Parishes use various means to help neophytes feel part of community
Various parishes are working to keep neophytes – the newly baptised – engaged in Church and community life through small communities and other ministries.
At the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, neophytes, their godparents, sponsors and catechists have met in small groups in homes for Mystagogy, the post-baptismal catechesis period which is the final stage of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process.
There are seven groups of varying sizes.
The parish’s RCIA team wanted a break from the classroom setting in church.
Since Mystagogy is a period for neophytes to deepen their faith, the team felt it would be better for neophytes to be in a small-group setting which is more conducive to personal sharing, said Mr Xavier Woon, a catechist.
Neophytes told CatholicNews they find it easier to bond, share and learn from one another in such a setting.
“It’s a more informal environment … it’s more personal … you can share about stuff that is closer to your heart … it’s more comfortable in a way,” said Ms Alicia Teo.
“Especially since our faith is new … it’s very important to have a community to hold us together, otherwise it’s very easy to drift away and be a Sunday Catholic,” she added.
“It feels like a family,” said another neophyte, Mr Gabriel Png. “You look forward to come to listen to each other and share.”
He said the group intends to continue meeting, once a month, because “there are a lot of things to share in the Gospel”.
Future sessions may involve their families and include birthday celebrations.
Mr Mark Chan, one of the group’s facilitators, said the challenge for the group is “to come up with more imaginative ways and means” of spiritual input.
At Church of St Mary of the Angels, some of the catechumens introduced to the parish’s Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCCs) during their RCIA journey have continued attending community meetings after baptism.
One of them, Mr Fachmin Folianto, said he finds belonging to an NCC helpful for his spiritual growth. It also allows him to get to know more parishioners.
“Through the NCC we … share our experiences” as well as read the Bible, Mr Folianto said.
The parish also encourages neophytes to join NCCs.
Ms Stephanie Chua, an RCIA coordinator from Novena Church, said its catechumens have been exposed to various services and ministries during their RCIA journey.
While some join ministries in Novena Church after baptism, neophytes are also encouraged to join ministries in their home parishes, she added.
There is also a gathering about three months after neophytes’ baptisms to “touch base” with them, said Ms Chua.
Neophytes at the Church of the Holy Family are made aware of the NCCs in the parish, Ms Ursula Quah, a catechist there, told CatholicNews.
During the Easter season, they attend Masses with their sponsors while wearing their baptismal robes, she said.
By Darren Boon