Left, the 16 Singapore delegates in traditional costumes at the closing ceremony on Aug 4.
A Singapore Archdiocesan Youth Ministry delegation of 16 youths, accompanied by youth chaplain Father Frederick Quek, attended the Asian Youth Day in Hong Kong. Here is a sharing from Samantha Ng, one of the participants:
IT ALL STARTED with a phone call one night from my godsister, "Sam! Wanna go to Hong Kong?" A simple "Yes" was all it took and I found myself being one of the 750 delegates of the Fourth Asian Youth Day. Little did I know that my parish priest would be sponsoring the both of us! So it was an extra bonus indeed.
Some may call it coincidence, but I see it as God's will, that I was chosen to play guest to a family of three which resembles my very own. The immense love and care that the Wongs had for 11-year-old Gaby reminded me of how my parents brought me up when I was younger.
As if time was rewinding itself and there I was, being pampered and showered with affection by my parents. This made me realize how thankful I am to God for my mom and dad and to be more appreciative, not taking them for granted. Each day was filled with activities but the following incident struck me the most.
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One morning, I attended a workshop titled "Begin with Dignity" and what amazed me was how dignity itself is a sacred gift from God to us. No one can take this dignity away from us and it stays with us for eternity. What's important is how we portray this God-given gift towards others.
We were given a Bible passage to read and to pick out a phrase which stood out to us the most. What I felt next was indescribable as the phrase "God did not give us a sense of timidity" stood out before my eyes and I kept repeating the phrase in my mind, trying to discern what it meant for me. That same evening, as I went for the sacrament of reconciliation, a priest told me after my confession, as I was about to leave, "My dear girl, you need to have courage."
This brought tears to my eyes as it was truly so significant. Significant because I was asking myself the entire day why that phrase struck me so much and I received the answer - to have courage to love, to forgive and to carry the daily crosses in my life.
It has been an enriching experience for me, meeting youths from all over Asia! Despite our different languages and cultures, we share one thing in common - our Catholic faith. This constant overrules all other variants and I've experienced faith, hope and love through this Asian Youth Day. Three simple words which mean so much more to me now.
Above right, Samantha Ng shares a cheerful moment with fellow AYD participants. Photos by CAYC