'There are no losers in a race towards heaven, there are only runners running at different speeds.' – Fr Jovita Ho'There are no losers in a race towards heaven, there are only runners running at different speeds.' – Fr Jovita HoYoung Catholics from across Singapore got together to worship and enjoy fellowship with one another at a special event organised by the Office for People (OYP).

The fourth Nox Gaudii (Night of Joy), which had the theme Walking with the Saints, attracted about 400 youths to the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre at Lorong Low Koon on Sept 19.

Nox Gaudii aims to stir faith in young people through communal worship, preaching and prayer ministry, and is usually held monthly.

During the recent celebration, participants listened to two young people sharing their pilgrimage experiences.

Ms Gracemary Yap, 23, shared that her trip to South Korea for the Asian Youth Day in August helped her to realise that “we are called to recognise the goodness of God in our lives”.

Mr Shaun Liu, 25, who made a 24-day pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St James, in northwestern Spain, said the journey opened a “window” for him “to encounter God”.

National University of Singapore chaplain, Fr Jovita Ho, drew laughter from the crowd as he shared anecdotes from his childhood and army days to explain how saints are “called to be our spiritual pacers”.Young people joining in during praise and worship during the Nox Gaudii event held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre. Photos: LEONARD KOHYoung people joining in during praise and worship during the Nox Gaudii event held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre. Photos: LEONARD KOH

While in the army, he managed to clock a time of 10:28 minutes for his 2.4 km run, thanks to the encouragement of his platoon commander and the cheering support of his section mates.

Just like cheerleaders, “saints are given to us as companions”, he told the crowd, adding that “there are no losers in a race towards heaven, there are only runners running at different speeds”.

Often, people fail to remember that saints, just like everyone else, experience “human dramas like happiness and sadness”, he said.

Using another analogy, this time the game of police-and-thief he played as a child, Fr Jovita said jokingly that as far as God is concerned, “you can run but you cannot hide” as He will “touch and transform you until you run heavenward”.

The “chief tagger” is Jesus, said Fr Jovita, adding that he now invited the youths “to tag each other” spiritually.

After the talk, the young participants took part in Eucharistic adoration and went for confession.

CatholicNews spoke to a few youths after the event.

Student, Talia Shelley, 19, said she found it “refreshing and burden-lifting.

It was nice that there was confession.”

“It’s a good chance to renew my faith and to get closer to church,” said Ms Agatha Low, 24.

By Lorna O’Hara
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