Encountering God in School: Ceana Joy Chalissery and Gretchel Flores Orbeta, Assumption English School

“Catholic education seeks to give our students a holistic education for life and love; not just for a career, not just for tomorrow, not even for this life on earth only but for eternal life.  This is the greatest gift we can give to our children. ” – Archbishop William Goh

In Singapore, our Catholic education seeks to raise students to be morally responsible, good citizens who contribute to the moral fabric of our society.

In this feature, two students from Assumption English School  share their experiences of their Catholic education and how it has shaped them.

————————

Ceana Joy Chalissery

I was admitted into CHIJ- Our Lady Queen of Peace when I was 7 but did not really understand the importance or significance of my Catholic education until I was in primary 6. I was impressed at how the rest of my school mates were able to lead in prayers and I looked forward to be given those opportunities.

 

Gratitude in Service

My wish was granted when I joined the Assumption English (Secondary) School. I was selected to lead morning prayers in school and was asked if I wanted to be a Lector. I was elated because I can serve the Lord. This was when I started journeying with Jesus, and I am proud to have done so for the past 5 years.

At the beginning, I was scared and nervous to lead and read at mass. However, I was supported by my seniors who were 2 years older than me. They were very encouraging and with their guidance, I could speak in front of large crowds and my reading ability improved. I became more confident, and this helped me to articulate well for my oral exams, national exams, and at debates.

 

Receiving and Gifting

Beyond my exams, I book and attend mass regularly. Attending daily mass connects me to God as I receive Him daily through the eucharist.

One key value I hold dearly is compassion. I seek the opportunity to extend my hand to friends who may need help in their subjects, and to others who may feel lonely and uninspired.

In today’s ever-changing society, it is critical to gradually form relationships and to communicate, especially with the marginalised. Indeed, God taught us to love ourselves, our neighbours, and even our enemies. Thus, I see compassion and love as fundamental values that will enable me to reach out meaningfully to others.

Fuelled by my Catholic values, I started volunteering in church as a warden. I moved on to become an assistant Catechist. I am motivated when the students ask questions and are curious to know God, to which I can help to explain and facilitate their learning.

My extended family, and in particular, my parents are the catalyst for my faith formation and in choosing the ministry I am called to serve. In fact, my dad was a Catechist in his younger days. My cousins who live overseas shared how they have examinations for their Catechism classes too. While we do not have such exams locally, we try to make it more exciting for the students in their learning journey. We share snacks to encourage them, and we embrace the concept of community.

Back in school, I help my non-Catholic friends to understand and appreciate the significant events, signs and symbols, and activities related to our faith.  Being involved in ‘Flag days’ organised by Boys’ Town and St. Gabriel’s Secondary also allowed me to deepen my Catholic identity. Asking bystanders for donations is not easy, but I endeavour to let them be aware that such small acts of kindness goes a long way for the less-privileged.

 

Serve as Christ did

As I reminisce how my dear grandfather passed on, it is my hope to be able to serve the sick and dying as a nurse in future. Though it was tough to see my grandfather go, I recognise that Jesus is with us even after death, and we should always trust in God’s plan and pray for the souls of the faithful departed. Empowered by my Catholic faith, I want to accompany the sick, the dying, the comatose, and offer them support and love. I hope they can see and experience the comfort of Jesus through me.

 

 

Gretchel Flores Orbeta

My parents and a few of their siblings migrated to Singapore back in the 1900s, while my sister and I were born in Singapore. Although I was not in a Catholic school for my primary education, I chose to attend the Assumption English School (AES) for my Secondary education.

Greater spirituality in a Catholic School

Beyond the prayer room where we can spend quiet moments, the school environment is lively and makes my soul feel alive and renewed. I feel protected spiritually because the crucifix reminds me of God’s presence. This is important for my faith.

In a Catholic school, we discuss regularly about God and engage in many faith activities. We partake in ‘Faith Alive’ sessions every Friday and welcome our non-Catholic friends to do so too.

As a Young Montfortian Associate (YMA) president myself, I was called to lead the students in activities so that they have the opportunity to know more about God. Despite the stress in my responsibilities, I know that God will not judge me based on my faults, but instead, always be present to guide me.

 

Love triumphs

Love is an important virtue to me, as exemplified by how God loves us. Recounting the movie “The Passion of Christ”, I am grateful for Jesus’ sacrificial love for us. Through his suffering and pain, I learn not to complain about my little inconveniences, but to be appreciative of the things I have instead.

Beyond being more aware about my leadership responsibilities as a YMA president, I try to show love through my words, actions and deeds. For example, I tell my parents I love them not only verbally, but also by helping with household chores.

