Here are some testimonies from the neophytes:
Zoe Yap, 18
“For most of my life, my view of God was verging on apathetic, despite being a “cradle” Catholic. I attended Church and Sunday school every week and I sort of believed God existed, but was in the awkward position of not caring enough or knowing what to do with that information. Last year, my parents wanted me to finish confirmation and I ended up joining RCIY at SFX, even though it made no sense geographically because it is an hour away from my house. However, I believe it to be perfectly planned by God.
I entered RCIY with an open heart and mind but with zero expectations. I didn’t expect my relationship with God to change much… but how wrong I was. I quickly fell in love with the community and service team at SFX, their joyful vigour and great teaching guided me to take the precocious first step to saying “yes” to God, to finally getting confirmed, not to merely complete the process, but in genuine love for God and wanting to be strengthened by his grace to come closer to him. I wish for my faith to be strengthened throughout the rest of my life.”
Ronnie Luke Tan, 67
“I started my RCIA journey on 5th July 2022 and came every Tuesday, I would learn new topics regarding the Catholic faith. In my journey, we were guided by our group facilitators and other service team members. The retreat in February also helped me to understand and experience God’s love. Next, we deepened our commitment through the Rite of Elections at the Church of Immaculate Heart of Mary with Cardinal William Goh blessing us. Many Elects and Candidates from different churches also attended the Rite and it was a very special day for us to understand the purpose of our journey through the words by the Cardinal. With a grateful heart, I started to prepare for baptism.
I didn’t know what to expect but I was excited and looked forward to the process. I was very happy to have our daughters, family and friends attend my wife and my baptism. After Fr Ben baptised me, I experienced a deep sense of joy and strength in me so much so that I raised my hands and shouted “Praise the Lord!“ The baptism was a special moment for me to know that God has been, is walking with me and will always be in my life. I thank God the Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit and Mother Mary for choosing me to be part of this family. Special thanks to Fr Ben and Fr Nat and especially the RCIA service team for teaching and guiding us throughout this whole journey.”
Deanne Conceicao, 35
“I started the RCIA journey with a clear intention to be a Catholic. But it was just a gut feeling, I didn’t truly understand what it meant. When past catechumens shared how they found inner peace after baptism, I was skeptical, unsure of what they meant, and wondered if it was all in their heads.
The past year has been a tough one for me. I faced many challenges, from work to my personal life. Despite going through the worst emotional roller coaster rides I’ve had, I was able to cope. The weekly RCIA sessions provided a boost I needed to keep me going. Whenever my thoughts ran wild, something in the session would click for me, and something that seemed big initially would then become small and manageable. I learned later that this is how God works; using other people’s voices to send us messages. With each passing day, the messages continued. Whenever I prayed for clarity, patience, and guidance, He would answer in His own way. The signs got clearer that it could not be a coincidence. I realised that He has always been in my life working His miracles even though I’ve never acknowledged His work until now.
Baptised and Confirmed, I now have a grateful and peaceful heart. I thank the Lord for taking away my fears and patiently knocking on my door so many times despite my blindness. When I needed Him the most, He gave me unmistakable signs that I could not ignore. I opened the door and discovered a whole new community with whom to journey through life.
I thank my husband, Reuben, who introduced God to me but never once forced me into the Faith. He patiently waited for me to get to know Him and taught me the Grace of God by being a good disciple, role-modeling Him in our daily life. I thank my Godparents – Vincent and Doris – for being a part of our lives since we got married. God truly sent them to do His work, guiding us as a couple. The moment they found out that I was going through RCIA, they stepped forward to be my Godparents. I believe this was God’s plan all along; there are no coincidences.
To the service team, thank you for your hard work and patience. I aspire to have your love for God. To Fr Ben, thank you for patiently listening to my worries during the enquiring stage, and breaking them down so that I entered the faith with minimal worries. Lastly, to those who have prayed for me during this journey, thank you for your prayers. I am certain they have been answered too.”
Jude Moy HJ, 34
“Jesus keeps knocking on the door. I have been attending Mass with my wife for a few years. Although I am curious about the faith, I have always been procrastinating to find out more. I am glad that I finally took the step to join the RCIA program. I had a wonderful RCIA journey experience. Each week, I looked forward to the sessions and I loved the friendliness and openness of everyone. The syllabus and content are very well structured and easy to understand – important for people who know little about the faith. One of the most memorable events which brought us closer to God and to each other is during the RCIA retreat. Finally, the highlight of this journey is my baptism on Easter Vigil. Baptism is a significant and profound event that symbolises the start of a new journey of faith. It represents the washing away of sins and the renewal of the individual’s spirit, as I make a public declaration of my commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Receiving my first Holy Communion is a powerful reminder of God’s grace and love for us, and serves as an encouragement to continue walking in faith and pursuing a relationship with Him. A big thank you to the RCIA service team and the community for welcoming me into the family. I highly recommend anyone who is mildly curious about God to join the RCIA program with an open mind and experience it for yourself!”
