Teaching our students to embrace faith as a way of life

Angela Chong

It is usual practice of the Sunday school teachers at St. Francis Xavier’s Church, Mong-Ha, to spend three years in preparing students for the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation. Besides classroom teaching, we organize activities such as outings to country parks to bring them closer to nature to appreciate God’s creation. Occasional visits to some of the local churches also inspire them with the early missionaries’ contribution to the development of Christianity in Macau.

For my Confirmation Class this year, I have made yet another new attempt. In March, I gave them an assignment to be accomplished individually during the Lenten period. They would do spiritual journaling, filling the pages with short paragraphs of two to three sentences under the guidance of the following questions: Have you prayed to God for a person or an incident? Has anyone or any incident made you think of Jesus Christ? Has anyone or any incident reminded you of a Bible quote? Have you undergone any change for the sake of Jesus Christ? Have you put into practice the teachings of Jesus Christ? In fact, the spiritual journal would be a collection of brief accounts of their spiritual experiences. My intention was to get them used to applying their faith to their everyday lives.

At the end of May, I collected their spiritual journals. Most of the students’ work still left much to be desired. This had been expected, given their young age and lack of experience of self-reflections. However, I was amazed at how well a few students described their experiences, good evidence of their genuine faith indeed. One student, for example, had written about her participation in the rite commemorating the Washing of the Feet on Maundy Thursday. She said she had seen Jesus Christ in the parish priest who washed her feet. Another shared about looking at the congregation from a different point of view as he was an altar server.

Now that they have received the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation, I hope that their practice of spiritual journaling will remain so that their Christian Faith will be woven into the fabric of their daily lives, embodying their beliefs through their actions, choices, and attitudes. In fact, they will learn to embrace the Christian faith not just as a set of beliefs but as a way of life.