In the same way, I show my schoolmates care by sharing my homily takeaways and personal encounters with them. Be it challenges or sacrifices, I trust that God will prompt me to go where He guides my heart to because He loves, and forgives us, so long as we choose to repent and keep close to Him.

As we celebrate our Catholic Church’s 200th anniversary, I thank God for His many blessings bestowed upon us. I know He loves us and in return, we shall show our love for Him though our own little ways. Enlighten us, Lord, with your wisdom to keep our faith going. May Our Lady of Assumption and St Louis-Marie de Monfort also pray for us. This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

More stories

“I am blessed to have served at three Mission trips”: Velasquez Alessandra Ysobel De Vera

“I am blessed to have served at three Mission trips”: Velasquez Alessandra Ysobel De Vera

Called to Serve as a Couple: Daniel and Shelley Ee

Called to Serve as a Couple: Daniel and Shelley Ee

He Makes All Things Beautiful In His Time: Priscelia Clare Chan

He Makes All Things Beautiful In His Time: Priscelia Clare Chan

Happy To Have Found The Narrow Path: Andrew J. Wong

Happy To Have Found The Narrow Path: Andrew J. Wong

Redeemed Once Again By God’s Love and Compassion: Cathy Mosqueda

Redeemed Once Again By God’s Love and Compassion: Cathy Mosqueda

Encountering God in School

Encountering God in School

Encountering God In School: Nathenia Nicholas, Johnathan Khoo, Bernadette Teo, Ezekiel Ang

Encountering God In School: Nathenia Nicholas, Johnathan Khoo, Bernadette Teo, Ezekiel Ang

Thank God I’m Found: Br Dexter Chua

Thank God I’m Found: Br Dexter Chua

Spreading the Word of God through Technology: Xavier Pan

Spreading the Word of God through Technology: Xavier Pan

Loving Without Judgment: Sr Mary Soh, FMM

Loving Without Judgment: Sr Mary Soh, FMM

“God is always beside you carrying the cross with you”: Januarius Chiew

“God is always beside you carrying the cross with you”: Januarius Chiew

“Conversion to the Catholic Faith has given us the chance to be  Renewed, and to Love and Serve Him”: Susan Chua

“Conversion to the Catholic Faith has given us the chance to be Renewed, and to Love and Serve Him”: Susan Chua

“Discipleship is to become a 24/7 disciple of Christ”: Mike Arents

“Discipleship is to become a 24/7 disciple of Christ”: Mike Arents

“Not My Journey Alone, But Together With Thee”: JUDE TAN

“Not My Journey Alone, But Together With Thee”: JUDE TAN

“God has a plan for you”: Fr Gerard Louis

“God has a plan for you”: Fr Gerard Louis

Called To Serve In More Ways Than One: KELVIN LIM

Called To Serve In More Ways Than One: KELVIN LIM

Encountering God in School: Andrea Lim, Clare Phang, Stephanie, CHIJ

Encountering God in School: Andrea Lim, Clare Phang, Stephanie, CHIJ

Encountering God in School:  Ceana Joy Chalissery and Gretchel Flores Orbeta, Assumption English School

Encountering God in School: Ceana Joy Chalissery and Gretchel Flores Orbeta, Assumption English School

“Every lay Catholic is called to be a Catholyst”: Nick Jarvis

“Every lay Catholic is called to be a Catholyst”: Nick Jarvis

Paying it forward: Keenan Tan

Paying it forward: Keenan Tan

Encountering God in School: Teresa Sea and Johanson Joramsa, Hai Sing Catholic School

Encountering God in School: Teresa Sea and Johanson Joramsa, Hai Sing Catholic School

Encountering God in School: Angelina Tiong, Lucas Alcantra,  Mangila Trisha Boquiren

Encountering God in School: Angelina Tiong, Lucas Alcantra, Mangila Trisha Boquiren

Encountering God in School: Ryan, Cherelle, Chrislyn, Marcus

Encountering God in School: Ryan, Cherelle, Chrislyn, Marcus

“I am exactly where I am meant to be”: Trudy Chua on her journey as a music therapist in hospice and palliative care.

“I am exactly where I am meant to be”: Trudy Chua on her journey as a music therapist in hospice and palliative care.

