close friends invited me for her Confirmation at SFX. It had been a while since my last visit to the church. I did not anticipate that that night was going to be the night that Jesus would call me to come back to him. That night, I felt comforted and a deep longing for his love.
At the time when I joined RCIY, I was preparing for my O Level examinations. I found myself in a cycle of aimlessness and disappointment as I often compared myself to others and felt like nothing I did would be good enough. Not achieving the academic goals I set for myself also led to a build-up of self-hatred and resentment in my life. I became a very spiteful person who was driven by pride.
In my RCIY journey, Jesus revealed his purpose for me to not chase after materialism and the desire to fulfill worldly things, but to trust in him and in all his plans for me. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). I realised that I was drowning in my self-reliance and desire for control over my life. Relying on my own strength that will falter had only led to disappointment. Hope is futile without faith. So by the grace of God and his unconditional love, I was finally able to let go of my pride, ego, and impatience with His plans for me. Mother Mary’s humble trust in Jesus has also inspired me to emulate her through my actions.
Jesus desires us to seek and open our hearts to Him. Will you answer His calling and allow His steadfast love to enter your heart?
Arun Jude Lopez, 18 (RCIY)
The RCIY journey is one I will never forget. As a cradle Catholic, I went with the flow and received Communion after two years of catechism. After that, I drifted away from the faith and you would say became a Christmas Catholic, attending Mass on the eve of Christmas to kickstart the celebration. This continued for a couple of years and I was very distant with the faith and didn’t really have a relationship with God.
It was not until the last year of my secondary education that the search for a relationship with God came about. As I was busy with academics and other commitments, I was overwhelmed and the only thing I thought of doing was to pray about it and ask for God’s guidance. As praying slowly became a habit and as I could feel my prayers being answered, the want for a relationship with God increased. As such, I was hoping to know more about God and get back on track with my faith. Alongside, I also wanted to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation which I had delayed.
As such, I was introduced to RCIY and a year later I was confirmed. The journey was fulfilling as it allowed me to know more about our Heavenly Father and how our Lord Jesus Christ loves us and seeks a relationship with us. Eventually, my faith rekindled and something which I dreaded doing in the past which was attending Mass became what I looked forward to.
The highlight of the RCIY Journey is the Easter Vigil Mass. It was the first-ever Easter Vigil Mass I had ever attended. I was overjoyed during the Mass and was content that I was confirmed in it. It was also during the mass that I reflected on my time in RCIY and am grateful for being able to journey with many kind hearts who allowed me to know who my God is. RCIY is a journey like no other and I strongly recommend those who are wanting to discover the faith and become a Catholic to embark on this life-changing journey.
Megan Anthonia Law, 19 (RCIY)
Since young, I’ve been quite exposed to Jesus though not necessarily in the Catholic faith. Jesus Christ has always been familiar to me even though I had no personal encounter with Him. I met many Catholics throughout my life and this eventually felt like a calling to learn more about God. Although I joined RCIY in my busiest academic year and struggled, I do not regret this decision I made. Throughout the journey, the service team in RCIY has always been so enthusiastic about sharing and helping out in almost every part of my life. However, this journey was not a bed full of roses. Attending sessions has allowed me to learn more about God yet, I felt like the distance between us was growing. This changed when I attended our last retreat. Feeling hopeless and doubtful, I decided to open up my heart and mind that night and that was when I finally felt His presence. His presence was overwhelming; I felt comforted when I was lost. Since From then, I’ve learned to trust more in the Lord, in His plans for me, even though this is still a constant struggle. One thing I took away from the retreat was the words I believe Jesus wanted me to know, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord… plans to give you hope and a future… You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13. I believe the Lord has plans for each of us, so take the leap of faith and find out where the Lord will lead you.
Perlyn Josette Quek, 23 (RCIY)
Receiving the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist on Easter – as we would call the 3-in-1 experience – was not a mere transition into a new stage of life… but rather, a birth into a new life and a new identity. In fact, an identity that is too good to be true. Too surreal to believe. Me, called by name as a child of God to receive these graces bestowed by God’s goodness? No, it can’t be.
But yes, it can be and it has happened. Throughout the years of exploring the faith, I have seen people getting baptised or have heard of acquaintances going through this precious rite and honestly, I have always been envious. When will it be my turn? Will I eventually come to this point? I deeply longed for the love, peace and grace that would come with it.
At the beginning of the RCIY journey, this ‘end-point’ of receiving the 3-in-1 sacraments was what kept me going. Weekly Sunday sessions that began at 10.15 am (and 9 am towards Lent) were physically tiring, but spiritually enriching. Slowly, my priorities shifted from reaching the ‘end-point’ to enjoying the process; I could feel myself getting closer to God, with both the help of my peers and the service team. The weight of the tangible love of God was increasing in my life, and I was still lifted by the graces and mercies showered upon me every single day. Now, two weeks after Easter, the reality of being able to receive these Sacraments has yet to sink in, especially because I now know what they signify. Rather than feeling a sense of victory or accomplishment (akin to overcoming an obstacle), I am more grateful that I have a God that I can always call upon when I struggle. Undoubtedly, the people that God has placed in my life have allowed me to come this close to Him, and I really mean every single person – from the church members that I encountered during mass, to online rosary groups, to communities, to cell groups, to RCIY friends, to our priests, and to the larger Catholic community. Thank you for being a reflection of God’s greatness.
