A catechist's special ministry to the dialect-speaking elderly

Goh’s personal ministry is unique. The 77-year-old has been conducting catechism lessons in dialect for the elderly since 1993.

Singapore
Aug 26 2014, 12:47 PM
A catechist's special ministry to the dialect-speaking elderly
Veteran catechist Andrew Goh.

It is to the credit of veteran catechist Andrew Goh’s efforts that 11 people, most of them above 40 years old, received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist on August 10 at the Church of the Holy Family.

Goh’s personal ministry is unique. The 77-year-old has been conducting catechism lessons in dialect for the elderly since 1993.

Father Damian De Wind presided over the ceremony, attended by about 60 family members and friends of those to be baptised.

Two young boys received the Sacrament of Baptism while two teenagers received the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist.

“I am so happy!” exclaimed 73-year-old Maria Chan after she received the Sacraments.

Ms Chan’s brother, Joseph, said that he was grateful to Mr Goh for helping his sister become a Catholic.

“Thanks to Andrew, she’s finally gotten baptised,” he said, speaking through his tears.

Another new Catholic, Mr Derrick Wong, 65, also commended Mr Goh for his work, adding that Mr Goh had given him scripture verses to learn, which he pasted “on the fridge”.

Goh uses various visual aids to share the Good News with the elderly. These include coloured pictures, mustard seeds, salt, bread, grapes, a rope and a crucifix.

Goh said that he has taught a total of more than 1,200 elderly people and prepared them for baptism.

Scooting around on his motorcycle, he gives one-on-one lessons in homes, coffee shops and void decks, and also weekly classes at Novena Church and Holy Family parish.

The lessons in the two churches are conducted in English and dialect. With about at least 40 people attending each session, the numbers continue to grow, he said. This year alone, he has helped 60 elderly people get baptised, he said.

People usually learn about Mr Goh’s classes through word of mouth.

“Even those who have gotten baptised still come back for my lessons,” said Mr Goh. 

He does not find his personal ministry a big challenge as “I love the Lord so much so he helps me.”

However, there isn’t anyone to take over this special ministry from Goh after he “retires”.

“You must have the calling, if not then no point. I hope people who want to be catechists can come to learn. I can also teach them dialects. It’s so simple,” Goh said.

Source: Catholic News

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