Seventy-eight young people from various parishes came together for the first Combined Polytechnic Catholic Camp organised by the Office for Young People (OYP).
Previously organised by the Combined Polytechnic Catholic Students (CPCS), this was the first time that the students were collaborating with OYP to run the camp, also known as SHINE.
“After running away from God for a long time, SHINE has helped me to remember who I am: a child of God. And God loves me the same, no matter what I do or have done,” said Paul Young, 16, a freshman at Temasek Polytechnic.
Many others said they felt “empowered”, “renewed” and “assured” through their experience at the camp, held at the OYP premises at Lorong Low Koon.
The camp was open to Catholic youths who are entering or are now in polytechnic. It aimed to serve as a starting point for them to form a community and to empower them spiritually in their student life in the various polytechnics.
The sessions were given by the OYP staff and chaplains on topics such as who God is, being a child of God and living out this identity, and belonging to a Christian community.
Praying-over sessions, Mass, personal reflection time and cell-group sharing were also included.
“It took a really long time to allow myself to open my heart up to God but I still did it in my end, so I am very happy,” said Paula-Teresa Chua, 17, who will be entering Singapore Polytechnic in April.
The 60-strong service team for the camp came from the various polytechnic, the communities under OYP and young people who have been through OYP’s programmes.
Fr Brian D’Souza from OYP is the new chaplain for the polytechnics.
Ms Wynee Tay, who is helping Fr Brian to reaching out to the polytechnics, said that OYP is working “to build communion among Catholic students in their own campus as well as across the five polytechnics”.
The next combined polytechnic event will be the commissioning of the new student leaders of the polytechnic Catholic communities on April 27. Sign up at http://tinyurl.com/polymass2016 if you wish to attend.
By Sarah Rachel Teo