We are featuring a series of nine Faith Sharing of Virtues of St. Anthony of Padua that were presented during the fiesta 9-day novena masses. This will temporarily replace the Sunday Gospel Reflections; after which the Gospel Reflections will return.
by Rocky Chan
Good evening, I am Rocky Chan, ministry head for the Luke 18 Community here at San Antonio. My wife and I were called to serve our parish as adult leaders for Luke 18 sometime in the summer of 2008, just a few months after we got married. Six years, two children, nineteen retreats (which we call Weekends) and about 400 lukers later, Yen and I are still here.
What is Luke 18?
Our name comes from the passage of Luke 18:16-17 “and Jesus said to them: Let the children come to me and do not prevent them because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of heaven like a child shall not enter it.”
Simply put, Luke 18 is a church community for children from Grade 6 to 4th Year High School. It starts with a weekend that is given by the children with the help of adult leaders such as myself, my wife, and a whole team of volunteers who have made this community their ministry. We have been around for 25 years and a few of the original Lukers have children that are a part of the community.
The mission of our ministry is summed up in three words. Spread God’s Love. And this has been our credo for almost 30 years.
Through these 6 years, Yen and I have borne witness to an ever-evolving community of young people, finding their place in their new faith family and the world around them. We watched awkward teens grow into fine young adults, many of whom have continued their faith journey in Antioch upon entering college age and gone on to bigger and better things, with the seeds of their first faith community blossoming into a mature understanding of their role as Catholics in the modern world.
As young Catholics, we encourage Lukers to start looking into their own burgeoning faith, and, through our prayer meetings and outreach activities, we expose them to an ever widening world around them, a world that needs the love of Christ in the unique way that only the youth can share.
I am personally inspired by the way the youth is called to action in times of calamity. Since Ondoy, the youth has taken an active role in the calamity ministry of San Antonio, and it always moves me to see throngs of lukers troop to San Antonio to spend endless hours repacking goods and hauling them from the staging areas to the trucks. During the relief efforts, everyone in the youth of San Antonio has a role to play. The lukers would repack the goods along with the Antiochers, while the SYAers would typically go with the trucks to distribute. Just like the body of Christ, every part has a purpose. It’s an amazing sight to behold.
As a result of my experience as an Antiocher in the 90s, an SYAer as a single adult, and now as a parent leader for Luke, my Catholic life has been blessed with a true sense of belonging and mission. I feel myself a part of a larger parish community and my participation in the Council has deepened my commitment not only as a Catholic, but as a servant of something bigger than my personal Luke 18 ministry. My experience in the Parish has likewise had a great impact on my young family’s prayer life, as my children, as young as they are, have made prayer a part of their daily lives, and I can’t wait for them to grow into their roles as young Catholics alive with their faith and spreading God’s love, in whatever way they are called to do.
And this dream for my children is exactly my vision for my ministry. As future leaders of this Parish, it is always my fervent hope that their experiences in Luke embolden them to seek out greater opportunities to serve as they mature in their faith. Whether they find themselves in Antioch, SYA or any of the other ministries of the Parish, I will ask the Lord’s forgiveness in the little pride I will take when I see my Lukers grow into their roles in our parish.
Already I see the fruits of the labors of my community, as former Lukers who are now into their adulthood have come back to serve the Luke 18 Community as bridge builders for their younger brothers and sisters, closing the gap not only between us oldies and the teenagers, but to the Antioch community as well. I bear witness to this and can only say: God is truly good.