Paying it forward: Keenan Tan

I count myself blessed to be born into a family where my parents live as good Christians, serving in church and in service to others. They inculcated the faith in me, and by their actions, I learnt to appreciate living my vocation as a child of God.

Growing my Catholic roots

My first encounter of being in ministry was when I was 13 years old. I had just been accepted into St Joseph’s Institution (SJI), which I was looking forward to because I had wanted to join the Legion of Mary (LOM).

It was through SJI and LOM that my faith grew and matured. I found like-minded friends who love God and want to serve Him. It put us at the centre of serving our Almighty, where we got to prepare for masses and morning prayers.

Our Spiritual Director then, Br. Michael Broughton, was also an inspiration to us because of his gift of knowledge. This helped me not only to progressively learn about Christ, but also, to witness the connections in today’s world and ponder upon what He has for all of us. I enjoy being part of LOM so much that I am still with them today.

Legion of Mary Book Barrow at NUS

Growing through Service

Since my time in SJI, I have serving God through forming of minds and hearts for Him. During my Junior College days, I volunteered as a Catechist. In University, I joined the Catholic Society and am grateful to serve as the President for a year.

This allowed me to grow and unite myself with the Catholic body. I recognised the importance of evangelisation; particularly how we should try to bring one person insofar that it would double our number at mass.

However, the greatest gift todate was the chance to serve God as a full-time worker at the parish of St. Mary’s of the Angels since 2006. As a Youth Worker, I spent 4 years building the young adults community there.

I could see God’s hand preparing me for my mission at St. Mary’s. He gave me excellent role models who demonstrated how our faith should be lived. He taught me many lessons on how to actualise the message of love in the Gospels.

I connected dearly, with Archbishop’s vision of a “Vibrant, Missionary, and Evangelising Church.” It was heart-warming to see youths gather to pray and serve God in the various communities and ministries which we started. Be it music, drama or theology, every youth who came forward to serve God through their talents was a sign of hope and assurance.

In this spirit of community, everyone was willing to help each other. For instance, when we organised a Confirmation camp, we could rely on the Music Ministry to lead worship. The Young Adults’ Ministry and Bible Group provided formation sessions alongside youths who stepped forth as facilitators.

Not perfect as always,  yet it was edifying to know we came together despite our differences to serve the one true God holistically.

 

Living My Faith Today

I continue to grow day-by-day with my Office of Young People (OYP) community, Seven Graces (7G), and through my mission of forming minds through the Catholic Theological Network (CTN).

In 7G, I am surrounded by peers who are trying to be more Christ-like. It was in 7G that I met my wife, who is very like-minded and grounded. How blessed I am to have her as a partner, who will make God the centre of our marriage!

In CTN, we run talks and workshops on Catholicism, while offering an avenue for people to ask difficult questions. Recently, we organised a set of talks on “Is God Real?”, which seeks to respond to the doubts and challenges of the society we live in.

It was heartening to see that the participants took a step closer to understanding the deeper dimensions of our faith. I cannot deny God’s work of grace in our lives, especially when I meet someone who wants to understand our religion more. In assisting them to understand the Why’s and the How’s, I do pray and hope that this will be an integral part in their conversion to the Catholic faith.

Seven Graces at OYP

My Prayer for the Catholic Church’s 200th Anniversary

Dear God, thank you for the multiple blessings in my life- all these groups that I am part of is because of the mission and foundation laid down by those whom you have sent in the past. I pray that you will allow all of us to continue building your Church for the next 200 years, so that the future will continue to have the same grace-filled experience of the Church, and in time to come, raise up a generation for Christ who will continue to evangelise in our country and beyond. Amen.

 

 

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