“I am so happy!” exclaimed 73-year-old Maria Chan after she received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist at the Church of the Holy Family.
Ms Chan was one of 11 people, mostly above 40 years old, who received the sacraments on Aug 10, thanks to veteran catechist Andrew Goh.
Two young boys received the Sacrament of Baptism while two teenagers received the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist.
Fr Damian De Wind presided over the ceremony, attended by about 60 family members and friends of those to be baptised.
Ms Chan’s brother, Joseph, told CatholicNews, said he was grateful to Mr Goh for helping his sister become a Catholic.
“Thanks to Andrew, she’s finally gotten baptised,” he said, speaking through his tears.
Another new Catholic, Mr Derrick Wong, 65, also commended Mr Goh for his work, adding that Mr Goh had given him scripture verses to learn, which he pasted “on the fridge”.
Mr Goh’s personal ministry is unique. The 77-year-old has been conducting catechism lessons in dialect for the elderly since 1993.
According to him, he has taught a total of more than 1,200 elderly people and prepared them for baptism.
Scooting around on his motorcycle, he gives one-on-one lessons in homes, coffee shops and void decks, and also weekly classes at Novena Church and Holy Family parish.
The lessons in the two churches are conducted in English and dialect. With about at least 40 people attending each session, the numbers continue to grow, he said. This year alone, he has helped 60 elderly people get baptised, he said.
People usually learn about Mr Goh’s classes through word of mouth.
“Even those who have gotten baptised still come back for my lessons” said Mr Goh.
Does he find his personal ministry a big challenge?
“Not really”, was his reply. “I love the Lord so much so he helps me.”
Mr Goh uses various visual aids to share the Good News with the elderly.
These include coloured pictures, mustard seeds, salt, bread, grapes, a rope and a crucifix.
Does Mr Goh have anyone to take over this special ministry from him after he “retires”?
“I don’t have anyone to take over me,” he acknowledged. “You must have the calling, if not then no point. I hope people who want to be catechists can come [to learn]. I can also teach them dialects. It’s so simple.”
For more information on Mr Goh’s ministry, contact him at 9115-5673.
By Lorna O’Hara
Catechism classes for the Elderly @ St Joseph's Church, Victoria Street
Catechism classes for the Elderly @ Novena Church
Catechism classes for the Elderly @ Holy Family Church