Children from the Mandarin-speaking Catholic community took part in games and prayer activities during a June 8-10 camp.Children from the Mandarin-speaking Catholic community took part in games and prayer activities during a June 8-10 camp.Mandarin-speaking children who took part in a Church-run camp recently said it has helped them to form friendships and deepen their faith life.

Ten-year-old Christina Tan said she learnt that every person is a “gift from God”, and if one has not treated one’s friends well, one should start treating them better.

Tan, who is from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, said one camp activity which saw participants led in a blindfolded walk around outdoor Stations of the Cross, helped her to experience what Jesus must have felt during His Passion.

Tan was one of 35 children from 11 parishes, from Primary Two to Six, who attended the June 8-10 camp.

The annual camp, to help children in the Mandarin-speaking community deepen their knowledge of God and bond with other children, was organised by the Commission for Apostolate of Mandarin-speaking in Singapore.

It was held on the premises of the Nativity Church and had the theme, Gift of Love.

Jonathan Cher, 15, a camp organiser, said the camp aimed to instil in participants the importance of community and help them take up leadership positions within the Mandarin-speaking Catholic community.

His co-organiser, Goh Yan Tong, 16, noted that as the Mandarin-speaking community is rather small, the camp was also to help connect the children from across the parishes.

Activities included talks by Deacon Joseph Zhang on God’s gifts of love such as Jesus, life, people, the family and nature.

Participants took part in morning exercises, prayer sessions and group games. They also went on a special prayer walk in which they were led blindfolded around the church’s outdoor Stations of the Cross one night.

Participants said they learnt much from the camp activities.

Eleven-year-old Felicia Chai from Nativity Church said she now understands better that every person is a special creation of God despite his or her imperfections.

Eight-year-old Luke Pavril from the Church of St Bernadette said he enjoyed playing and praying together with the other camp participants.

A one-day camp for pre-schoolers was also held on June 9. It attracted 13 participants.

A camp for Mandarin-speaking teenagers has been scheduled for the end of the year.

By Darren Boon
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