WendyWee.jpgWendy Wee was baptised at the Church of the Holy Cross in 2002 when she was 22. Although her journey was not smooth sailing, she made it through baptism and understands better today what faith means.

Wendy (far left in photo) is happily serving with her fellow lectors here at the Church of the Holy Cross today.

I HAD ACTUALLY planned when I was younger, that I would reflect sincerely about religion in the later part of my life, probably when I am in my late 30s or 40s. I knew I would end up being Christian one day but I only intended to be one when my parents have passed on - that's because they are staunch believers of both Buddhism and Taoism, especially my father.

Things changed when I was with my then-boyfriend who was a Catholic. He invited me to attend Mass with him one day in 2000. I was hesitant as I thought to myself that I had more important things to do, having to complete one of my six school projects then! When he said that it would only take one hour of my life, off I went and the first Catholic church I went to, the nearest one from where I live, was the church I was to be baptised in. I never thought that one hour would one day become a staple for the rest of my life!

He brought me to church again the following week and so I followed him dutifully for Mass for about a year, at different churches. The thought of joining RCIA came about during these times. I had been tagging along for Mass, knowing the moves everybody makes, when to stand, kneel, sit and sing, hold hands and even knowing what to say or when to respond to the priest.

But why does nobody clap in appreciation after a priest gives a homily? And why is it called a homily and not a sermon? I had so many questions in my head that I used to whisper them to my boyfriend during mass. He will shush me or say he will tell me later or that he doesn't know.

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In the last quarter of 2001, I finally decided to make that step to join the RCIA at the Church of the Holy Cross. The RCIA Ministry in my parish then seemed pretty messy to me because there were different priests and deacons (Fathers John Bosco, Stephen Yim, Ambrose Vaz, then-Deacon Ignatius Yeo and then-Brother Damien de Wind) who conducted different lessons each week. Each has their own style which takes getting used to. Sometimes, you get a variety of answers when the same questions are asked of different priests… it could be a good thing also as we got to know more during the process.

I never liked the sharing part of the session, always opting to be the last to speak so that the presenter will call it a night when everyone else had done talking and it was to be my turn. But I realised it is only by sharing you will learn from others and be more accepting of their shortcomings and, likewise, they with yours.

My journey was not smooth sailing. It was the encouragement of my boyfriend then and his mother (my godmother) who spurred me on. There were plenty of inner emotional struggles and most importantly, without God's guidance and plenty of prayers, I honestly wouldn't have lasted through the whole RCIA process.

Baptism was probably one of the happiest days of my life. I couldn't really sleep the night before knowing that going through baptism is akin to being born again - a start of a new life, a new me as a Catholic. I was smiling from ear to ear that day and somehow managed to keep that up till the next day. I felt as though I glided through the whole day. Everything seemed lighter and I walked with a bounce in my step.

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I became a Sunday Catholic

However, I became a "Sunday Catholic" for about a year after my Confirmation. My godmother who is with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at St. Anne's Church, is my role model for being the devout Catholic she is and she suggested that I become a lector.

At that point in my life, I was on a spiritual decline. So I thought that maybe joining some church activity will help renew that enthusiasm for wanting to learn more about my faith instead of just dragging myself to Mass every Sunday and be lost in my own thoughts.

I think the influence of the community plays a part in how zealous a Catholic you are. I went downhill spiritually because I didn't know other Catholics and started to lose focus on why we need to go for Mass.

My boyfriend then was the usual Sunday Catholic and in his family; only his mother was involved in a ministry. The people I used to see every week during RCIA disappeared once the baptism was over. So I was not all that passionate in going to church after that. I started to think about why I go through RCIA and finally baptism…

I realised that for me, to believe that the universe was created by a firm, benign Creator is one thing but to believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed and all for the love of us - a love we don't even have to earn! - defies reason.

Living out the Catholic life was, is and will always be a challenge for me. Joining a ministry has certainly helped as I have now made a few firm friends with not only the people from the lector's ministry but those involved in other ministries too. I feel a sense of belonging to a spiritual community. Although I had always found God everywhere, all these certainly helped in forming a deeper awareness that God is found more particularly in the church and in the church community. I am thankful to learn and discover something about my faith everyday and I wish I had more time to do more.

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