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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Neophytes' Testimonies

Why do I want to become a Catholic? Before joining RCIA I used to have dreams which I cannot explain. For the past 20 years, I always had dreams about going to church, being inside the church, being blessed by a Priest. It makes me wonder why I keep having this dreams and start asking myself "Who is Jesus"? What is Christianity all about? 
I felt the urge to go to church to find the answers. On the first day I attended mass, I met Uncle James. He was sitting in front of me. He greeted me and asked why I didn’t go to receive the Holy Communion. After explaining to him, he advised me to join RCIA. It was when my journey started.
On my first day attending the RCIA class, the Facilitators asked me “Why are you here”? It’s difficult for me to answer the question because I’m sure my Facilitators will not believe me when I tell them about my dreams. However, I was surprised that they do believe that God is trying to reach me through my dreams. Sister Sue was very helpful. She guided me from day one and that is when I bought my first Holy Bible.
My journey was not that easy. I tried giving up twice due to personal reasons. But, Sis Sue and Uncle Raymond never give up on me. They guided me and helped me with my problem and this made me feel stronger.
What have I learned in the group study? At first my intention was to go through the classes so that I can qualify to become a church member and having the privilege to partake the Holy Communion. I did not expect much, just hoping that it was not too difficult and not so boring. But after I attended a few classes, I gradually was having a different experience.
Firstly, I have a better understanding of the Bible and the church. It is not just to know but to understand why I should read the Bible and understand the various ceremonies in the church. I am now having a deeper understanding of worship. In our small group, I have a better chance to ask questions and get answered, and we are free to ask when we are in doubt. I can participate in discussions and hear my group members share their thoughts. I have learned a lot.
Secondly, I have learned to pray, I am able to handle stress better. When I am in doubt, when I am in need, I know to whom I can turn to now. I believe that God had answered my prayers. I was surprised when my mother accepted me as a Catholic and even asked me to never stop praying. Hearing that from my mother really meant a lot to me.
My friends told me that I’ve changed. I used to lose my patience easily. Now, I've learned to control my anger. I will not get angry easily. I’ve learnt to be humble, patient, to love and to forgive. People around me especially my family feel happy with my changes. 
I was baptized individually on the 19th April, 2017 by Father Christopher. At first, I felt a bit left out because I was not able to be baptized together with my beloved RCIA friends during Easter. However, during mass I realized that the mass was for me. My family members, facilitators and friends were there to witness my baptism. And when Father Christopher poured the Holy Water on my head, I know that I’ve received the greatest gift from God.
I began to really feel like part of God’s family. Thanks to my fellow group members, my greatest benefit is the close relationships and friendships that developed among us. I am not alone. I have a group of brothers and sisters worshiping God together with me. Thank you to my facilitators and my group members. Thank you for your trust, guidance and support. Yes, it’s true. There are angels here on earth.
I know this only the beginning. I will continue to learn, not because I wanted to be a member of the church but to become a better child of God. I will share the good news of God’s salvation with my family, relatives and friends.

May God bless us.

I am Abbey Josslyn.

