As requested several times on the history of NTU Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group (CCPG), I decided to put here in this blog a letter that I wrote to my friend. Just in case, it is requested again, or lost in the ocean of my inbox. A Disclaimer, It is accurate only as what I can recall 🙂 Enjoy.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Oka Kurniawan
Date: Monday, 9 October 2006
Subject: Re: Tracing the history of CSA
To: Elizabeth Teo
Cc: dre frois , Jebie Kananggar , Maya Kristandyo
Dear Elizabeth and Andre,
well, first and foremost, I have a bad memory :p
ehm, well, as far that I can remember The CCPG started when I was in my 2nd year of undergraduate. So it means around year 2001.
It actually started from some people including the CSA EXCO. The people whom I can remember was Dominic (president of CSA, I think), Marcus, Alva, and Merry. I also remember Lydia, if I am not mistaken.
Well, they told us there was no charismatic group before. But in CSA there had been some praise and worship session, maybe before the mass or something like a praise and worship rally. I remember Dominic once lead a short session before mass.
So at that time, those people, especially Alva and Marcus (if I am not mistaken), they wanted to form a charismatic group in NTU. And they approached some younger generation, simply because it was their final year of study. They wouldn’t be able to see that, and I guess they are fully aware of it. But I guess they wanted to leave the legacy to CSA :p
And they approached some people, like Jebie, Maya, Marilyn, ehm..who else…well ya anyway, they started to form these people. So they have a “closed” session every week. Actually Jebie had been exposed to catholic charismatic before, but the rest have not. So they feel the necessity to form those people.
They asked the people to take turn in leading a small praise and worship, and they tried to introduce the spirituality of the catholic charismatic renewal. And they did it at CSA room. You can imagine these people clapped and sang in this small room with those many stuffs 🙂 (at least in those years)
then after about several months or maybe about one year, they started to open the prayer session to public. They had it in Tutorial Room, I remember that we had to move the sound system from Nanyang House to Tutorial Room using a trolley. hehehe
The response was quite good. But I guess many are not really familiar with the catholic charismatic. So in a way, we were a bit careful in exercising the gifts, etc. We did not want to be a stumbling block for these people.
And then, after those final year students graduated, Jebie took offer as the leader of the charismatic group. Since it was CSA exco who initiated it, it was not really an issue to acknowledge the CCPG ( catholic charismatic prayer group) as part of CSA. It had always been a part of CSA.
For Jebie and some of the leaders at that time, we believed that, Catholic Charismatic Renewal must always be within the Church Hierarchy. The CCR is meant for the Catholic Church and will always be within the Catholic Church. And so we were in full submission to CSA which we see as part of this Church Hierarchy.
And since we knew that every CCR group must belong to a Body of Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Archdiocese, we started to make contact with SACCRE (singapore archdiocesan catholic charismatic renewal). And we registered ourselves as a real act of submission to the Bishop, who was Gregory Yong at that time. And so Jebie started to attend the meeting in SACCRE every month.
And we started our prayer meetings weekly, every Tuesday. We had our prayer meetings at CSA room when the number was quite small. There was time when we used Tutorial Rooms, and function room at Nanyang House (NYH), but then we tried to use the activity room at NYH. But now, we used the student’s activity centre, hehe.
Ehm, what else can I say. Well, ya after one year when we openned the prayer meeting to public, we prayed and discerned whether we should conduct the Life in the Spirit Seminar. There was many obstacles since not many of us had attended LISS before. But after some consultation with some people, we decided to have our first LISS. We invited some priest like Friar Gerald Victor, Br. Jivan, to give sessions in the LISS. The rest of the sessions were conducted by ourselves.
But it was a marvelous experience. There were so many obstacles, that was during SARS also I guess, so we needed to make many precautions, we even measured the temperatures everyday during the retreat. So every morning the participants could not talk, not because of silent moment, but because there was a thermometer in their mouth.
I remember this was at the end of my third year in undergraduates (2003). There were so many miracles, like how we obtain the thermometers, etc. It was just a great blessing from the Lord.
We also made contacts with several group such as YPM (now Amplify) to help us in this first LISS. Simply because we had not many people who had experienced in conducting LISS, only few of us at that time. And at another times ( I forgot when ), Fr. John Paul introduced us to Livingstones group which was a former catholic charismatic group in NUS.
well, going back to the first LISS, I guess, this LISS was the start of the growth of the CCPG. The members started to experience God’s love and forgiveness in their lives. New people started to serve the CCPG. It was just a marvelous work of God. One of the people who attended this LISS was Iwan, who became the president of CCPG in his third year. I always believe that the Love of God is the main motive of all services that we do.
We did face some difficulties, maybe because of the image of the catholic charismatic renewal. We too often in the defensive sides since many people thought that we were not catholic. And so, I remember at that time, we decided to teach the members more on the catholic faith during our prayer meeting session. We talk about Mary, about Eucharist, and some other things on the Catholic Faith. We wanted to make sure that these catholic charismatic people knew about their catholic faith and did not astray to some other denominations. We emphasized the importance of the Sunday Eucharist compared to our prayer meeting, and nothing could replace our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration. We tried to teach some of the new leaders on obedience and humility to the Church. We tried to teach on how to exercise the charismatic gifts with wisdom that God has given.
We also tried to teach the meaning of the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” or as Fr Jivan told us “the Releasing of the Holy Spirit” for us catholics. How the Baptism in the Holy Spirit does not replace our sacramental baptism but rather bring the grace of our Christian initiation sacraments into active in our daily lives. We always tried to teach that the mission of the Renewal is to bring the renewal of basic christian lives in CSA. We always reminded them that CSA is our parish, CSA is our local church. And this is the place where the CCPG should serve. Not as a partner to CSA, but rather as a servant for CSA.
Well, those are some of the things that I can recall.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or any others. I cc this email to Jebie and Maya, in case you want to contact them personally. I believe they know better than me, especially in the early years of CCPG. And they have a better memory as well 🙂 hehehe
take care 🙂
your brother in His love,
Elizabeth Teo wrote:
We’re doing an article for the Canticle, tracing the history of CSA.
Would like to find out when and how CPG actually started and how it
became part of CSA.
Thank you for your help. Look forward to hearing from you soon.
Elizabeth and Andre