When their son was diagnosed with a rare eye condition, Raymond and his wife, Tammy, were at a loss as to what to do. Caden was 5 years old when he was diagnosed. “We visited many eye specialists as well as neurosurgeons to see what we could do,” said Raymond, 44.
Caden is visually impaired in his right eye. He has a brother, Lucas, who is 2 years younger. However due to the severity and rarity of Caden’s condition, doctors “deemed it too complicated and dangerous to administer any treatment or procedure,” Raymond said, adding that “our best option was to leave it as it was and continue to observe.”
Entering God’s house
It was then that other family members stepped in and suggested he turn to prayer. “My aunts from my father’s side were Catholics … and suggested I attend Novena sessions,” recalled Raymond. Although he was a Buddhist, Raymond shared that he turned to the Catholic Church because he had prior exposure to the faith when he attended St Stephen’s School.
Tammy, who was a free thinker, was invited by her friends to attend services at a megachurch.
Recalling his first visit to a Novena session at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS), Mr Choo said, “Upon entering the main church, I saw this sign that said: ‘You are now entering God’s house’. I began feeling very emotional and when I entered, tears streamed down my face.”
Raymond said he knew he was called by God to the Catholic faith after that experience.
The Choo family’s journey to the Catholic Church was triggered by Caden’s rare eye condition.
Clockwise from top left: Tammy, Raymond, Caden and Lucas
He and his wife also attended a healing service at the Catholic Spirituality Centre. “We spoke to Fr Erbin [Fernandez] after the service and he told us to decide upon our faith as a family,” said Mr Choo.
Faith of the Family
Together, Raymond and Tammy decided to attend Novena sessions together and soon found themselves signing up for the RCIA in 2016. Their sons also began attending catechism classes at OLPS.
“There were some sessions that we found really hard to attend because of other commitments and also looking after our kids.”
However, “seeing the RCIA core team so committed to reaching out to us made me reflect and I told myself not to come up with excuses,” said Raymond. The couple also said they enjoyed the sessions conducted by Fr Bruno Saint Girons, spiritual director of the RCIA at the parish.
“He made stories from the Bible relatable and applicable. The teachings were put into perspective really well,” shared Raymond.
Journeying through the RCIA as a couple also meant that each spouse had “tangible, emotional and spiritual support” from one another during sessions. “It also made it easier to make decisions at home because we, and also our kids, were growing together in the faith,” said Raymond.
Tammy also shared how she felt God was reaching out to her even “in the midst of a long working week”.
“Sometimes during the week you can have bad experiences at work or with people. Somehow during Mass on the weekend, I feel the homily or Gospel touching on these bad experiences and it’s then I feel God looking out for me,” she said.
“My hope when I first joined the RCIA was to ask God to look after Caden, for his condition not to spread or get worse. So far everything has remained status quo,” said Raymond.
Caden is now nine and attends St Stephen’s School with his brother.
The couple shared that getting baptised as a family at Easter was something “beautiful” and that they would make it a habit to attend Mass together. Tammy shared that she is currently serving in the parish’s Children’s Liturgy ministry and hopes to continue. Raymond said he hopes to join the lectors in the near future.