Bringing the Love of God to the Aged Sick: Sr. Mary Tan, St. Joseph’s Home

Bringing the Love of God to the Aged Sick: Sr. Mary Tan, St. Joseph’s Home

“It was God who called me to His Church”: Lucia Martha Lee

“It was God who called me to His Church”: Lucia Martha Lee

“Submitting to God’s will, accepting what God has for us” : Gregory and Elizabeth Krygsman

“Submitting to God’s will, accepting what God has for us” : Gregory and Elizabeth Krygsman

“I am called to be a disciple here and now”: Br. Marcus Chew on his discernment journey

“I am called to be a disciple here and now”: Br. Marcus Chew on his discernment journey

Defined by Christ and not by my work: Elaine Tsui on what gives her strength to soldier on in a job that is not her calling

Defined by Christ and not by my work: Elaine Tsui on what gives her strength to soldier on in a job that is not her calling

Encountering God in School: Sophia Hirro and Megan Geofran, Marymount Convent

Encountering God in School: Sophia Hirro and Megan Geofran, Marymount Convent

Encountering God in School: Angelina Chua and Kenderique Lee, Holy Innocents’ Primary School

Encountering God in School: Angelina Chua and Kenderique Lee, Holy Innocents’ Primary School

“He made us better for each other and for our families”: Ashley Yeo’s journey in surrendering to God enabled her to find fulfilment as a wife and mother

“He made us better for each other and for our families”: Ashley Yeo’s journey in surrendering to God enabled her to find fulfilment as a wife and mother

Encountering God in School: Andrew Tan, Timothy Abaoag, Montfort Junior School

Encountering God in School: Andrew Tan, Timothy Abaoag, Montfort Junior School

Encountering God in School: Amelia Jason, Avelyn E, Joanna Susanto, St Anthony’s Canossian Primary School

Encountering God in School: Amelia Jason, Avelyn E, Joanna Susanto, St Anthony’s Canossian Primary School

“We have to keep trying to be witnesses for Christ” : Pauline Goh

“We have to keep trying to be witnesses for Christ” : Pauline Goh

Encountering God in School: Marc Loh, Dylan Lee, Linus Tan, St Stephen’s School

Encountering God in School: Marc Loh, Dylan Lee, Linus Tan, St Stephen’s School

Encountering God in School: Steven Wang, Alexander Bryan Yulianto, Raphael Fong, St Gabriel Primary School

Encountering God in School: Steven Wang, Alexander Bryan Yulianto, Raphael Fong, St Gabriel Primary School

Encountering God in School: Rayson Oh and Sean Gan, Catholic High School, Primary

Encountering God in School: Rayson Oh and Sean Gan, Catholic High School, Primary

Encountering God in School: Natalie Chong, SJI and Joanna Ong, CJC

Encountering God in School: Natalie Chong, SJI and Joanna Ong, CJC

“It is urgent times to give back” : Stephen Raj

“It is urgent times to give back” : Stephen Raj

Discovering God’s Plan, Living God’s Call: Joel Leong had cruised along for years till he decided to rediscover his faith

Discovering God’s Plan, Living God’s Call: Joel Leong had cruised along for years till he decided to rediscover his faith

Encountering God in School: Katherine Taylor and Anika Muthukumar, SJI International

Encountering God in School: Katherine Taylor and Anika Muthukumar, SJI International

“Learning to Love Myself Because God Loves Me” : Shye Anne

“Learning to Love Myself Because God Loves Me” : Shye Anne

“Following God’s plan opened my eyes to the struggles of families and individuals” : In serving migrants through ACMI, Esther Chia is learning to truly surrender

“Following God’s plan opened my eyes to the struggles of families and individuals” : In serving migrants through ACMI, Esther Chia is learning to truly surrender

Encountering God in School: Tiffany Lim, Jamie Joshua, Julia Joshua, Natalie Tong, CHIJ Schools

Encountering God in School: Tiffany Lim, Jamie Joshua, Julia Joshua, Natalie Tong, CHIJ Schools

Encountering God in School: Judith, CJC and Ethan, SJI

Encountering God in School: Judith, CJC and Ethan, SJI

Encountering God in School: Brian Lai and Brian Loh, SJI Junior

Encountering God in School: Brian Lai and Brian Loh, SJI Junior

“We Bring the Gospel of Christ to the School community”: Fr. Henry Siew on What Lies at the Heart of Catholic Education

“We Bring the Gospel of Christ to the School community”: Fr. Henry Siew on What Lies at the Heart of Catholic Education

Developing Whole Persons who will Grow To Be Men and Women for God and for Society: 4 Catholic Educators share their testimonials of Catholic Education

Developing Whole Persons who will Grow To Be Men and Women for God and for Society: 4 Catholic Educators share their testimonials of Catholic Education

“Teachers Who Show What It Means To Live the Catholic Life” : Prof Lily Kong

“Teachers Who Show What It Means To Live the Catholic Life” : Prof Lily Kong

“Singing is a beautiful way of praying,”  says Jeanne Sng, 11, a member of the Cathedral Children’s Choir

“Singing is a beautiful way of praying,” says Jeanne Sng, 11, a member of the Cathedral Children’s Choir

Scattered Soul to Passionate Believer:  Jennifer Erika Robert and her family  found their way back to God after years of trials

