Archbishop William Goh taking a wefie with participants of the Combined University Retreat. Photos: AMANDA HOO

“O Come let us adore Him.” That was the theme for this year’s Combined University Retreat (CUR), and 250 young people gathered to do just that from Dec 16-19.

Organised by the Office for Young People (OYP) and held within its compound at Lorong Low Koon, the Advent-themed retreat aimed to bring university students together for a deep encounter with the Lord, to experience the joy of community, and to encourage each other in pursuing a life dedicated to Jesus.

This is the third year that OYP is running the CUR. Most of the service team members were university students who had previously attended CUR and chose to return this year to serve in various areas such as facilitation, intercession, hospitality and logistics.

Students also coordinated an almsgiving project. Participants, service team members and OYP communities collectively donated 200 bags of essentials to the Society of St Vincent de Paul of Nativity Church for the poor in the neighbourhood around OYP.

Besides students from eight universities in Singapore (NUS, NTU, SMU, SUTD, SIM, Yale-NUS, JCU, SIT), Singaporean students studying abroad in seven different universities, such as in Australia and Ireland, attended the retreat as well.

Participants attended talks by OYP chaplains Fr Jude David and Fr Brian D’Souza, Fr Jovita Ho, and staff and members of young adult communities in OYP.

Retreatants deep in prayer.

The talks were based on Advent and Christmas readings and helped participants to prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ, by inviting them to consider the “crowded inns”, the “Herods” in their lives and to choose to surrender their lives to the Christ Child.

During the retreat, there were prayer ministry, daily Masses and confession.

On the third night, participants were challenged to share their personal faith stories and testimonies over dinner. This was followed by lively music, performances and games to allow retreatants to experience the joy of community.

Archbishop William Goh presided over the closing Mass on the fourth day. He challenged the young people to focus their energy and passion on the Lord and also encouraged them not to be afraid to discern their vocations.

Participants praying for one another during the retreat.

Josephine Denise Dumont, a second-year university student in Australia, said she found the retreat healing. “Studying overseas, I experienced a period of spiritual dryness after being away from my parish and community,” she said. “CUR has allowed me to surrender my struggles to God and to find Him again and experience healing and love.”

Leonie Nahhas, an Australian student doing a one-year exchange programme in NTU, shared: “This CUR experience has affirmed just how universal our faith is. That is, how our faith is inclusive and transcends cultural boundaries.”

Calvin Ying, who attended last year’s CUR, said, “Serving in CUR this year was a blessed experience as I witnessed the conversion of many hearts, something that affirmed my belief that young people should not be underestimated, but we too have a tremendous capacity and desire to love and serve the Lord.”

If you are a university student and wish to be connected to your campus Catholic community, write to OYP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., like its Facebook page or follow it on Instagram:

By Oswin Yeo

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