Alicea Tan, 31
“The journey as a Candidate exposed me to teachings, sacraments and practices of the Catholic Church which severely challenged what I knew through my early non-Catholic Christian formation. However, through explication, the patience of the RCIA service team, my Catholic friends and the workings of the Holy Spirit, I was able to let go of the pride I held concerning my original beliefs. My heart became open to the truth of the matters I had been rejecting. Only then was I able to say YES to God again in the sacrament of Confirmation.”
John Tan Yuh Cherng, 49
“Many Easters passed and it was just another Sunday for me. However, this Easter was very different, I was baptised and given new life.
The RCIA journey has really opened my eyes and mind and no words to express how deeply touched I am. I am thankful for the many people who have made this journey possible for me – my sponsor for putting me on this journey, the RCIA service team for their inspiring mentorship and friendship to all of us, my family for their support, and above all, I thank God for calling and choosing me.
I know that baptism is just the start of my new faith journey and life’s many challenges will continue. But with the love of this Catholic community, I feel confident that my remaining journey will be well supported.”
Annie Lee, 50
“I am so thankful to be baptised and to be a part of this SFX community. This is not a matter of impulse as it took nine months of preparation and hard work by the RCIA service team, sponsors and godparents who committed themselves to walking this journey with us.
The baptism ceremony was magical. Day by day I can see and feel the positive changes happening in my life – especially within my family. It also takes a lot of courage to live by faith. Challenges will come and each time I keep my focus on God and as I surrender my fears to him, the challenges no longer become insurmountable.
The love and peace which I have been experiencing since the start of my RCIA journey has grown stronger and I know that this is the grace given by God. I am blessed to be the chosen one and I continue to thank the Lord for his unconditional and enduring love for all of us.”
Davian Ng Dong An, 34
“Glory to God! It feels like such a privilege to be baptised together with my wife and two kids in such a grand ceremony. I’m also very grateful to our RCIA service team who showed us what discipleship really means – to carry the cross on our backs even if it could crush us any moment, and always giving of themselves unconditionally. I can’t thank all of you enough for guiding me through the darkness in search of light. This is just what Jesus would do for anyone. My sincere gratitude also to the SFX community who have been praying for us. Please continue to pray for us as we will in turn pray for all of you too. Peace be with you! Jesus loves you always!”
Dana Alvina Edea Tan, 32
“We often don’t open our eyes, ears and hearts enough to feel or see how God is showering us with a million blessings. Our heavenly Father knows what is best and has it all planned out for us. I only realised that while thinking of a baptism name, He has already planned a saint’s name for me – Dana. It is also a nickname which my family has been using – 大NA for years. Then when I thought I didn’t know any Catholic friends, He planted a godparent in my life which I can’t explain for the sheer amazing coincidence. The RCIA journey has been rocky and stormy and more than once, we felt like giving up. But I’m glad we persisted and believed that God would work his magic and clear the path for us. It truly was a blessing to have my Catholic family witness our baptism as I feel so welcomed with open hands and hearts. I was spiritually lost but now am found by God.”
Vienna Nerissa Lim, 23
“I contemplated my decision to seek God for a few months before I hastily submitted the RCIY registration form. In those months, there would be days where the urge to know Him was so strong, I’d be googling where is a place to learn. I’d also google about the Bible and read it from Genesis despite not understanding more than half of what it was saying. Out of fear that it’ll upset my non-religious family, I often leave the tabs and stall my decision further. By then, the Lord has placed two very inspiring Christian friends in my life who welcomed my many questions about the faith. The more my questions were answered, the more I felt drawn to choose Jesus as what I needed to pursue. Looking back, in my journal entry on 2 July 2022, I wrote: “Digressing from work, I’m actually really super-duper happy to explore religion for real now. It’s quite bizarre to put those two things together. I’ve never imagined being at where I am now, but now I’m truly journeying to where I feel most right. Heart is fuzzy warm, grateful.” At last, I let my heart be led and started RCIY.
Week after week, month after month, Jesus was gentle and patient to nudge and guide me, and kept reeling me back to His side. RCIY slowly became a grounding space for me. During the RCIY retreats, I was reminded how much I’m loved and how I am not unworthy. He kept waiting for me until I finally said my yes.
I’m so happy to be found in Jesus. To actually live as a disciple of Jesus and not just in what I can imagine is joy. I am finally home.”