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Keeping teens engaged in matters of faith is challenging, says a Singaporean catechist

"I wanted to serve or give back to the church but did not know which ministry to choose," recalls John Tang, a 17-year-old catechist in the Archdiocese of Singapore.
He has been a catechist for the last three years at Holy Trinity Parish, 20 Tampines Street. The archdiocese has 32 parishes in the city-state.
According to the official teachings of the Church, the Catholic Catechism, a catechist is a person of faith who guides others in comprehending the doctrines of the religion. The ministry of the catechist is essential to the church.

The Archdiocese of Singapore selects and trains men and women who are practicing Catholics in communion with the Catholic Church. His or her lifestyle should bear witness to the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. One is ready to learn and transmit the teachings of the Catholic Church to others with competence and commitment. 
A friend set him up on a blind date, and his friend was from Holy Trinity too. She said they were looking for catechists, and so John took it as a call for him to serve in this ministry.
The Archdiocese of Singapore marks September as the catechist’s month.
When asked what motivated him to be a catechist, John said, "I wanted to know more about my faith. Being a catechist makes me want to find out more, so I know how to answer my teen's tough questions like, "If God loves us so much, why does he let us suffer?"
Following the "Bible in a Year" and "Catechism in a Year" podcasts by American Father Mike Schmitz, a renowned public speaker, has been revelational and transformative. The same has helped him deepen John’s faith, commitment, and service.
According to John, one main challenge he faces is keeping the teens engaged in matters of faith and religion.
"Now that they are more comfortable and making friends, I must find ways to keep them focused on the session instead of chatting amongst themselves. We must get creative and not be too strict like schoolteachers," John said.
He found that sharing personal stories and experiences and engaging them on a personal level was very effective while teaching faith to young people and others.
"Getting to know them as a person and becoming their friend also helps as they start to open up and are comfortable coming to me about their questions or doubts about their faith," he added.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.