KAMPAR (Herald Malaysia): The Catholic Students Society of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (utarCSS) organised a camp entitled the F3 camp, where F stands for Faith, Friendship and Fun. The idea was to foster and strengthen friendship through the common faith we share. The theme was The love of God and through His love we are made one.
Three days before the camp, Fr David Lourdes, parish priest of the Sacred Heart Church celebrated Mass for the committee members and helpers. He reminded us that the true purpose of having this camp was for the love of Christ who gave himself freely to us; he also stressed that the Eucharist is for all who embrace His love.
On the day of the camp Feb 2, emcees Ricky Rack and Jude William greeted and welcomed the 32 participants. They were then treated to a rule sketch performed by the committee members, followed by a dance routine called We will worship you led by Cynthia Mok. This was followed by our own remix of Queen’s We Will Rock you, the chorus being “singing He will, He will rock you!”
“It is important that we know our faith, so that we can defend it when the time comes,” said Fr Francis Andrew, the first speaker of the day. He spoke about Catholicism and how as students we can live the Year of Faith in our lives. A brief introduction to campus ministry was given by Kevin Eruthayanathan after that.
The day continued with another session by Gabriel Moses, a catechist from the Parish of St Joseph, Sentul. Then station and teambuilding games were played on the Church grounds.
After dinner that night, the participants gathered at the hall. The setting was silent. A sketch was performed to show the role of Christ in our lives when we need him most; one of the participants said that tears rolled down her cheeks as she watched.
Directly after that an inner healing session was conducted by Joyce and Alex also from St Joseph’s Parish, Sentul. Both of them are involved in outreach ministries and are in the charismatic group. The inner healing session was accompanied by the Sacrament of Confession. The inner healing session was the first for many; this session allowed many to reflect about their lives and most importantly their sins.
The night didn’t end there. “Dancing in the Lord” kept spirits high and energized all who were present, led by Megan Anne and Christopher Long. Songs included Hari ini, Jesus is my rock and the crowd favourite One Way, Jesus.
At the crack of dawn, the participants were awakened for Praise and Worship. The day continued with another session by Gabriel Moses. This time he spoke on the importance of the Year of Faith. Next was a humorous skit by the committee members.
Thereafter, the participants were placed in groups for Bible sharing which touched on the family. It was a very intimate session and the rule of “What is said here, stays here” was applied.
After lunch the cell groups had to perform the sketches given to them the day before. The sketches had a twist. Besides being based on a Bible verse, random words like “ice-cream” and “socks” had to be intergrated into the sketch.
At four in the afternoon, the participants were asked to get ready for Mass. The new participants were given a chance to get involved in the Mass. They had to offer the gifts, do the readings and even become the commentator. “I am very proud that you all are like one big family. Live life as your mission as you are called and chosen,” said Fr. David in his sermon. He related it to the first ever T-shirt of the society: MiSSION. CALLED. CHOSEN.
Then it was time for one final performance; “Oppa F3 style.” All the participants had to join in the fun. The closing ceremony continued with a short speech by the chairperson of the society. He explained that the society is like no other community because this society is more like a family. Gifts and prizes were given out by programme head, Noreen, followed by a friendship song led by the Music Ministry headed by Matthew Teo, along with Emily Goh on guitar and Victor Lim on keyboards. Hugs were shared all round as the camp came to an end.
To quote one of the participants, “Here I was in a family, a place where I can find God through friends.” Also, this camp had brought many of the participants closer to understanding the faith. One mentioned that he had found friendship and fun growing in faith. Many new friendships were made. This was because many were given the opportunity to relate and work together.
It is a major milestone for the Catholic Students Society of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman- Perak campus, being a relatively small society in the university. Compared to many other camps and retreats, the F3 is considered small but it is a momentous step in strengthening this community. The society is faced with many challenges. Lack of manpower and financial strength are the primary ones. Despite the challenges that we are facing, we are grateful for the help that we have received especially from the parish, other Churches, parents and personal friends who have travelled far to help out. A very small yet growing community, the CSS after its third year is something that one can be proud of.
The weekend of Feb 2-3, was a weekend that most of us will remember. Proudly dressed in the CSS’s black tee, we can turn our backs and show the world we are the “Property of Jesus”. -- By Leon Gautier