Timothy Que has started a Catholic Club at his Vancouver public high school. Photo by Terry O’Neill

Catholic student brings faith into public school

By  AGNIESZKA RUCK, Canadian Catholic News
  • December 1, 2021

VANCOUVER -- A 16-year-old Vancouver student is receiving praise for his courage in standing up for his faith by establishing a Catholic Club at his public high school.

Timothy Que, a Grade 11 student at Eric Hamber Secondary and parishioner at Vancouver’s Holy Name of Jesus Parish, launched the club this fall.

“The purpose of the Catholic Club is to help people get holier and teach the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Que told The B.C. Catholic.

“It’s going to be hard to teach. I don’t want to water down anything. I want to stand firm in what the Church teaches.”

Holy Name of Jesus pastor Fr. Rodney Nootebos is impressed.

“I’m proud to hear that,” Nootebos said. “It takes incredible courage these days to even say the word ‘Catholic,’ especially in a public school, let alone wanting to help others know the faith and become holy. This is exactly what we need, exclamation point!”

Faye McCreedy, the archdiocese’s youth ministry coordinator, is similarly praiseworthy.

“It’s good to know that he’s bold and brave enough and has the courage to step forward as a Catholic,” McCreedy said, “especially in these times when the media haven’t portrayed the Catholic Church in the best of light.

“And it’s great to know that there are still young people who are on fire for their faith and want to evangelize and reach out to their peers.”

Que said is well aware that the Church’s teachings on abortion, marriage and other issues aren’t exactly popular, even among fellow students who identify as Catholic. Speaking frankly with them — and with members of the club who are of other faiths or no faith — about his convictions may be quite the challenge.

He gets it. He used to be one of them.

“Before I started doing this, I supported a lot of things against the Church,” even while calling himself a Catholic, he said.

It was only after coming across YouTube videos that explained Church teaching in a way that shocked Que that he began to realize he’d been calling himself a member of a religion, but not actually living according to its beliefs.

In an attempt to set things straight, he continued his research and became inspired by Gregorian Chant, the Latin Mass and various moral arguments he had been ignoring. Now, he plans to draw on the Bible, the catechism, famous Church teachers such as St. Thomas Aquinas and his own research to lead the club’s studies.

Supporting Que are the teacher who agreed to sponsor his club, and a friend and classmate who was Hindu and recently became a Catholic.

“He was really fascinated about Catholicism, the theology and everything, and said you can’t find that in any other religion,” Que said.

The Catholic Club gathers once a week at lunchtime in the classroom of the club’s sponsor. Que said he will spend most of the time teaching about a certain aspect of Catholic thought. He may also lead some hands-on activities, like creating rosaries — an activity he already enjoys, along with playing guitar and singing ballads.

“I think I’m first going to teach why God exists, for people who struggle with their faith,” he said.

Once people are more comfortable with that idea, he’ll introduce prayer at the meetings, then move to subjects such as sin or Jesus’ Passion.

It will take many hours of research for Que to feel confident in teaching his schoolmates, all on his free time with no grades to show for it at the end, but he believes it is worth it.

“Christ loves you,” he declares. “I think that’s what I want to leave them with.”

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