SINGAPORE – Among the many questions a student about to enter university may have – what subjects to take, which CCA to join, how to register for hall, where to get more money – there is one that may go unnoticed: "Where is God in my life?"
It is to help university students find answers to this question that Catholic Freshman Orientation Camps are organized in National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU).
Each university has a Catholic society with various ministries students can be involved in, including Music, Publications, Spirituality, Retreats, ACTS ministries and Charismatic Prayer Groups. Mass is celebrated as well, with a chaplain for each institution.
A typical freshman camp consists of games, reflection, praise and worship, and Mass. The three universities plan for their camps individually but collaborate on publicity to reach out to as many Catholic freshmen as possible.
"Our aim is to make the Catholic societies in the universities as vibrant as possible. Admittedly, there is a large group of Catholics in universities who don’t know about our activities because our publicity efforts may be limited," said Ann Gomez, member of the Catholic Students’ Apostolate (CSA) team.
Freshmen are encouraged to join in the camps and, subsequently, in ministries to grow spiritually. NUS and NTU camps will be held on campus but the SMU camp will be held at Church of St. Teresa.
NUS Arts and Social Sciences Year Two student Jem Pang, who participated in the camp last year, shared, "I could sense God’s loving and reassuring hand guiding me on into not only a new phase of life in university, but also a deeper relationship with him. Being brought into such a loving and Christ-centred community through FOC has allowed me to grow and cherish my time in university more."
NTU’s Humanities and Social Sciences Year One student, Tiffany Ng said, "The orientation was just the start of a wonderful journey I’ve been travelling on for the past year."
Tracy Ying, a Year Two student from SMU’s School of Economics shared that through the camp she "found a community I can trust, rely on, and grow with".
The NUS camp will take place from Jun 9-13, NTU’s from Jul 22-25 and SMU’s from Aug 10-12.
Catholic freshmen can sign up for these camps at their parishes (outreach efforts will end on Jun 8) or via blog addresses: http://conquer08.blogspot.com/ (NUS), http://www.csafoc-csi.blogspot.com/ (NTU) or http://smufides.wordpress.com/ (SMU). -By Joyce Gan