(Above) Youths give praise to God as a community. (Below) Youths listen to Father Luke Fong’s rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Photos by Alvin Rodrigues
SINGAPORE – Over 700 youths, mostly 15-year-olds, from the Serangoon district gathered at CHIJ Toa Payoh Secondary School hall on Sep 22 to celebrate a message of hope in a youthful and vibrant way at the Serangoon District Youth Rally (SDYD’09).
Parishes that make up Serangoon district include St. Francis Xavier, St. Vincent de Paul, Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Anne.
The rally was part of the Serangoon District Youth Day 09 programme, that also included a catechetical parish segment for the confirmands from the various parishes.
The afternoon’s catechetical parish programme helped confirmands reflect on their lives and to focus their hopes on God when they are in difficult moments.
The parish segment took confirmands out of their routine lessons through the experience of learning through an activity-based and interactive programme. They learned about positive attitudes and choices made by others through their own difficulties and applied them in their own lives.
“I believe learning lessons about God’s love for us, and how we deal with difficult situations in our lives, was learnt best through the experiences of others, and this I felt was the biggest take-away for the confirmands,” said Nicholas Lye, a 28-year-old catechist from IHM.
Later, the youths made a “pilgrimage” to CHIJ Toa Payoh Secondary School for the evening’s rally. The rally kicked off at 6.00pm with the opening prayer by Father Luke Fong, youth chaplain for Serangoon District parishes. He shared with those present how God was always there for us through the lyrics of the song he sang “You Never Walk Alone”.
“The song he sang was so meaningful to me as I learnt that even in bad times God is by my side,” said Mabelline Tan.
The rally came alive with praise and worship led by a combined band of musicians from the different parishes. A drama performance comprising youths and helpers from the different parishes helped the youth present to realise the importance of choosing God, and discerning right from wrong.
Besides the singing and laughter, God’s message of hope was shared to the youth through a sharing by the keynote speaker, Dr Sherman Quek from Malaysia, and a testimony of God’s love by Kimberly Tng, a youth from the parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“It was something I could relate to as she was around my age and it was her own life experiences,” said Nicea Ng.
As the night proceeded, the mood quietened and an atmosphere of reverence filled the hall. Over 700 youths knelt down in worship as archdiocesan youth chaplain Father Brian D’Souza brought in the Blessed Sacrament for adoration. The exposition of the Blessed Sacrament allowed some youths to experience God’s gentle peace and calmness.
The process of planning and carrying out the youth day began in January this year. The preparation process had fulfilled a secondary goal of developing better bonds between the youths of the district.
“It was an exciting experience being part of the cast and crew of the rally as I got to know more youths in the district. It was great to know that there are so many youths helping out in the same Spirit of God,” said Joshua Chia, an actor in the drama performance.
Through the feedback given by confirmands and catechists, it was clear that God’s hand had been at work in SDYD’09.
By Pereira Erica Stella and Paul Chua