It was a time of joy and praise as young Catholics of Singapore celebrated Catholic Youth Day.
Organised by the Office for Young People (OYP), the July 2-3 event attracted about 2,000 participants.
The theme, Once No People, Now God’s People, was chosen in hopes of promoting a deeper sense of belonging to one Church as well as to celebrate the Christian life and faith among young people.
Archbishop William Goh celebrated Mass to open the evening event. He reminded participants that as a pilgrim people, they must travel light because they are all on a journey to God. As a sign of solidarity, the congregation, together with Archbishop Goh prayed a blessing upon the pilgrims who will carry the mission and spirit of the Church of Singapore to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland in late July.
Joy and celebration permeated the atmosphere as the young people from various communities led the evening programme, from praise and worship to performances of dance, sign language and the spoken word.
A young couple, Brandon and Samantha Chin, also testified to the Lord’s provident love healing and transforming them.
Other segments in the programme included the Sacrament of Reconciliation and prayer teams formed by young people to minister to those who came forward to share their needs and concerns.
Participants were also invited to stay for an overnight vigil that took place from 10pm-7am.
During the vigil, there were hourly prayers for different intentions led by various university groups and young adult communities.
OYP chaplain Fr Jude David and some participants shared their thoughts about the celebration.
“As a chaplain to the young people ... it was beautiful to see the vibrancy of the young Church of Singapore coming together from different places and communities and celebrating our profound unity as the Church of Singapore,” he said.
“I was also very edified to witness the faith and perseverance of young people praying throughout the night, many who were on their knees and genuinely praying for others.”
Caspian Ng, 16, shared: “When the prayer team was praying over me, I felt great joy overflowing within me and God’s closeness to me.”
Ms Cheryl Lek, 31, shared: “When I went for adoration, and I saw so many people fill the hall that there was barely enough space to walk, it struck me then that there are many young Catholic people here who love Jesus and really have the heart for Him, to spend time with Him and seek His will in their lives.
“I felt a sense of hope, a sense of assurance that I am not alone and more importantly [that] I’m not struggling alone.”
OYP will lead a contingent of 170 pilgrims on July 18 to World Youth Day accompanied by Archbishop William Goh.
For more information about OYP, visit oyp.org.sg or their Facebook page.
By Matthew Ng