Jesus, I have heard about Him since I was in primary school. I can still remember I went to church every Friday to listen to Jesus’s story. At that time, for me, Jesus is a kind, powerful, protective and a good man.
I grew up in a Buddhist family and I went to the temple to pray as my family did. I followed all the rules and regulations as a Buddhist. And one day, I decided to go for a working holiday trip overseas. I secretly bought a crucifix cross pendant so that He can protect me all the way to the destination and keep me safe on my overseas stay which He did. Weird, I shouldn’t have bought it because I’m a Buddhist.  I should have bought a Buddhist pendant instead.  I can’t explain why but now I understand after I joined in the RCIA.  I believe this is “God’s calling”. And I believe too, God works through others.
Years passed with ups and down, obstacles and problems until I became a single mother with a special need child.  Caring for my daughter was the biggest challenge in my life.  I can obviously see that my experiences have changed me into another person- bad tempered, no joy, no patience and always blaming others.  God was not an exemption. Why… why have you given me this child?  Have I done anything wrong so that you punish me?  These keep on going until I met a long lost friend. This friend is a Catholic and I started to follow him to church every weekend.  He knew about my problems and asked me to pray to God, asked for His help.  Sometimes, I go to church earlier to talk and pray to God for my daughter’s health before the mass start.  I noticed that after prayer, my heart is more calm, peaceful and lighter.  Slowly, it became a habit for me to go to church every weekend.  I learnt to pray the Rosary too and I can feel that the Lord is with me.  Eventually, my daughter’s condition was getting better.
After attending mass for about 5 years, my friend showed me a section in the bulletin about the RCIA session.  He asked me whether I would like to join so as to understand more about the Catholic faith.  I felt scared at first but I said yes.  I was nervous and shy on my first few days in the RCIA session because I don’t know anyone and I don’t understand what Christianity is all about.  But time shows everything.  After these months in RCIA, I learnt a lot about Christianity and the way to live as a good Catholic.  Most of the chapters in the session touched on our life’s purpose here on earth.  For me, the most interesting is “how to perform God’s work through God’s word”.  It’s not easy and I’m still learning.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the facilitators who have been very kind, patient, helpful and spent their time to guide and tell us about the Catholic Faith, the Seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, etc. Most importantly on becoming a better person. They also shared their experiences about how God had touched and changed them and I believe God will help me too.
On 15th April 2017, at the Easter Vigil Mass, I was baptized! Alleluia. I saw the crowd and all were welcoming us into Christ’s big family.  I can feel the joy, happiness and the closeness of God, especially during the Confirmation and Holy Communion.  Finally, I can have the feast together with my brothers and sisters in Christ in the next coming mass. This is only the beginning for me. I still have a lot to learn and the journey of Faith will never end.  I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ will guide me and all my brothers and sisters in Christ to journey along together with me to strengthen my faith in God and to love Him as He first loved me while I was still a sinner. Amen.

Thank you and May God Bless All of Us.

I am Hermione and was born and raised in a Buddhist family. Before I joined the RCIA, I didn’t even know what Christianity is all about and so I joined the RCIA. During my first day of my RCIA session, the facilitators shared about their own experience to all of us. They shared about how God touched them in their faith by the Holy Spirit. During my journey in the RCIA, I learned more about God’s Words and the beauty of the Catholic faith. All our facilitators are very helpful and kind to guide us along this journey. I am very thankful to all of our facilitators because of their willingness to spend their precious time to guide and share their knowledge to us in every session. After spending 11 months attending weekly sessions of the RCIA and attending mass and receiving God’s special blessings, I felt in me the calling from God and I began to be more excited to explore Catholicism in a deeper way. This is when I learned the truth about the faith. Finally, I will be baptized and confirmed into the Catholic faith and an official member of the Catholic Church. I believed God is with me and always guide me during this journey. When my baptism day arrived I was so excited and nervous. When it was my turn to be baptized and immersed into the holy water, I felt I was really closer to God. Upon receiving my First Holy Communion, I felt that God is with me, I was very touched that I was able to receive the precious body and blood of Jesus Christ. I wish to thank God for giving me a chance to follow Him all my life. I pray that God will continue to guide me and lead me more deeply in the Catholic faith after my baptism. I’m so happy that I become a child of God.

God bless all of you, Amen.


