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Confirmation 2018 at CDM

30. June, 2018NewsComments Off on Confirmation 2018 at CDM

It was the culmination of all the years of catechism, serving in a church ministry as a prerequisite, attending an interview with Fr Martin Arlando, the parish priest and attending a confirmation camp by Martin Jalleh. The 16 young parishioners of the Church of Divine Mercy (CDM) Penang knelt before Bishop Sebastian Francis to affirm their faith and receive the third sacrament of initiation, Confirmation on the 24th June.

In his homily, His grace told them that this Sunday of their confirmation was an auspicious day, as it was the feast of St John the Baptist. This is because this is the only saint that the church gives more than one feast day, the others are Our Lady and St Joseph. Jesus had declared that there was no man greater than St John the Baptist. The first church to be established in Penang was St John the Baptist church in Batu Kawan, to cater for the migrants that came with the French priests from China.

Bishop also explained that Jesus had invited them to be his friend and not his slave (John 15:9-17) as he had revealed to them all his Father had told him. Jesus also invited them to be his brothers and sisters (Mark 3:31-36) to share the Word of God. He explained that Christian vocation is not confined only to priests and religious. Each one of them has a Christian vocation in whatever role they played in life. They only had to have faith by sharing the Word of God in the way Jesus did. By seeing, speaking, touching and doing the Word of God. In this way, they would be able to see Jesus in others and everything.

At the end of Mass, Benedict Stephen spoke on behalf of all the confirmands. He related his faith journey and the experiences he encountered to become a renewed Catholic. The confirmands then sang and danced to a song entitled “Made New” by Lincoln Brewster. They were presented with confirmation certificates and a souvenir. At the potbless after the Mass celebration, all the confirmands got to share some close fellowship with Bishop and Fr Martin together with friends and family.

The happiness and joy of the confirmands was clearly shown to all friends and family. This was a result of the great rapport they had cultivated while participating and serving in the various activities organized by CDM. This spirit displayed by them gave much hope and promise for the continued growth of the Catholic community here in Penang.

Written by

Dr. Ivan Filmer

25th June, 2018.

CDM Confirmation Camp “Empower Me”

12. June, 2018NewsComments Off on CDM Confirmation Camp “Empower Me”

From the 25th – 27th May, 18 confirmation candidates of the Church of the Divine Mercy (CDM) Penang attended their Confirmation camp. The theme for this year was ‘Empower Me’. Conducted by Mr Martin Jalleh along with the watchful presence of their devoted catechism teachers, Audrey Cheah and Joyce Lim, the camp was held in order to prepare the 17 year-olds for the sacrament of Confirmation which they are due to receive from the bishop on the 24th June.

The opening session began with Martin posing a question for discussion with the group. They were asked what they expected to learn about the sacrament of Confirmation and what it actually meant to them. The answers expressed included a keen interest in learning how to handle their transition into adulthood and connecting their spiritual life to their everyday lives.

The sessions were conducted in an atmosphere of humour – the room was constantly jovial and laughing – but also in a non-condescending manner that allowed the young participants to be able to relate and connect with the messages conveyed. Through anecdotes and testimonies, Martin illustrated the harsh realities of today’s world: complex relationships, selfishness, peer pressure, and self-loathing. He stated that these were the reasons why the youth needed to be ‘empower[ed]’ by the Holy Spirit.

One of the sessions in the camp was the Inner Healing session, where the participants were encouraged to reflect on and letting go of the times they have been hurt and to forgive the people who have wronged them. There room was filled with intense emotion; many of the participants expressed that they felt God’s healing during the session and were inspired to move forward with their lives afterwards.

A great camaraderie was observed between the group at this camp – especially during sharing sessions, where each person’s testimony was met with compassion and understanding from their peers. This group even included two girls who were not yet baptized. One of them mentioned that this camp was unique to her in that everyone were able to connect with most of the others, unlike in other camps she had previously attended.

Another participant commented, “What I found really valuable in the camp was that it gave me a new perspective on my Catholic faith: it made me realize our faith is not merely spiritual, but it also affects the mental, emotional, and social aspects of ourselves”.

The final day of the camp was concluded with a parents’ session where the parents were advised to prepare for their children becoming more independent but also not to spoil them but to teach them responsibility. The participants were reunited with their parents when they put on an impromptu touching performance of ‘Because You Loved Me’ a song by Celine Dion, bringing tears of pride and joy from the parents.

