Thirty baptised in IHM during Easter Vigil mass

by Brenda Nonis-Desker |  Edited on April 9, 2024

Far shot of the newly baptised around the church altar

Table of contents

Five others were received into the Catholic Church

Days before the big night, Teresa Chee, Gerald Toh, Damien Chow, Cindy Bong and Joseph Wong shared with IHM Heartbeat their RCIA experiences and their plans after Baptism.


Teresa Chee: Chance meeting with a nun changed her life

hb 2024 04 baptised teresa
Teresa being baptised.

Teresa Chee’s first encounter with the Lord came in the form of Sister Agatha Tan IJ. Some time in 2022, she met Sr Agatha when she went to pick up her daughter from the kindergarten. A kind gesture in the form of a lift given to Sr Agatha led Teresa to open up about the challenges she was facing with her older children at that time. She was in tears as she admitted that she felt helpless in dealing with teenage angst. Sr Agatha smiled, thanked her and urged her to pray as she was dropped off. The two never met again.

Christianity was no stranger to Teresa as she is married to a Catholic. She loved her life just like all typical mothers; living through parental anxiety but found that she was not managing the ordeals with her children very well.

Her chance meeting with Sr Agatha led her to pray. She prayed to accept the things she could not change. Prayer changed her life and she found herself believing that God had changed her. She was no longer worrying about the things she could not control. She also believed that her meeting with Sr Agatha was no mere coincidence but a message from God. She decided last year that this would be the right time to sign up for RCIA. Her prayer life and understanding of the faith had grown and she felt that the ‘blindfold was lifted’.


Gerald Toh: He wants to serve the underprivileged

A row of people waiting to be baptised
Gerald (far right) waiting for his reception into the Catholic faith.

Gerald Toh was 15 when he was baptised in the Protestant Church. Despite being an introvert, he started getting involved in various church groups. However, all church activities came to a standstill after he and his peers graduated. His introverted nature saw him pull away from the church.

Gerald describes himself as an ambitious, competitive and highly organised individual who plans every aspect of his life. Despite his career success, he could never shake off the soft prompting of heading back to the Church. However, he chose the Catholic Church for his return. He felt he could attend mass without drawing much attention. Over time, he decided to sign-up for the RCIA programme.

The experience was special and he wanted to surrender to the Lord, living by the Bible verse ‘Not my will, but yours be done’. His plan is to serve the Lord through the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) at Our Lady Star of the Sea, where he feels that helping the underprivileged will help him stay connected to the Lord and his people.


Damien Chow and Cindy Bong: Their marriage bond grew stronger

Damien and Cindy Chow with their children
Damien and Cindy with their children (eldest to youngest) Jaydon, Kaelyn and Jonas.

Damien Chow was born into a Catholic family and was baptised as an infant. He has been married to Cindy Bong, a non-Catholic, for 20 years and they have three beautiful children all of whom are baptised. Damien describes himself as an “ordinary Catholic” who participated in the sacraments and Sunday rituals for most of his life until he joined the RCIA programme last year with Cindy.

The RCIA journey enhanced their marriage bond, with Jesus as their moral compass. During the retreat, Damien felt the presence of the Lord and it taught him the importance of humility and deepened his belief that Jesus dispels brokenness and heals all wounds.

Cindy felt a physical presence of Jesus’ love through the sharing and prayers from her fellow elects and sponsors. The emotional experience tugged at her heartstrings and her love for Jesus and her family. It dug deep into her heart. She now has a profound understanding of her favourite verse; John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Cindy vows to live her life with this mantra.

Damien and Cindy are determined to build their faith as a family through Bible readings and contributing to the Family Life Ministry.


Joseph Wong: His family, his inspiration

Joseph being baptised
Joseph being baptised.

Joseph Wong has been married for 23 years and is a father of two sons. Though not a Catholic, he had been attending mass at IHM with his family for several years. His wife is a Catholic and seeing her passion for the Catholic faith and his son’s devotion to the Youth Ministry, he was inspired to join two mission trips organised by ACTS, to Phnom Penh and the Philippines in recent years. These mission trips gave him a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction and he felt grounded spiritually and mentally.

Despite persuasion from his wife, he was hesitant to join the RCIA until he was faced with problems at work in 2022. With his wife’s encouragement, he started praying fervently and encountered Jesus during his trials. He managed to overcome the difficult period in his life. This was the turning point and he signed up to join the RCIA.

“My experiences during the RCIA sessions gave me a different perspective on life. I have learnt about patience and forgiveness. This journey has grounded me and I feel more connected and present with the Lord. My life feels more balanced.”

Joseph also shared that his encounter with Jesus came in the form of the sponsors and fellow elects who have been so generous of their time and care. The bonds that were formed during this time has made an impact in his personal life and increased his love for his neighbours. He said that his Catholic journey will not end at Easter but rather propel him into ‘living the Bible’’ with his family and peers.


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