Time flies and our weekly RCIA classes are coming to an end very soon. Before attending the classes, I considered myself a "child" growing up surround. By the stories of Christ. Stories will always be stories if we don't allow ourselves to dwell into it and it will always just be something that passes us by instead of being something part of us.
From the moment the classes were introduced to me, I learnt to share, I learnt to share my personal experiences openly, unknowingly accepting Christ as I unfold my very own stories. God has obviously touched some of us with different means and methods, especially to those (our facilitators) who speak about His greatness, His power and His mercy. Every week tens of thousands of words are being said, constantly reminding us about our Father in heaven, hoping that we too will someday speak about and experience His greatness.
I do not know when these classes have then become one of my journey, a journey with God walking with me. And I have learned that faith is indeed developed bit by bit, by every ups and downs we experienced. Of course to build any relationships can take years but to destroy may take seconds, not to mention a relationship that is somewhat invisible, something that exists only when we believe. It is hard to define or pin point exactly how I believe He really exists but I guess that's God’s intention. For He is the one I turned to when I am feeling helpless. To be able to find inner peace from something we can't see, talk to and get a response or touch. The lent season was the hardest period of time for me to go through. First I was put to test when one of the days I was feeling really depressed and helpless, I only had negative thoughts in my mind. Just struck me so suddenly and at that very moment I couldn't find any solution to it. God seems to understand me very well, He gave me the strength to let it go. Letting go isn’t something, we human beings can do easily. It takes a lot of courage and forgiveness. Somehow I managed to get by. God knows each and everyone of us very well, He knows how to handle us, when we are scared to confide our deepest secret to anyone even to ourselves.

Vera Chang 
I was naive about Jesus during my teens. I was aware of His existence through my schoolmates but I never surrender myself to believe Him. And I didn’t have good impression towards Christianity because I thought it was pointless to go to mass weekly. I was introduced to Christianity twice but failed until the 3rd time which was through my marriage in 2011. Ever since, my mother in law consistently share and explain about the Word of God to me which eventually created my first good impression towards Jesus. My Catholic faith is even stronger when I witnessed the changes in my kids through my prayers.  Plus, witnessing my family in laws receiving Holy Communion each week made me feel incomplete as I cannot receive.  I am thankful to be surrounded by Jesus’ good news for several years before I decided to join the RCIA sessions in June 2016 to widen my Catholic knowledge and hoping to get closer to Him.
I remembered when I was worried that the RCIA sessions would bore me out and might not excite me to attend the sessions weekly. And I was wrong. I felt my thirst was quenched after the first session. I remembered I surprisingly cried when my mother in law came into my mind as I was explaining why I decided to join. I am thankful for her constant sharing and I know she is very proud when I have decided to join RCIA. Other than that, I am grateful to Jesus that He allowed me to meet five wonderful new sisters and brother, and the helpful facilitators. I am a much happier person ever since I have joined RCIA. My social life is more active now. As I am a housewife, I do not have many chances to meet new people thus I appreciate every new connection. Praise the Lord for choosing me to be a part of His family.
After this whole year of learning through RCIA, my tempers are better especially when dealing with my kids. I often lose my temper on my kids and I used to worry on things that are beyond my control.  But now, I will think twice before I react to them.  I will try my best to advise my children in a gentle manner and explain to them.  I admit that I am not divine and I will still lose my temper on them but at least, I have improved.  And, I am no longer in stress and I will leave everything to God’s will after I have done my part. Believing that Jesus has planned the best for us, my relationship with my husband has become stronger.
Our baptism during Easter Vigil was fantastic. The experience was priceless.  I wasn’t that nervous until the moment I stood in front of the baptism pool.  It was so crowded and I felt like a sinner who is about to turn into a new person with a new life after we walked out from the pool. The water was cold when I immersed into it but I do not feel cold when I walked up. It was such a joy when I knew my sins were gone! I was wondering why I did not shed tears after such a meaningful event. And yet, the climax during the whole night occurred when I received my very First Holy Communion, the taste of the body of Christ which I have been longing for years. It is the body of Christ and the blood of Christ that I have received and I burst into tears without my control.    I didn’t know why I would cry so terribly right away. I believe the Holy Spirit had touched me as I knew I am now the official child of God. It was a very memorable night which I would never forget in my life. I am ever thankful that God has chosen me to be His child.
The major outcome from the RCIA sessions is to prepare myself to be closer to Jesus and to feel His love through the pain and sufferings that He went through for us.  And I came to understand the meaning of the mass. In addition, the movie that was shown to us in preparation to be accepted into the church earlier, in one of our sessions, has evoked my love to Jesus where someone can suffer and endure so much pain for us, the sinners. I have loved him much more than before ever since then. I have found the biggest love of my life and someone whom I can trust and to listen to my prayers. Amen.

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