Yvonne Boon, 37, shares her touching story of suffering, faith and generosity, and how her family celebrates Easter.
I ATTENDED RCIA at Church of St. Mary of the Angels in 1995 and was baptized in 1996. My three children were all baptized after birth in 1997, 2000 and 2003. I have been a sponsor in RCIA at the St. Mary's parish since 2002. In 2006, I took a year's break from RCIA as I was diagnosed with breast cancer and needed three surgeries, four chemotherapy treatments and 18 Herceptin treatments at National Cancer Centre. As of now, I still have seven doses of Herceptin treatments to complete.
Above, Yvonne, a sponsor on the RCIA at St. Mary's parish, says she is thankful to God's love, guidance and strength that helps her family to journey together in faith.
My husband was baptized last Easter and is journeying as a RCIA sponsor now in 2006/2007. Last year, during Holy Week, I was having my chemotherapy and was unable to go to church.
This year, my husband and children and I are trying to put in more effort in our prayer life. We started with Lent - Stations of the Cross on Friday nights at home. As my children are in the afternoon session in both Primary One and Four, they are home only around 7pm, too much of a rush with dinner, bath and travelling, to go to church for Stations of the Cross. We decided to have it at home instead. And as a family, to spend more quiet time in prayer, reflection, and to help others (donation, time, prayers, etc).
As a family, we will be attending Palm Sunday Mass to welcome Jesus, Holy Thursday Mass (The Lord's Supper), morning prayers on Good Friday and Easter Vigil on Saturday. We will share, read and explain to our children stories that led to Jesus nailed on the cross and Jesus risen.
This year, on Good Friday, my mother-in-law wants us to go and pay respect to my father-in-law at Mandai columbarium. It is a Chinese custom of Ching Ming. So after morning prayer in church and baptism rehearsal, we will go to Mandai and then come back to church again for the 5pm Good Friday Service/Stations of the Cross.
The RCIA journey and baptism is like a new life. For many years as sponsors, I have journeyed and seen many baptisms. As baptism is the beginning of their Catholic life, I will share and encourage my friends to move forward and further by joining in church ministry to help and to serve. That way, it helps them renew and strengthen their faith too.
Many times, many of my church friends ask me why I am a sponsor in RCIA. "Shouldn't I spend more time with my family as my children are young and need me?" they ask. I tell them, it is a calling. I pray and discern, and God will give me strength to carry out his work. In fact, this is not only my journey; it is my family's journey too. Many times, the RCIA sessions are held at my house, so my family can listen and journey together too. Most importantly, it is an example for our children, to serve God.
In 2006, I had difficult chemotherapy sessions, and I draw strength from God and also the support from RCIA - sponsors, core-team and Spiritual Director - who always lifted me up in prayer, encouraged me and be with me during my treatments. RCIA is not only a journey for catechumens but also for me as sponsor to walk closer with God. I am glad this year (2007/2008 cycle), I will be serving in this ministry again. I continue to pray and ask God to lead me in sharing this beautiful faith, in touching more people and to use me as his instrument.
My treatment should end by mid-August 2007 if there is no other complication; and I am looking forward to a new RCIA cycle. Now, I am enjoying more of those things I do, no longer just filling my life with work. I still work but I am also spending more time to increase my knowledge and faith. I am attending Bible class on the book of Genesis at the Singapore Pastoral Institute every Tuesday morning and continue teaching catechism in De La Salle Primary School.
Even with cancer, life can still go on, and I continue praying, asking God to lead me to do his work and, in everything I do, bring honour and glory to him.