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.
Hannah Rose Lee
CDM Confirmation Candidate 2018