CSS FOC 2016 Testimony 2

To know that there is a family around to reassure and help us in every way they can within a larger community truly excites me as I know they will journey with me

FoC Group Shot

With the reminder of how great God’s love is, I write this in hope of Him knowing how grateful I am for Him. Writing this testimony is not something I would have ever seen myself taking the courage to do, but this was my experience at FOC 2016.

FOC 2016 was my first of the few camps I decided to participate in uni and my first true Catholic camp experience. I was excited to know more about God through this camp – but with excitement, also came fear about many things (ie. Not being able to socialise, share much about what I knew about God).

Coming from a small church community, I had not imagined the level of comfort and inclusion we would have during this camp. I shared with my group that with God’s guidance and grace during the tough year of 2015 – which was emotionally draining for my family and I – we overcame our trials. Through the sharing from each individual during various sessions, I could really feel God’s presence amongst us. Each one of my group mates was like a little ray of sunshine – a ray of Hope, reaffirming others and letting themselves be reaffirmed that God is always present.Listening to my group really inspires me to love and to praise Him even more.

A sight that I seldom ever saw was the Eucharist displayed in the monstrance. During adoration, I could not stop looking at Jesus and the beauty of His body. The sight of it was so beautiful, that is seemed as if His heart was glowing and beating in front of us. It was truly a heart-warming experience having Jesus open up in arms and embracing me, as I allowed myself to open my heart to Him.

Through the FOC, I have also encountered God through the people around me – especially the seniors who guided us along the way and facilitated each activity. Not only have they inspired me to serve God in my own ways, but also taught me the various ways to express my love for Him. To know that there is a family around to reassure and help us in every way they can within a larger community truly excites me as I know they will journey with me. It also reminds me that God is with us at all times.


CSS FOC 2016 Testimony

To me now, community is another type of experience.

I had an unexpectedly meaningful time at FOC. So if you’re wondering if you should turn up for FOC (or some other CSS activity) and happen to be reading this, stay with me.

I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about going at first, and entertained the idea of just staying home instead. I was involved in church ministry, but wasn’t really into the idea of a youth community. I listen to and play music a lot, but am not really into P&W. Previous events I had attended consisted of seemingly everyone around me enthusiastically waving their arms about while I awkwardly mumbled and shifted my feet left and right.

But the people in my life told me that it was a good idea to be connected to the university community, and a senior convinced me that I should at least give it a shot. So I went, with the intention of getting to know the people around and experiencing some activities here and there.

FOC turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The people I met were warm and welcoming (extra thanks to the seniors btw!) and I did learn many things about myself as well as gain exposure to the numerous insights kindly provided by others. I would say this alone would be a good reason to go, because now I realise that it’s good to hear stories other than your own.

During the very first sharing, I somehow managed to share a personal opinion/viewpoint which I had never shared with anyone before. That was unforeseen, and I would wonder later how it even came out of me at all. As the days passed and we did more listening, commenting and sharing however, I came to better understand what having a community is like. To me now, community is another type of experience. I realised I was missing the point earlier on when I was reluctant about the the whole idea of being reliant on a community and all that. It’s just…not about that. You can journey on your own, and you can journey as one of many companions too. You can do both at the same time. Different things can shape and enrich your faith journey. It’s hard to put into words…but anyway I’m glad that I made that first decision to join.

On top of that, God even gave me a P&W moment:) During Eucharistic Adoration, Beautiful Saviour started playing and I was captivated by both the melody and words. (I was very happy when the music team played it for the second time later, haha) It resonated with me, and the entire song and its message simply clicked with all that was in my head and heart at that moment. It was moving, and I felt a deep sense of connection. Thank you!

CSS FOC 2016 Testimony: Isaac

“You are joy, you are joy,
You’re the reason that I sing” 

-Forever Reign by Hillsong

 Isaac FOC

Joining the Music committee for this FOC was not a hard decision to make, in fact, it was almost an instantaneous decision for me. When I heard that they were looking for sub-committee members for this FOC, I immediately felt drawn to the music sub-committee. This was despite having had no experience playing for Praise and Worship (P&W) and only playing a few times for Mass. Somehow, I just knew that this was what God called me to do, and personally I felt that since I had a good experience as a freshman for my FOC, why not pass it on and help make it a good experience for the freshmen this time around?

What surprised me was how much it proved to be one of the highlights of my faith journey and my spirituality. During music practices leading up to FOC, I initially felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of songs that the worship team was playing. I did not normally listen to praise and worship songs, so it was quite difficult to adapt. Thankfully, I had a fantastic worship team, who guided me and were very accommodating and Spirit-driven.

During FOC itself, God’s presence was truly with the worship team. Through the sessions each day, as I heard the voices of the participants fill the room with wondrous praise while I was playing my bass guitar, I felt amazed. Every person in the room was so willing to lift up their voices to worship Him. I understood then how my playing was an example of how I was just a vessel for the Lord to help others.

On the second night of FOC, during the Rite of Reconciliation, the worship team had to play for over three hours. Yet, we stayed strong. Towards the end, I remember a moment where the worship leader transitioned into a song that we had not practised before. Although I was initially caught off guard, I stayed calm and let the Lord guide me. It was that moment where I was playing, while the voices of the participants swelled, that I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit move through everyone in the room. It was a beautiful moment, and one that I would describe as a highlight of my faith journey, as I had never felt that feeling before.

I have always felt that music was one of God’s most beautiful creations, and it was really affirming to experience that through playing for this FOC. Truly, God moves in mysterious ways.

Isaac is a Year 1 going on Year 2 Political Science Major (and hopefully a History minor!) who was on the Music Team during this year’s FOC. It’s very fortunate that Isaac was able to encounter God much more deeply through his service during the FOC and thanks to him and many other talented brothers & sisters who contributed their musical gifts, the P&W sessions were really made that much more poignant and meaningful. If you see him around when school starts, don’t hesitate to wave and say hi to him!