Sunday, February 12, 2006

Chinese ministry

Today, we visited the Church of St Michael's. And I kena traumatised at the beginning. We met Fr Angel, and was asking him what activities they had in the church in the morning, and so he was listing a few groups. He reached Chinese RCIA, then he asked if we spoke mandarin, and I admitted that I did. Then later at the canteen, he introduced the one of the youth council members to Jude, I thought he was also going to introduce me, when he pulled me aside, and said you two should stick together. Next thing I know, he's brought me to a table of migrant workers from China.

Wah lagi stress, at least if singaporean still can speak some english. Then finally a singaporean guy came over and introduced himself, and invited me to come and see the Chinese RCIA class so I agreed to pop by after mass. So after mass, I walked in the back door of the class, and sat next to the guy, asking some questions about the class. All of a sudden, the catechist teaching announces my presence and invites me to the front to address the class. My first words were, "Qing Yuan Liang, Wo De Hua Yu Jiang De Bu Tai Hao." (Please forgive me, my mandarin isn't very good) So long never use, other than speaking with the food stall aunties. And worst still I don't know the different Catholic terms, like how to say I'm an IY student. And I looked at the characters the catechist wrote on the board, recognised some, but mostly didn't know the meaning. Found out from the guy that it was on baptism.

So I was talking to the guy, and he was saying that there are so few priests they can call to come and do the Chinese RCIA class. And we were sharing on how the Catholic faith still comes across as a very western faith, and yet there is a large population in Singapore who speak mainly mandarin. In fact, actually our protestant brothers are doing much more outreach in this area. Which got me thinking if I would ever be able to minister in mandarin, really need to buck up then. But if Fr Fossion and Fr Frans can do it, quite a shame if I can't. Like Mgsr Lau was telling in Latin class, really need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help us learn the language.

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