A group prepares to receive and interact with a person playing the role of a ‘non-Catholic’ during the archdiocesan NCC Day.A group prepares to receive and interact with a person playing the role of a ‘non-Catholic’ during the archdiocesan NCC Day.Neighbourhood Christian Communities learn about evangelisation at workshop

It was a Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCC) Day with a difference.

On Oct 13 afternoon, 200 Catholics from NCCs across the archdiocese came together for their annual NCC Day, held in Catholic Junior College.

The theme this year was Go You Are Sent Forth.

But this time, there was a special role-play exercise in small groups, an activity not done before.

For this, people acting as “non-Catholics” were introduced to the groups, and the groups then had to “evangelise” them.

The purpose was to introduce participants to the different kinds of people they could meet and to see how NCC members could share Christ with them.

A discussion was then held after the role-play and group facilitators shared their observations of various groups’ strengths and weaknesses.

It was observed that the various communities interacted with the “non-Catholic” according to the three stages of evangelisation: befriending, sharing of life stories and sharing Christ’s story, in varying degrees and orders.

It was noted that some communities tended to stick to befriending the “non-Catholic” and did so very well by “inviting” the person to meals, gatherings and other activities.

It was also observed that some participants, possibly not wanting to appear to impose their faith on the “non-Catholic”, steered clear of referring to the person of Jesus although their listener showed an openness to learning more about the faith.

Participants realised they needed to do more to share their life stories and Christ’s story in a way that is meaningful for others.

“We are a makan people” was how Vicar General Msgr Eugene Vaz put it in summarising the feedback.

Jesus, too, ate with different people, particularly those who were considered outcasts in society, and this was His way of reaching out, said Msgr Vaz.

He noted that this is where the work of evangelisation could begin.

Participants said the workshop gave them much food for thought.

It helped NCC members “take a look at themselves and how they are promoting the NCCs,” said Mr Eddie Low from the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea.

Sr Geraldine Ee, from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, said she found the group work and role-play “good”.

However, she felt the day’s programme could have been longer to give more time for deliberation.

Archbishop Nicholas Chia, in his opening address, encouraged participants during the Year of Faith to discover the person of Christ, and to study the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In his homily during Mass, catechetical director Fr Erbin Fernandez affirmed the communities of the good work that they were doing.

The NCC Day is organised by the Singapore Pastoral Institute.

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