Young adults gain insights on the topic at a workshop

Fr David Garcia
Dominican Friar David Garcia speaking to participants at The Spirituality of Work event held on May 27.

By Pius Lee and Celeste Wee

How can Catholic Social Teaching (CST) be lived out in the workplace?

This is what more that 80 young adults between the ages of 21 and 35 sought to learn at a workshop titled The Spirituality of Work.

The workshop, held on May 27, was part of the annual Building The Kingdom series, which began in 2015 as a means for young adults to learn how they can apply CST to their daily lives.

It was organised by the Caritas Singapore Young Adults Committee.

During the workshop, Dominican Friar David Garcia shared how CST can help bridge the division between faith and secular life.

He addressed questions about the purpose of human work in the divine plan: Is work a blessing from God given to people from the beginning, or is it a curse? Why does work feel so burdensome? How do seemingly meaningless tasks – replying e-mails, coping with office politics – contribute towards building the Kingdom of God? How do we make sense of the unpleasant aspects of work, the “toil”, and unite this toil with the cross of Christ?

He then elaborated on the different dimensions of work, not just as a means to contribute to the common good, but also as an action that transforms the working individual and improves personal relationships.

In addition, he shared with participants how work fulfils their spiritual needs and allows them to live out the divine call to be prophets and priests.

Fr Garcia also highlighted the nature of rest as a duty, to prevent the idolatry of work and enable further self-development.

Participants then broke up into groups to share and discuss how they could bring their Catholic faith into their working

One participant, Ms Clare Yong, shared, “I like how Father debunked our misconception that work and spirituality exist in different spheres, but are in fact one.

“I thought that the question he posed to us: ‘Does your work improve (1) yourself, (2) others, and (3) the world?’ can help me infuse meaning into my work, rather than find it in my work.”

Ms Joyce Tan, 27, said, “One input that was affirming is that we are part of God’s work in the unfolding of creation. I can now see the work that I do as meaningful, and also other people’s work, regardless of the monetary value attached.”