Oh Wanderer, Come Home
Ms Angeline Ho (second from left, middle row) with friends from her young adult community, Tent of Meeting, who were the ones who urged her to attend Treasure.
“God’s love endures, is forever faithful and is truly present even in the times we unknowingly walk away from Him,” shares Ms Angeline Ho, one of 71 participants at the Treasure Young Adults Encounter Retreat organised by the Office for Young People (OYP) in February this year.
Typically organised twice a year, these retreats are intended to help young working adults rekindle their faith and discover a personal relationship with Christ.
Before attending the retreat, the 28-year-old travelled extensively and worked long hours at a public relations agency to sustain her globetrotting lifestyle. “I’ve always considered myself to be a wanderer in life and was rather proud of it,” Ms Ho admits.
However, she realised that this lifestyle had unwittingly led her to feeling lost.
“I was going through life without any real purpose, working day to day and finding comfort in my travels as an excuse to inject some sort of meaning in my life,” she said.
By God’s promptings through her friends, Ms Ho decided to attend Treasure.
On the first night, she was struck by the words “oh wanderer, come home”, which were flashed on a screen during a time of prayer.
“It felt like it was a personal invitation from God gently calling me to come back to Him, to stop claiming my identity as a wanderer and to claim my identity as His beloved one,” she said.
Today, Ms Ho believes that “God is my life’s greatest treasure”, and encourages other young adults like her to “have hope! Because God is forever faithful and is always ready for you to come home.”
The Office for Young People (OYP) is one of several organisations in the archdiocese which seek to help Catholics in Singapore rekindle their faith. For OYP, the focus is on young people aged between 16 and 35 years old.
The Head and Heart of a Catechist
Mr Gerard Ang (extreme left) with his catechumens.
At first glance, one might not expect that the Basic Catechist Certification (BCC) course offered by the Office for Catechesis (OFC) would benefit a catechist of eight years.
But Mr Gerard Ang, who catechises to 10-year-olds at the Church of the Holy Family, has found that “the programme imparted to me not just theological knowledge, but has also provided me with spiritual formation, addressing questions of who I am as a catechist, what I catechise, and how I catechise.”
Mr Ang first learnt about the BCC programme in 2013, and attended it out of curiosity. But he shares, “What made me stay and complete all the modules is having seen the positive impact it has made on my role as a catechist.”
After applying what he learned from the course, Mr Ang noticed that the tone of each catechetical session became more peaceful and prayerful.
“I can see that a majority of the children are now much more engaged, and more eager in their participation and responses,” he said.
Mr Ang shares that he now better understands the role of a catechist is less that of a teacher delivering theoretical content, but more of “a steward, acting as God’s instrument to help every child encounter the real person of Jesus.”
Today, he continues to attend the BCC modules to refresh himself. He says, “I truly hope all catechists in the archdiocese can make time to attend OFC’s BCC programme, so that we are better equipped to lead the children entrusted to us to a personal relationship with God, our Father”.
OFC supports the faith formation of children, youth and adult catechumens in parishes and is one of the organisations in the archdiocese that offer programmes for Catholics to constantly renew their knowledge of the faith.
Ministry through Community
Ms Lynie Porras Silao (middle in white) conducting a baking class at ACMI.
As part of the archdiocese’s vision to revitalise the Church’s outreach, the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI), a Caritas Singapore partner, expanded from a service-focused to community-focused ministry.
ACMI has, for years, provided Skills Development Programmes for migrant workers, regardless of race, language or religion. In recent years, the team found new ways to use this as a means to also build a spirit of community.
Ms Lynie Porras Silao is a domestic helper in Singapore who benefitted from one of ACMI’s Skills Development Programmes.
She arrived in Singapore some 15 years ago, and was blessed to work with wonderful employers and their children. She recalled, “I was excited, but didn’t know what to expect either. Like many Filipinos, when you are scared, the first place you go to is the Church.
“I saw the baking course in the ACMI website. I went for it and found that I liked baking. And when I baked, the children really liked it, and that made me feel more confident,” she said.
After completing her course, Ms Lynie continued to volunteer her time with ACMI, and is now a trainer in ACMI’s programmes.
“It makes me happy to see how other people are benefiting from the course. Whatever I have learnt from ACMI, I can now share, and I love to share,” she relates.
Besides ACMI, there are 25 other Catholic charities affiliated with Caritas Singapore.