I am from a Buddhist background. My parents are staunch believers of Buddhist teaching.
Before I came to know of the Catholic Church, I was also a staunch believer of Buddhism as I was raised in this way. However, I am really blessed that a friend of mine shared this faith with me some time in 2003. This sharing continued whenever we met for drinks or went for outings together. Without me realising it, the sharing made me want to know more and more about Roman Catholicism. I was in awe because this new found faith is totally different from Buddhism and when I’m down, sad or facing difficulties in life I can actually ask for help from Jesus, Mother Mary and all the saints.
Through my friend I started to attend the Mandarin RCIA classes on 24 August 2003 where Susanna Bong was my teacher. This study continued until 15 February 2004 without the knowledge of my parents. But then I had to stop attending the RCIA classes as my parents got to know about this and were very upset with me. My parents wouldn’t compromise about it and didn’t allow me go to Church at all as they didn’t like the idea of me becoming a Roman Catholic.
I was really sad for I could not continue my studies but I gained strength by continuing to pray the Rosary every day and reading the booklet entitled Shalom. I also received a lot of moral and prayer support from my Catholic friends and Community. Even though, I was very disappointed with my parents, I forgave them and continue to keep them in my prayers everyday.
I want to praise our Lord Jesus Christ for he has been really good to me. God taught me not to rush but to take one day at a time. God answered my prayers by opening my parents’ hearts to accept my decision to embrace the Catholic faith. I was very happy and full of joy that in July 2007, I started to attend the English RCIA class once again. I was also allowed to go to Church and attend Mass. To add to my joy, God allowed me to find more Catholic friends in the Legion of Mary. I started to join their meeting on 19 January. My journey of faith is only the beginning but I’m so thankful to God for this wonderful new life that he has blessed me with.
Bernadette @ Viling Wong Sook Ching
I have known of the Catholic Church since I was young. I went to St Teresa’s Primary and Secondary Schools, which are right next to St Joseph’s Cathedral. However, it was years later that I acknowledged God’s existence and took a deeper look at religion. I felt most at peace with Christian teachings but had difficulty choosing the denomination. I was wary of subjective human interpretations of God’s Word and as I asked close friends of various Christian denominations how they had found their faith; friends of the Catholic faith consistently directed me to the RCIA programme.
Knowing that all Christian teachings originated from the Catholic Church, I decided to enroll for the RCIA programme at St Joseph’s Parish Centre in July 2007 to “check it out”. I found a credible structured programme based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church in place for ‘faith-seekers’ like me.
Each weekly session of the programme provoked me to read more of the Bible as well as challenged my thoughts and actions to live by God’s words and trust in his will. Together with a series of events that unfolded in my life prior to joining the programme, my understanding of the scriptures and their practical application to my daily life (shared with enjoyable humour by our facilitator) during the RCIA programme have anchored and strengthened my belief and faith in the Holy Trinity. At each milestone in the programme, I have found an increasing inner comfort to be baptised this Holy Saturday.
Wendy Chang Ying Ying
Christianity has been familiar to me since I was young. I was born in a non-Christian family. I attended a mission school during my secondary education. My surroundings were full of Christian friends. My secondary education seemed to be a turning point in my life. I started to know more about Christ in 1992 when I joined The Boy’s Brigade, a uniformed group attached to a non-Catholic church. From there, I started my Christian education and attended a non-Catholic church for about six years until I finished my secondary education.
In the beginning, it was the uniformed group that caught my attention. The activities and awards made me stay in the Church. Soon after, I completed my secondary education and furthered my studies in Kuching. My life then reverted back to that of my childhood, one of being lazy and not interested in going to church or joining church activities. However, I continued to pray once in a while, only when I needed something from God.
I only started to go back to Church after I had finished my tertiary education. Even then, the period of my life as a church-goer was not long. I only went for Sunday Services on certain special occasions like Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, New Year. This went on for another six years.
The turning point when I started to learn more about the Catholic Church was the death of Pope John Paul II. The huge publicity it generated in the mass media prompted me to start my research of the Church and its teachings. I began by reading materials from the Internet and asking my Catholic friends. I told my friends that I intended to join the Church after wondering for a long time whether I was a free thinker.
One particular incident I remember was during my lunch break, I had a lengthy conversation with my colleague about the Catholic religion. I told her of my intention of going back to the Church. She suggested that I take up RCIA so that I could get to know more about the Catholic Church. She even told me that although the RCIA is to prepare someone for baptism, it is not necessary to be baptised at the end of the class if I am not ready. My colleague was very helpful in helping me to source out some information about RCIA.
From there on, I started my RCIA session in July 2007. I found the sessions very interesting. I started to know more about not only the Catholic Church but also more about God. I resolved not to miss any classes as far as I could help it in order to learn and know more. There, my faith started to grow. I resumed my prayers everyday. My heart told me it was finally time to get myself baptised after delaying it for so many years.
In August 2007, I attended a CHOICE Weekend in St Lukas’ Centre. I got to know more friends there, especially Christians. When they found out that I was attending the RCIA and awaiting baptism, they kept giving me the courage and perseverance which helped my faith to grow even stronger. After the CHOICE Weekend, I started to attend daily Masses with friends and participated in some Church activities such as Christmas carolling. I started to feel myself living a more meaningful life compared to before. It was even more meaningful when I told my parents and got their blessing.
As Easter is drawing near, I am very excited that I am about to be baptised. Looking back, it had been such a long journey in my life from initially thinking of baptism about five years ago to now. I ask God for his continued blessings on my preparation towards baptism.
Bailey Paat Yok Fang
I come from a very strong Buddhist family, and even was a strong Buddhist myself. I only knew about Christ and Christianity through the Bible classes that I had attended in a mission school. However, my knowledge about it was very little and shallow.
Later, I met my fiancé when I became a temporary teacher in a school. He told me about Christ and the Church. I started by going with him to Mass on weekends and feast days.
From there, I started to open my mind about becoming a Catholic as I had always heard from people outside that Christians are fanatics and they force and brainwash anyone who enters their hurch. But, that was not true from my experience. So, I started to give myself a chance to accept and to know Christ through my fiancé and his family.
A few years went by and I decided to take up the RCIA class after I found my courage and faith in Christ. It took me a very long time to have courage to accept Christ as I had a fear that I would give up half way. Besides I was born a Buddhist and the loyalty towards Buddhism was very strong. Despite this, my fiancé still continued to support me and told me to listen to my heart. He asked me to be patient and strong. He wanted me to be firm in making my decision to accept Christ and not by force.
After many years of prayer, I started to accept Christ slowly in my life and follow all his teachings.
In the class, I was really filled with the Holy Spirit because I got to learn about prayers and experienced the sufferings of Christ and his teachings through the facilitators. I felt that the Holy Spirit has filled and healed all the empty slots in my heart. Besides, Christ helps me in leading my life through all the challenges and obstacles that I have to face daily. Every morning, before I start my daily routine, I will say a prayer as a thanksgiving to God for all his abundant blessings upon my life. I really thank God that with his help, I can slowly accept his teachings and lead my life with it.
My parents did not prevent me from accepting Christianity but they have given me support and encouragement. I also feel grateful to have a very good sponsor, Laura, who never forgets to play her role as my sponsor. She always gives me support in terms of faith and shared with me her experiences. I pray that the Lord will continue to provide me with his wonderful teaching and help me in going through all the tests in life.
Rachel Bernadette Kuan Sing Wei