"Don't waste your time being a better person," Fr Richards Ambrose exclaimed. "Nowhere in the Bible are we told to become better! No!" He then explained that St Paul told us that "if we are in the Lord, we must become a 'new creation'". Strong words spoken during his homily given at the annual 'Shine Jesus Shine' Youth Rally (SJS) on July 18th. Like last year, Kallang Theatre was the venue, but due to technical difficulties, it was held only over a day. A 'Praise and Worship' session led by local singer Clement Chow preceded Mass at 2pm, with multimedia segements interspersing the liturgy. Archdiocesan youth chaplain Fr Michael Sitaram was the main celebrant, who entertained the crowd with his usual wisecracks.
Mass lasted till 5pm, after which a different programme was carried out in the evening at 7pm. Local celebrities now joined Fr Richards in explaining the 'Our Father' prayer. Gregory Teo, Pierre Png, Steven Lim and Kevin Verghese, acted in a short skit where several 'students' trying to understand the Lord's Prayer. 'Teacher' Zachery Moselle 'walked' through the prayer with them and 'preacher' John Klass appeared in the spotlight now and again to give more insights.
Probably in the most touching part of the rally was when radio's 'breakfast nuts' Joe Augustin and the Flying Dutchman (FD) came onstage to share about their faith and personal relationships with their fathers. "My father had a problem expressing the love he had for us as children," FD confessed, "I learnt something from him, that is never to purchase love." He said that this would make one seem to be like a provider, for "it's not what you give, it is how you give and how much of yourself you give". Joe Augustine’s father, though, was strict about instructing him about the Catholic faith. "Because you are not sure about your faith, you will begin to falter." Joe emphasised the importance of knowing about one's own faith, because when we don't, we will begin to believe the bad 'things that are based on hearsay' said by other people.
"Forget the prayers you've been taught, learn to speak to God," a good piece of advice FD had from a 70-year-old Irish priest which he had been practising for the past 10 years. FD then summed up saying that we must "teach our children about our religion, to love it, know it, and most of all, to use it, because we are the only ones who can teach our children that."
The Rally ended that night at almost 10pm with an Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. More than 3000 people had been touched by the event, especially for Kenneth Lim, 18, who answered one of the Altar Calls. "I never knew that the Catholic Liturgy was so beautiful,"
he said. "I have now decided to be baptised a Catholic!"
“Holy be Your name.” Fr Richards lamented that the name of God is misused on television and the media. “People don’t get what they want”, Fr Richards said they would exclaim “Jesus Christ!” “Worse, when people say ‘Shit!’, and then they add the two together—‘Jesus Christ shit!’” The audience reacted in laughter. “When we say ‘holy be Your name’, we are saying that ‘may it be sanctified, may it be glorified’.”
The Christus Voce youth choir from the parish of Risen Christ was in attendance to lend voices for the hymns at Mass. Audrey Tan, 18, had been with the choir for more than 6 years. An Anderson Junior College student, it was her second time performing for SJS. She said it was a “very good experience”, because the choir “got to work with, besides ourselves and among ourselves,” it also had to “work with the band”, thus learning how to “coordinate with people”. She also was glad that she was serving God in the process.
The ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ youth rally will be held again on December 2, 2000 in the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The Catholic News (August 8 1999)