by Timothy Wong, NUS Catholic Students Society (CSS)
I had my first touchpoint with OYP when I was serving NS. My elder sister was in SMU’s FIDES community at the the time and I remember how her faith had deepened quite significantly. Every now and then, she’d also invite her community over to our house for fellowship, and while I just watched from afar, it seemed as though everybody there took being Catholic quite seriously.
Entering university, while I was somewhat eager and inspired to grow my relationship with God, I was quite hesitant about community in CSS. Looking back, I can say that I was more concerned about my own righteousness than about God – I often thought about what community could give me and what I could gain from sessions. After my first semester, I ended up saying ‘this isn’t for me’ and walked away, naively thinking that I’d be able to journey to God without community.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before I grew distant from God again. By His grace, at a time when I felt lost and with little direction, a series of events led me back to CSS and to the Sacrament of Reconciliation where I had a personal encounter of Jesus’ deep love and mercy for me through a priest. God pulled me out of myself and back into His embrace.
As I returned to community and started journeying with brothers and mentors in OYP that the Lord placed in my life, I began to see how this walk of discipleship was not about me, but about Christ and His Church. I was amazed and drawn to this community of deep and living faith, and came to experience a vibrant, evangelising and missionary Church. I was and still continue to be so inspired by this community of people who continue to take up their cross and lay down their lives for the work of the Gospel.
For me, being in OYP has been an incarnational experience of what it means to be Church, and what it means to be discipled, shepherded and loved by the Lord. I thank the Lord for this lasting, profound and yet simple joy of being in communion and mission with my brothers and sisters in Christ. As the Office reaches its 9th anniversary, I pray that the Spirit continues to lead and foster a spirit of greater unity and love as one flock of Christ, the Good Shepherd.
As we celebrate OYP’s 9th anniversary, it is only fitting that we do so in a spirit of deep gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord. He is the one that continues to write the stories of our dear young people and brings healing to their lives. Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing nine such stories as we celebrate the past nine years. We thank you Lord for your faithfulness! #OYPTurns9
See more of our 9th Anniversary thanksgivings:
OYP Turns 9: Fullness of Life
OYP Turns 9: His Vessel of Love
OYP Turns 9: The Saving Grace of Community
OYP Turns 9: He Moved Me Into A New Way
OYP Turns 9: Jesus Will Always Welcome Me
OYP Turns 9: My Incredible Adventure with the Lord
OYP Turns 9: God’s Favour Upon Me
OYP Turns 9: He Called Me to Save Me