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Thirty-eight youths and RCIA candidates from the various language groups of Good Shepherd Church were delighted to complete their sacrament of Christian initiation with the conferring of the Sacrament of Confirmation on May 24. by Archbishop Julian Leow. Coinciding with the Feast of Pentecost, the confirmands
were called to reflect on the apostles who, after praying for nine days (Acts 1:14), “received the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:22).
In his homily, Archbishop Leow spoke about recognising the presence of the divine in each other. He stressed that all peoples (not only Catholics) are made in the image of God. He added that the confirmands can use the challenges they face daily to witness and affirm their faith in Christ. “Welcome the least, forgive always, bring understanding and light to others. Use the gifts of the Holy Spirit you received to live your faith so that others can recognise the Christ in you. Do not force or convert others but diligently share Jesus in everyone you meet. This is a tall order but, are you willing to take the bullet for Christ?” he challenged them.
The Archbishop also urged the congregation to pray for, and support, the confirmands. “As children of God, let us show others the example of Jesus, who laid down His life for others. Let us forgive, radiate the peace and joy of Christ to all and be credible witnesses of our faith to others.
In preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation, the confirmands went through a structured programme for more than a year in their quest to be prepared. This included weekly Sunday lessons, retreats, camps and other outreach activities. The last camp before the sacrament was aimed to spruce up the youths and was themed Confirm, Connect, Commission. The camp was held on May 9 and started off with them reflecting on their Relationship with Jesus and Mary. This was followed by a session on Who are you following? Christ or the Crowd, where the focus was on teen issues and peer pressure.
After an inspiring Praise and Worship session, the youths were engaged in a session themed, God & I. Next, they were reminded of the Fruits & Gifts of the Holy Spirit. They were encouraged to pray for the one gift they could relate to the most and use for their spiritual growth. The day ended with journal reflections and closing prayer.
Here are some testimonies affirming how the Holy Spirit instructs and counsels these young minds in everything they do, guiding them to the Truth:
“I felt at ease and excited during my weekly classes and camps that I attended at the Good Shepherd Church. I am very blessed to be confirmed and sealed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. I hope this experience will make me a better person and a firm Catholic. The journey continues for me as I learn daily about my faith,” said Jeremy Nathan.
“I thank the teachers for guiding my son on his spiritual journey. The Holy Spirit has awakened his faith as he is now beginning to see the fruits of leading a Catholic life. I observe that he has grown in his faith over the last two months as he finally believes in the greatness of prayers. He is now very motivated in his studies too, as he sees improvement when he continues to pray and seek God’s guidance. He now attends Masses and catechism classes more willingly. He is very thankful because recently, he was spared a motorbike accident which involved his friends. He is amazed by how God works in different ways to send His message across and protect him always, as he surrenders his life to Jesus,” said a grateful mom whose son received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
As part of the parish’s continuous effort to journey with the confirmands, a follow-up stay-in camp will be held June 13-14. Weekly catechism will also be conducted until September 2015.
Parish Priest, Fr V.A. Michael thanked the youths for their dedication and commitment towards the growth of the parish and urged them to have a personal relationship with Jesus in their journey of Christian life. Their parents and god-parents should continue to play an active role in guiding them as they face the challenges of the world. He also thanked all the teachers who were instrumental in the spiritual growth of these youths