SSVP Conference Of The Holy Spirit – Evangelisation Of Elderly Fins

SSVP’s mission is to befriend and journey with the poor and marginalised. We serve our beneficiaries and beyond provide financial and rations support, we hope to fill their cups and hearts with an abundance of God’s love.

During the COVID-19 period, Vincentians from SSVP Conference of the Church of the Holy Spirit were spending more time with our elderly Friends in Need (FINs) and realised that we had many elderly non-Catholic FINs who were interested to find out more about our faith. This epiphany spurred the Conference to take our mission to the next level – EVANGELISATION!

Earlier this year, CHS Conference deliberated on our evangelisation work with the FINs and felt that we were ready to take a bolder and more pro-active approach. Many of our FINs are illiterate, some are physically weak, making attending RCIA in English or Mandarin at Church in the evenings unworkable. With the blessing of our parish priest, Fr Kamelus Kamus, CICM, conference members invited our FINs to attend a weekly catechism class, specially conducted during daytime in their lingua franca (often a mix of Mandarin and one of the Chinese dialects). The class aims to impart to the FINs the basic essentials of the Catholic faith, pitched at a level they can easily understand; in Hokkien and Cantonese.

To create a more comfortable and convenient setting, we started the class in one of the FIN’s home as it would be a familiar home-ground atmosphere for the attendees. Our Vincentians also took on the role of companions as representatives of the Catholic faith community, to share their own personal experiences and to walk alongside our FINs on their faith journey. These classes also definitely worked up an appetite and lead to a makan session with lunch provided after.

It was a humble start when the class commenced in March with 3 attendees but by early June we were so heartened when the group grew steadily to about 10 FINs, 7 of whom became faithful regular attendees. In late June, we felt we were ready to shift the venue from the FIN’s flat to a classroom in Church as it would be more comfortable and we could conduct the classes with the aid of AV equipment. For their convenience, we provided transport to ferry them from their rental flats to the church premise.

With God’s grace, on 3 September, two of the FINs, Peter and John, from the class were baptised. The ceremony was also well-attended by their fellow FINs and we have faith that others in the class are also close to making the same life-changing decision. It was also very moving to witness many of our non-Catholics FINs who came forward to seek blessings from Father Peter Koh, CICM, who was conducting the baptism service.

Our special class has also continued to grow from strength to strength as more FINs have expressed interest to join the class.


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