More than 100 children from the Malayalam Catholic community participated in a one-day Bible-based programme for kids aged three to those in their teens.
The Children’s Ministry of the Malayalam Charismatic Group (MCG), Singapore, held the BibleFest 2012 at Assumption English School on June 23.
Fr Dominic Savio, MCG spiritual director and chaplain to the Malayalam Catholic community, launched the programme with the lighting of a traditional oil lamp, symbolising Christ’s presence.
According to organisers, the event – which included psalm recitals, as well as story-telling, speeches and a quiz and debate on biblical themes – was to help the children use their talents to glorify God.
Participants were divided into several age groups – three to six, seven to nine, 10 to 12, and teens.
The event saw 19 children aged two to five recite various Bible verses by heart.
Other participants spoke on the topic, Jesus and Little Children. Seven-year-old Noel Jomon, who won this competition, told his audience that Jesus welcomes all children no matter what their colour, race or background is. Children are precious and each one of us is called to be childlike, he said.
Participants of the Bible quiz, based on the Gospel of John, did well despite the tough questions, according to the judges.
Clara Tomy and Reuben Joshy, who won the quiz, noted that questions such as “which book of the Bible contains the prophecy that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem?” and “which verse corresponds to John 6:48?” were challenging.
Ann Jennings, 18, won the top prize in the essay-writing contest for teens, which had the topic Evangelisation in the Modern World.
She pointed out that evangelisation does not necessarily mean preaching on a large scale. Faith sharing should start with one’s family and then broaden out to friends and the wider society, she wrote.
One highlight of the event was a debate for teens on the topic, Social Networking And Media Do More Harm Than Good. The teams had an hour to prepare.
The proposition emphasised the harmful effects of media on the morals of youth while the opposition argued that media and networking could be used as channels of evangelisation.
Fifteen-year-old Deepu Jose won the best speaker award.
The day’s programme closed with some 30 children putting on a music and drama performance depicting scenes from the life of Jesus.
Participants said they found the event inspiring.
Anjali George, 17, said she looked forward to more of such events, while Sneha Susan Thomas aged five, and Carol Geemon and Liana Martin both aged four, said they enjoyed the day, especially the action songs.
Mr Jaison Joseph, coordinator of BibleFest 2012, said that there will be more such spiritual programmes for children in the near future.
The MCG Children’s Ministry organises activities such as retreats, prayer gatherings, Lenten recollections and First Holy Communion preparation. n
By Asha Bijay and Mary Geemon