Therese Maria Francisca Soh, 23 (RCIY)
I was a cradle Catholic but never felt close to God. As a teenager, personal struggles, my inability to find a sense of belonging in church, and the fact that I perceived Catholics around me to be of poor character, led me to resent catechism classes and grow distant from God. When it was time to get confirmed, I refused to go to the Confirmation camp. After many fights with my parents, I won and dropped out of catechism. My conversion experience began at a four-day retreat where I had a tangible encounter with Christ for the first time in my life. Having left the church for a few years, I felt out of place during Eucharistic adoration and thought to myself that I did not know where to look. It was then that I heard a gentle voice say, “if you have nowhere to look, look at me!”, and was compelled to look at the Eucharist. That moment was a turning point for me. Subsequently, I tried to draw closer to God by surrounding myself with Catholics and promising to commit to my university community. However, the journey to keep my newfound faith alive proved challenging because I struggled with opening up to my university community and showing up for sessions. Even though I desired to be present, I was sometimes hindered by fear and anxiety. These challenges kept me from getting confirmed as I constantly questioned my belonging in church. Eventually, I joined RCIY amidst these doubts and fears. Leading up to my Confirmation, I gained a newfound appreciation for the saints and began to see them as brothers and sisters in heaven. Through their stories, I witnessed how many had fallen in love with Christ and walked faithfully in His footsteps. I also gained the Fruit of the Holy Spirit of Joy through the story of St Francis of Assisi, who found joy in God’s creation which he regarded as a reflection of God’s goodness. To me, Confirmation meant choosing to belong to Christ and His church out of my own desire and free will. As of now, I cannot fully see how I have changed. All I know is that I desire to become more like Christ and who He wants me to be, even if it means dying to myself at times. I also desire to come to know Him and His people better, and to one day have the courage to carry Christ to another.
Emmanuel Wong Jun-Mei, 23 (RCIY)
Hide and Seek is a game I loved as a child. Usually, one would win by either finding everyone, or being able to remain hidden. But whenever it was my turn to hide, I’ve always wanted to be found. It always seemed like a lonely victory in view that the rest have reunited with one another.
In a similar manner, God and I have been playing hide and seek for years. For the longest time, I had thought I was the seeker, when in fact I was the one hiding from God, at times not even knowing I was lost.
All this while, I’ve tried to fill my life with people, pursuits and pastimes only to realize that the emptiness persisted. It was only coming into the Catholic church and drawing close to the Lord that I realised all that I was craving from the world – love, acceptance, belonging – I found in Him. Rather, in Him, I am found.
What I didn’t expect was the level of humility, courage and strength I needed to come out of hiding. While I continue to face struggles to be vulnerable, to acknowledge my brokenness and surrender my hopes and fears into His light, the Lord’s relentless love, grace and mercy continue to give me the space and safety to try and try again.
“And with your spirit.” As soon as those words left my lips, a firm but gentle hand tapped the side of my face, as part of the Confirmation rite. It was like the Lord reminding me that all that had passed was not a dream even though it felt surreal. I am real. Indeed, that Saturday evening, I received the precious body and blood of Christ for the first time. Warmth pooled into me as I ate and drank, it was as if Jesus were pulling me into His embrace, declaring ‘You are mine’. The year-long RCIY journey was nothing short of a pilgrimage, trying to find my way to the Lord, only to realise He’s always been with me and will always be with me.
Tricia Tan – RCIY, 15
So, apparently in the example we were given, there are supposed to be 4 acts. Act 1 is Life before Jesus Christ. Actually, I’ve known about Jesus since I went to a Catholic primary school. But before that, although I went to a Christian kindergarten, I only knew God, and not yet Jesus. Maybe because I was more focused on playing with playdough. Anyway, Act 2 is about How I came to know Jesus Christ. So basically, in primary school, there was this thing called catechism class. There was also Mass every few months by a priest from SFX. I can’t remember his name, but I remember he was bald. Anyway, it was easier to grasp someone known as Jesus because they taught of him to be more as the ‘Son of God’ so it was an idea easier to understand at 7 years old. Next, Act 3 is Life in Jesus Christ. It was a bit harder to write about this because it was a bit more difficult to put it in words. To be honest, I really only got immersed in the faith when I joined RCIY. And after I started learning more and interacting with Jesus, I realised I started becoming calmer and less anxious about the pressure and environment around me than before. It really changed my outlook and I started feeling a lot better and less pressured than before. Anyway, finally, in Act 4, where we were supposed to pose a challenge to the audience. Although sometimes we feel like strangers to Jesus, at the end of the day, he’s still there for us. So if Jesus can accept us, shouldn’t we be more open to accepting him too?