The 2018 confirmation candidates of the CDM would also like to express their gratitude towards their very supportive, patient and loving parish priest, Fr Martin Arlando; dedicated camp facilitator, Mr Martin Jalleh, teachers and the all parents who kindly saw to all the needs of the camp making it a memorial one for all. We humbly request for continued prayers for all of us as they journey in their faith towards Confirmation and their life thereafter.

Written by

Hannah Rose Lee

CDM Confirmation Candidate 2018

CEC Primary School Camp at CDM

12. June, 2018NewsComments Off on CEC Primary School Camp at CDM

It was another round of excitement for the children in the CEC Primary School Camp of Church of Divine Mercy, Penang. It was decided that the CEC Primary School Camp would be held on a Sunday and the participation was beyond expectations. A total of 92 children registered with parents supporting by preparing food of all sorts, giving gifts of drinks and as well as extending a helping hand during the sessions. There were also some children from other parishes and some non-Catholics who joined their friends as well. Some children turned up as early 8 am in church even though the camp was scheduled to begin at 9 am. This year the camp facilitators were Carmelita Xavier-Arokiadass and Anuja Xavier.

The camp began with “Praise and Worship” carried out by the Youth Ministry. They were able to connect very well with the young children with action songs and the session ended with the children all fired up. The facilitators divided the children into ten groups in which they elected a team leader. It was encouraging to note that this strategy enabled the children of different ages working together to build up a sense of camaraderie among those in the team throughout the day. Facilitators made it a point to give encouraging words to those teams who showed good communication and team work even though they did not always succeed in the activities.

The first activity was the ‘human bingo’ which served as an ice breaker. Each of the participant needed to fill up the boxes with names of the people who fit the category stated in the list. This activity helped them get to know each other better in a certain amount of time.

In the next session the video of Jonah was screened. The children were guided through the story of Jonah and the way he first avoided doing God’s command and the importance of living a life of Jesus every single day. The facilitator, Anuja, had addressed situations of where the children are able to evangelise by walking the ways of Jesus especially in their everyday situations in home, school and church. It was explained that this is common among us as we sometimes feel afraid of doing the right thing. It was also emphasized that God’s mercy is abundant and He is ever willing to forgive us.

The next exciting activity involved getting the children to reach out for sweets placed high up in the walls without the assistance of any furniture. Then they were told to try again this time with the help of their friends in the team. There was much enthusiasm and laughter as they tried and failed but eventually succeeded. The point to this activity is to instill the importance as Christians to support one another in their daily affair.

In line with the parish’s focus on the Scriptures, the next activity tested the children’s bible knowledge called True or False. A series of biblical facts were read out and the children had to run to the end of the room indicating True or the end indicating False. Fr Martin Arlando, the parish priest who participated with the children made it confusing by running to one end but pointing to the other or just running to stand in the center of the room. This made them think and trust in what they know as correct in their faith.

There was a session on the ways to counter bullying in schools. They were encouraged to address the many situations they have gone through in school. The children were very receptive and were giving away numerous incidences that set fear in their hearts. The facilitator, Carmelita, emphasised that Jesus promised in the scriptures that He is always with them, walking with them, hand in hand and that He will not leave them. This greatly encouraged the participants to be bold at all times and remember that God lives in them and that they have no need to fear to stand up for themselves and for others.

This was further emphasized by drawing the children to an activity called Toothpaste & Toothpick. The children had to squeeze the paste onto a paper and they were told to scoop the paste back into the tube. The moral of this activity was to remind the children that whatever that has been said or done cannot be taken back and that the damage is done. Therefore, forgiveness is crucial so to ensure relationships are restored and to pray for themselves and those who hurt them in return.

In the final session of the camp, each team was given a script from a story in the bible with limited time and they had to mime the story for others to identify it. This session proved how creative our children can be in ways they did the mime with no props. This brought out the amazing talents and gifts that God had blessed them.

The camp was an indeed a task for the two facilitators as they met up to the challenge of dealing with the enthusiastic energy and noise volume of 92 children each wanting to be heard or asking questions. The children learned the importance of evangelising to their friends by showing the values of Christ in their actions, to value of art of team work, scriptural promises from biblical stories and the ways to overcome bullying in a Christian way. It also showed how the Youth Ministry was able to contribute their talents in handling all the Praise and Worship sessions giving much joy to the young ones.

A few parents testified that their children who were not too keen to come for the camp expressed excitement when they returned home. The children shared the various activities with their parents and commented that the activities were very interesting. The parents thanked the facilitators and the teachers for running the camp for their children.

Written by

Dr Ivan Filmer

8th June, 2018