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STC Sec 3 Pre-Confirmation Camp 2010

Mid-June. I spent an entire Sunday with a bunch of 15 year old at their Pre-Confirmation Camp. Their catechism teachers; Catherine, Gab and Terence, decided to put the 20 odd bunch through a Faith Challenge. The students did not know what was installed for them.

The objective was to have the students taste what it is like to be challenged by other believers. The aim was to set them thinking about our own faith; “do I truly believe and stand up for what I’ve been brought up in, how do we compare to other belief, where am I in my faith journey”.

The assigned "challengers" were
- Jonathan as the Atheist
- Iwan as the Protestant
- Jacinta as the Hindu
- Patrick as the Roman Catholic
- Myself as the Free Thinker

We were cast around the Victoria Street churches of St. Peter and Paul, St. Joseph and the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

The students made their way around in their groups and take a station in an exposure to a reality challenge on their faith from other religious groups in a "friendly environment". At the station, the "challenger" took on a 10min one-on-one dialogue with 1 member per team.

Unlike Patrick who came equipped with an entire sheet of Catholic related questions, I came with just a few main debatable points:
- Why do you bother going to church on Sundays?
- Where is your freedom when you are "chained" by all the rules of Christianity?
- What makes you so sure that what you're believing in is really true?

Those questions alone were enough to make one stumble.

Coming through my paths were Andrea, Mary, Gillian and Joy. Andrea had it easy till Catherine came up to me and said "You must TE-KAN them HARD!". I went, "Really?!?! I will REALLY TE-KAN leh". I guess I played my role so well at the end till Joy broke down in tears. I believe it was both a hard and humbling experience.

We re-grouped in the evening for a debrief and sharing. The kids expressed their feelings of demoralization, shame and inadequacy. It wasn't a good feeling. Yet in reality, I never felt more proud about their zeal to want to defend their faith. Even with the little they know. It's as though they were carrying miniature sized shield and swords, yet still brave enough to fight the battle.

At the end of the day, it didn't really matter if one had all the answers to everything. Cultivating our relationship with Christ will naturally grow our desire to want to learn and love our beautiful Catholic faith. It wasn't all that long ago that I too took many things at face value. TOB and my year plus lessons with Fr. Garcia changed that.

In a way... I love the fact that the more I know, the more I discover what I don't know. And in not knowing that I continue to thirst and journey...

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