Scattered Soul to Passionate Believer: Jennifer Erika Robert and her family found their way back to God after years of trials

“We May Be Asked To Do More than We Expected”: George Yeo

“We May Be Asked To Do More than We Expected”: George Yeo

Different Backgrounds, One Journey in Life Giving:  Brian and Sue Richmond Recount how God has His Ways in Bringing People Together

Different Backgrounds, One Journey in Life Giving: Brian and Sue Richmond Recount how God has His Ways in Bringing People Together

“We Can Carry Our Cross Well” : Fr Luke Fong

“We Can Carry Our Cross Well” : Fr Luke Fong

“Faith Has To Be Experienced”:  Joesen Francis Wong found God through a painful encounter  and is now discovering the joy of serving

“Faith Has To Be Experienced”: Joesen Francis Wong found God through a painful encounter and is now discovering the joy of serving

Second Chances that Changed Him From Being A Sunday Catholic: Nicholas Chee

Second Chances that Changed Him From Being A Sunday Catholic: Nicholas Chee

“God can save and I want to share that with youths” : Missionary couple Edwyn and Karen De Souza

“God can save and I want to share that with youths” : Missionary couple Edwyn and Karen De Souza

“God Provides If It Is His Will For Me”:  Three Encounters in Deniece Wong’s Faith Journey  Convinces Her God Provides When the Time is Right

“God Provides If It Is His Will For Me”: Three Encounters in Deniece Wong’s Faith Journey Convinces Her God Provides When the Time is Right

Healing Myself, Healing Others:  Sebastian Liew is helping others regain their health  after surrendering his health to God 20 years ago

Healing Myself, Healing Others: Sebastian Liew is helping others regain their health after surrendering his health to God 20 years ago

“In contemplative walking, I see and live in God’s presence everywhere”: Patrick Prakash

“In contemplative walking, I see and live in God’s presence everywhere”: Patrick Prakash

Every Jump, A Leap of Faith: Jonathan Chan

Every Jump, A Leap of Faith: Jonathan Chan

‘With God, all things are possible’ (Matt 19:26):  9 year-old Travis Chua holds this verse close to his heart  in overcoming challenges  with Cerebral Palsy

‘With God, all things are possible’ (Matt 19:26): 9 year-old Travis Chua holds this verse close to his heart in overcoming challenges with Cerebral Palsy

Philip and Christine Seah witnessed how building God-centred relationships have affirmed their family and  enabled them to bring the faith to the workplace

Philip and Christine Seah witnessed how building God-centred relationships have affirmed their family and enabled them to bring the faith to the workplace

For the Love of God: Fr. Michael Arro MEP

For the Love of God: Fr. Michael Arro MEP

Called to walk with death row inmates : Sr. Gerard Fernandez

Called to walk with death row inmates : Sr. Gerard Fernandez

Christopher Wong used to serve for all the wrong reasons until he attended his first Prayer Experience Retreat

Christopher Wong used to serve for all the wrong reasons until he attended his first Prayer Experience Retreat

“Fullness of life comes from being with God and His people”: this revelation came to Sharen Goh, not through a spiritual manifestation, but through a gradual awakening  in a time of grace

“Fullness of life comes from being with God and His people”: this revelation came to Sharen Goh, not through a spiritual manifestation, but through a gradual awakening in a time of grace

“We have but one single response – Lord, we are yours”: Tyrone & Girlie Velasquez’s encounters of the Lord and their daily cooperation to His will give them the strength and joy to journey with families and women going through pain

“We have but one single response – Lord, we are yours”: Tyrone & Girlie Velasquez’s encounters of the Lord and their daily cooperation to His will give them the strength and joy to journey with families and women going through pain

Nilo revels in how boundless, extra-ordinary, profound, and personal God’s love is

Nilo revels in how boundless, extra-ordinary, profound, and personal God’s love is

Journeying with Families of the Dying and the Dead: David Tan sees it as his calling to serve those in need of comfort and support

Journeying with Families of the Dying and the Dead: David Tan sees it as his calling to serve those in need of comfort and support

A calling she wants to fulfil: Jenny on how God is using her as His instrument

A calling she wants to fulfil: Jenny on how God is using her as His instrument

“We are each other’s saint-makers”: Colin and Madelene, couple facilitators helping young adults rediscover the value of significant relationships

“We are each other’s saint-makers”: Colin and Madelene, couple facilitators helping young adults rediscover the value of significant relationships

Internship and Prayer: How God confirmed Fionn’s calling

Internship and Prayer: How God confirmed Fionn’s calling

22-year-old Emma found a whole new outlook after receiving a newfound revelation at 14

22-year-old Emma found a whole new outlook after receiving a newfound revelation at 14

Share This