Finally! How long it has been? Two months?Not too bad. Only two months since the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. I apologise for posting….er….rather late. So as promised, Easter Vigil 2014.
Already on Good Friday, right after the service, Joshua Jeremiah, Shaun Nathan, Eugene, myself and other people from RCIA prepared for the big day that was awaiting us, that is, Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil, the greatest of all vigils. Personally, I earned a bit of muscle from the many chores that we had to do. We carried many stuff – technically the lightest (like holy pictures) to the marble where those who were to be baptized had to kneel on while undergoing baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity. Yes the marble was the heaviest right after the baptism font which we used a trolley to transport up to the main church from the lockup located in the car park. But with teamwork, perseverance and patience, we managed to do our chores with little or no incident at all. Everything was ready for the big day, and what was left was to fill the baptism font with water the next morning.
Holy Saturday came. The Lord was to rise from the dead soon and we were awaiting that glorious Resurrection. That early morning (not like in 2013 when I was late), I managed to come just on time. After or actually near the end of Ephphetha (When Joshua told me to come to the main church to continue doing our menial tasks), the males went back to work to finish up the final steps of preparation. The ladies also helped to prepare the towels for the vigil when the newly-baptized would walk out of the church to change, and the towels would be distributed to each neophyte.
After setting everything up, the font was filled with water. All that was left was the draining of the hose pipe, which I was guilty of messing up. Thank God the water had evaporated during the night, and so the road was dry.
And when I thought I could get a short break before the vigil itself, I found that I had more to do. The sponsors had yet to purchase Baptism/First Communion/ Confirmation gifts for our elects. So that afternoon, Brennan and I went all the way from Marymount to Bras Basah, to the parish bookshop of the Church of St Peter & Paul. We spent at least an hour there.
Carlo bookshop, (named after a CICM missionary Bishop Carlo and his ashes are in our columbarium) was amazing. Wow! It was big, and there were so many things to see and buy. Holy Pictures, sculptures, prayer bears, prayer books. A large amount of things there. Brennan and I got a bit side-tracked when looking at the stuff sold at the shop. We had to meet the budget of $10 per elect/candidate. After much browsing and recommendations from the sales staff, we finally bought a crucifix for all our elects, and they were sold at $7 each. We also bought Novena to the Holy Spirit booklets for them that cost around $3+. (Thank you Brennan for covering the excess costs.)
After getting what we needed, we then looked for the things that we wanted to buy. For myself, I bought a rosary ring which actually fitted very well on my finger and a coin. Brennan got a trinity crucifix.
Then came the time of final preparation for the glorious night event that was ahead. By the time Brennan and I got back to Bishan, it was already 4+pm. Brennan had to go home so as to change into smart formal attire. He had to sing in the choir during the vigil. As for me, I intentionally wanted to return immediately to church to help Joshua and the others to make the final preparations. But my mobile phone would be soon dead/flat, and since it the only means of communication and there was so much to discuss and important information to receive to ensure the smooth transition of the Easter vigil, I had to take action immediately. Thank God that I had time to go to my grandma’s house to charge my phone, to rest and have a few snacks. At this period of time, when the people you have journeyed with are finally getting baptized, you should be happy, but in that short period of time, in a state of panic and frustration, I got irritated and scolded myself, ” I should have remembered to bring my power bank ( Portable Charger).”
So I managed to reach on time and at the parish, I completed the final tasks : Signing the Attendance of our elects and their godparents, preparing the towels, fixing the candles meant for us sponsors, elects and godparents. At the same time, Brennan arrived with the bag of gifts, which were then given to Phoebe, who was in charge of the backroom/ dressing room that night. Everything had been prepared for this wondrous annual occasion of our church. We had Mac’Donalds for dinner and readied ourselves for our Lord to rise and grant us our salvation.
The festivities had begun. From where I was stationed, to change the towels that were on the floor, I watched in awe as each elect, not just my RCIY Elects, got reborn in the name of the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit. I felt really pleased as punch that night and thanked profusely the good Lord for the wonderful journey of faith with the wonderful friends that he had given me.
At the mass, we sang the church’s Easter hymns including those hymns like ” Regina Coeli” and “Hallelujah” which were sung only during Easter vigils. As I sang, I discovered or rediscovered my hidden talent of singing. Justin, a RCIA Sponsor and member of St David’s choir ( 11am Sunday Mass) was so impressed with my singing that he recruited me into the choir that very night. It was a miracle for my passion to be returned to me, especially when I am so happy to use this talent to honour our Lord. It is the same with the gift of journaling.
After the vigil, the whole RCIY team embraced each other. As I have stated in my previous articles, our bond of friendship is as strong as steel that even the devil himself cannot break. It has been such an honor to Journey with such wonderful people. Truly the grace of God has touched us all.
Then came Eastertide, and the very last sessions of RCIY. We carried out our last session on 24th May 2014. We played a simple activity: Pasting Papers on our backs and having a friend writing something nice about you. My friends viewed me as hardworking, caring, enthusiastic and helpful. Two cheeky friends of mine wrote that I should stop playing video games. Now, dear readers, that is true friendship. I am sure that I have as many flaws as my good points. In fact , I always think that I have more flaws than anyone else. But all these are in our Lord’s hands and I know he will lead me in the right direction. He is my Good Shepherd.
Right now, RCIY has been officially closed. The rest of its sponsors(including me) have been joined the RCIA, forming what we call now the “Emmaus Walk ” group. We are going to be in close touch with those in our age group. The new inquirers show good potential and are very enthusiastic to learn more about our Lord God.
As for the last batch of RCIY (2013-2014), some have gone on to catechism, some to the world to spread the good news, and some to preach the word to those our Lord has called for his own. Wherever we might be, wherever we might go in the years to come, I do believe that we will always remember fondly the times we still share together – the brotherhood and camaraderie. I shall remember it for eternity. May the fire in our hearts never burn out but keep us alight in the darkness will we finally meet our Lord in paradise.