SINGAPORE - The mission was to reach out to the poor and underprivileged. Armed with this missionary zeal, 60 participants, including Redemptorist seminarians and youth coordinators, spearheaded by Redemptorist Father Simon Pereira, spent nine days last December in Pattaya working with the Father Ray Foundation.

02.jpg These 60 participants (above), of different ages and from different parishes, including Redemptorist seminarians and youth coordinators, made up the largest mission group at the Father Ray Foundation in Pattaya, where they spent nine days on mission work.

There, the participants from different parishes and of different age groups found themselves taking several metaphorical journeys - a journey of self-discovery, a journey of social awareness and a spiritual journey. The Father Ray Foundation is the canopy which houses an orphanage, a home for street kids, and schools for the blind, deaf and the disabled.

Before leaving Singapore, group members were apprehensive as to how to communicate and reach out to the children. Father Simon Pereira assured them that language would not be a barrier.

He stressed that they should resort to the universal language of love. And indeed, that was how they communicated, and that was how the children responded. Nine days were too short to make permanent changes in the centre but long enough to make an impact on the Singaporean visitors.

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03.jpgRight, part of the work includes visiting children from various homes and letting them experience love and care.

The experience of playing with, loving, caring and carrying young and disabled children (the first time, for many of the visitors) touched each one of them, and prompted them to evaluate their relationship with God, family and society.

This process was helped by the spiritual input that was scheduled into each day's activity - attending Mass and reflection on the day's actions, thoughts and emotions.

The seeds that were sown in Pattaya are bearing fruits in Singapore as the young missionaries share the message of Pattaya in their own way among their friends and youth groups.

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