Sunday, 16 October 2011

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

29th Ord Sun A

Sunday, 11 September 2011

XXIV Sunday of Ordinary Time

24 Ord Sun A

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Beginning Our Journey

Our formal formation and bonding sessions ended with a Sending Off from the parish during Mass on 6 August 2011. I thought it was such an appropriate day, even though it was a normal Sunday Mass, coz liturgically, 6 August is the Feast of Transfiguration, a day that is very special to me.

On 12 August, 14 of us gathered at Singapore Changi Airport with some family members and friends to see us off. 3 guys had already went ahead days before. The rest will follow after. It was going to be a long journey for 12 of us coz we will have to wait at Doha for 7 hours before taking the 2nd sector of the flight directly to Madrid. We dreaded by the thought of it. Anyway, some took the opportunity to rest at the lounge as they have special membership, while the rest of us just tried to catch some sleep at the waiting area.

God never ceased to surprise us. As we were boarding the next flight, 7 of us were told that they had to change our seats. As I found my seat, I was at awed with this gift from God: we were upgraded to business class. Nevermind about service or food, we get to sleep horizontally. This itself meant a lot to us.

This was one of the many blessings we received as we begin physically our journey towards Madrid. Of course, more to come.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Pre-WYD Reflection

Being the Spiritual Director of the group can be quite challenging, especially given that I have never World Youth Day before and on top of that, we are talking about a group of young people coming from different walks of life and most do not know each other. How can we help them to bond better? How can we help each other to grow spiritually, to deepen our love for Jesus? Sometimes can be worst when we were being compared with other groups or leaders or even parish. Yet, such comparisons inspired us to want to do better and give our best we can for the group.

However, nothing comes by chance. I always believe that God put us together for a reason or reasons. In fact, rather than saying that I am guiding them, I had learned a lot from the young people, especially through our one-to-one session each month. Their sharings taught me about faith, trust and love for God. Their openness in sharing with me their vulnerabilities reflect the strength they received from Him. These meetings gave me opportunities to know them better and at the same time, help me to grow in my relationship with God and our Blessed Mother Mary. For the past 7 months, each day whenever possible, I would stop by Our Lady of Fatima in our parish on the way for Mass, to entrust all these young people to Her, asking Her to guide and lead them closer to Jesus. I believe she has been our guide and protection throughout our preparation and journey during WYD.

It has been an enriching year, filled with blessings and graces. Indeed, I enjoyed journeying with the young people and thank God for giving me this opportunity to be with them.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Heading towards Madrid

It all began in June last year, when Joachim, the then Youth Coordinator of our parish, St. Francis of Assisi, approached me to be spiritual director of the core team for planning the participation of World Youth Day in Madrid. The core team consists of 4 members (Joachim, Andrew, Magdalene and Julia), who participated in the WYD Sydney 2008. They had never organized such group before, yet because of their positive experiences, they decided to give this service to the parish. We met each month to discuss and plan for the promotional actitivites leading up to the actual recruitment.

This first general meeting with interested participants was in December. There were more than 25 in the list and we had actually decided to keep the group to less than 20. The final confirmed number was 18.

Our monthly meeting began in February as follows:

2nd Tuesday -- Group Adoration
3rd Saturday -- Formation Class with invited speakers
Alternate month -- bonding sessions outside Church

Also, all participants had 1-to-1 meeting with me once a month for spiritual direction and personal sharing.

We had 2 little fund-raising and exhibitions in June and July, mainly to bring more awareness to the parishioners, so that they can also be involved in some ways. In fact, the response was overwhelming. Many gave us petitions to be brought to various places: Avila, Madrid, Rome, etc.

In the midst of all these, the core team continued to meeet once a month for planning and discussion. I am really impressed by their dedication especially Andrew, who was not even going to Madrid.

All these preparation led to a day of Recollection, with Fr. Fred Quek who gave us a very practical sharing in preparing for the coming event. The sending off Mass the following day concludes our preparation towards and began a new phase of our journey.

So, finally, on 12 August 2011, about 14 (2 already went ahead and the other 2 will leave later) of us met at Singapore Changi Airport and head towards Madrid.

Here we come Madrid!