A group of young Catholics visited the Central Sikh Temple at 2 Towner Road on Sept 6, following various interreligious dialogue learning trips that have been held recently.
Prior to the trip, the group attended an orientation and formation session to learn how to engage with their hosts.
The participants donned suitable headgear as a mark of respect to the religion before entering the premises.
Mr Rishpal Singh, manager of the Central Sikh Gurdwara Board, then gave an introduction on the various aspects of Sikhism such as its roots, way of life, presence in Singapore, protocol, ceremonies, celebrations and symbols.
Mr Karpal Singh Mehli, president of the Central Sikh Gurdwara Board, facilitated the dialogue session.
Participants posed various questions, such as “what is the goal of Sikhism” and “when you pray, is God someone far or distant from you or someone who accompanies you through life?”
The Central Sikh Temple’s high priest, Giani Patwant Singh, and Sikhi instructor, Mr S Kuldeep Singh, also helped to answer the visitors’ questions.
When Ms Daphne Chui, 26 from the Church of St Ignatius, asked, “Why do Sikhs not cut their hair?” Mr Kuldeep Singh responded that God gave people hair and beard, “so we keep it.”
One of the biggest takeaways for Ms Chui from the visit was “how welcoming [the Sikhs] were to us, people of another religion and belief”.
Mr Keith Neubronner, 24, also from the Church of St Ignatius, said he “particularly enjoyed the brief presentation on Sikhism”.
“The speaker was very quick to admit that he did not know all the things about his faith, and that humility and disposition of being poor in spirit spoke to my heart,” he said.
“So often I find myself having to seem like I know all the answers when hosting people in similar situations, so I was in admiration of that.”
This series of interreligious visits is organised by the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue (archCCID).