Sunday, May 25, 2014

Theology 2

My summer was packed with many events.  The bishop assigned me to St. Augustine by the Sea in Waikiki.  Although the parish is staffed by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and May (S.S.C.C.), I stayed there as the Diocese Seminarian in Residence.  Father Lane Akiona, sscc and Father Lusius Nimu, sscc welcomed me into their rectory community as a brother.  I was quite a busy person at the parish and I gained much experience from these awesome priests.  They showed me the joy of the priesthood.  My vocational discernment was affirmed and strengthened.  The summer was also full of several speaking engagements.  I was blessed to be keynote speaker of the Diocese Faith Formation Conference Youth Night in the presence of my bishop.  I was nervous but I got great feedback.  My passion for the documents of Vatican II led me to speak at three different parishes.  As you can see, my summer was busy.  Being in Waikiki had its advantages.  I was able to go to he beach several times and I got to enjoy my summer vacation amidst the busy parish life.  

Before I knew it, summer was over!  I returned to the Mainland in August to continue my studies for the ordained priesthood.  The first semester this past year had been the roughest one thus far but with God’s grace and the support I received, I got through it.  Last fall I received my second ministry towards ordination.  This time, Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange instituted my class into the Ministry of Acolyte.  In this ministry, serving at mass is my ordinary duty.  Acolytes also purify the vessels used for holy mass.  I also may expose and repose the Blessed Sacrament.  

The spring semester came also quickly.  I took six classes of theology and field education.  My favorite class was "Meaning of Human Sexuality."  We studied the Theology of the Body of Pope Saint John Paul II.  

I spent my Holy Week break with Father Daniel Balizan in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  This was my first time in Santa Fe.  All the other times I visited Fr. Daniel was in Raton, New Mexico.  As always I MC'd at the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum.  There were also time to site see as well.  The highlight of this trip was doing a walking pilgrimage to the Santuario in Chimayo, New Mexico.   

Soon after my trip to New Mexico, the semester started to roll to the end.  One of my vices, like many college students, is procrastination.  I thought that my papers would be done by mid-term but they weren't.  The last few weeks of the semester was occupied by me finishing up my term papers.  Thanks be to God, I finished them!

Second year of theology went by very quickly and now I am off to my pastoral year.  But before I go off to pastoral year, I have summer assignment in Maui!  Stay tuned for those adventures... 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Faith in Action" Keynote Speaker of Youth Night 2013

On June 20, I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker of the 2013 Youth Night for the Diocese of Honolulu.  Based upon the theme of "Faith in Action" and Superheroes, I exhorted the youth to put their faith in action because of their baptismal call. 
At the end of the night, each attendee made a profession of faith and a recommitment of their baptismal calling.  What an inspiring event for my vocation!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

S.S.C.C. Jubilee Celebration

Around the Feasts of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and of perpetual adoration in Hawaii celebrates anniversaries of professions and/or ordinations.  Father Lane invited me to attend this festive gathering of priest, brothers, sisters, and lay associates.  The celebration started with a mass at St. Patrick's Church in Kaimuki.  The jubilarians renewed their profession in front of the whole congregation.  As they were saying their names, I was imagining what the first time is might have been 50 or 60 years ago.

After the mass, we attended the banquet at the Pacific Beach Hotel.  The Vicar General of the Diocese of Honolulu was in attendance as well.

The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and of perpetual adoration was founded in the 19th Century by Father Pierre Coudrin and Henriette Aymer de Chevalerie with a mission to spread the message of God's unconditional love as manifested through the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and finding God's mercy through the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  St. Damien of Molokai was a member of this congregation.  To the Sacred Hearts Jesus and Mary, Honor and Glory!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Full Flights, Missed Ordinations, Transitions, and a blessed Corpus Christi Weekend

On Friday, I attempted to catch a flight to Sacramento on Hawaiian Airlines on a buddy pass for a friends ordination to the priesthood.  I checked in, gone through the security line, had some coffee, and arrived at the gate. When I arrived at the gate, I went to look at the standby list that was posted on the counter.  To my surprise, I was number 49 on the list for standby and only 13 seats were available.  Even though I knew that I wasn't going to make this flight, I waited as each name was being called hoping that the list would get shorter and shorter.  At the final boarding call, only two seats were available.  The 32nd and 33rd person got those seats... :(   I was so sadden that I was going to miss a friends ordination.  Determined to get a seat on another flight, I ran to each gate to see if I can join the standby list.  I think that every one was flying standby that day.  Pheonix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles... All full (of standby passenger)!  My heart was even more sorrowful than before because for sure I knew that was not going to make to the ordination...

I called Gloria Butac, a parishioner of the Co-Cathedral, to ask if she come back to the airport to pick me up.  She was on her way to a gathering of "morning glories" at the Marianist Beach House with Alan Pacquing.  I went with her and the ladies of the 6:30 am daily mass.  Instead of crying babies, recycled air, old In-flight movies, and sleepy companions, I was with good company. We forgot to buy charcoal for the grill so we cooked the Kal-bi (BBQ Short Ribs) and BBQ Chicken in the oven.  That was the first time cooking these in the oven on a broil.  It all worked out and we had a blast. 

I was going to back to Waikiki that night but decided to go to my family home so that I could attend morning mass at the Co-Cathedral to welcome our new administrator.  Also, the mass coincided with the ordination mass in Sacramento.  I was able to pray for the new priest at that mass.

After mass, I joined the ladies in stuffing the monthly parish bulletin in the rectory.  This reminded me of the days when I was a youth helping during the summer at Our Lady of the Mount in Kalihi Valley. 

Brunch with our new administrator followed.  After a short trip to Costco, I headed back to St. Augustine by the Sea in Waikiki.  

In the afternoon, I was able to catch the first showing of Alice in Wonderland Jr. performed by students of St. Theresa School.  Having been in theatre when I was in middle and high school, this performance was very good.  Congratulations to Directress Bernie Gora, Stage Manager Fay Gora, and Box Office Manager Lynette Seto!

No musician showed up to play/sing at the 5pm mass and it was already ten-minutes before the mass was about to start.  So, Father Lane put on a monastic alb and started to choose some music for mass.  Fr. Lane, Rufina (our sacristan), and I formed a little schola.  Singing in the Rector's Schola Cantorum prepared me for this.  At the end of the mass, Fr. Lusius thanked our new choir and the Church cheered with laughter.  In the end, it all worked out.  After mass, I met a young man from California who was discerning a religious vocation.  He enjoyed our singing.  It reminded him of Gregorian Chant. 

On Sunday morning, I greeted the Provost of the seminary and her husband who were visiting the island.  I brought Dr. Morey and her husband to our Damien and Marianne Heritage Center for a tour.  Their trip was cut short to only the weekend so we couldn't have a meal together.  There will be another opportunity I'm sure. 

The homily of Father Lane was a home run.  He shared about his recent trip to Tonga with the provincial to open the mission.  While he was there, the brothers invited a family to the house to share a meal.  In the Tongan culture, the priest usually eat first and then the laity.  They never eat at the same table.  The family was shocked at how different these Picpus Fathers & Brothers were.  On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood, we are reminded that all the faithful are invited to the common table of the Lord.

After the 10 am mass, a young boy came up to me and asked me a question.  "What is it like being a seminarian?"  I was lost for words.  I never really thought about what "its like."  When I told him that I lived in the seminary, he asked another question.  "You live at a cemetery?" LOL!  Sometimes it could be.... Hahaha

My day ended with fellowship and fraternal bonding the Sacred Hearts Fathers.  We were celebrating Fr. Lusius' 10th year priestly ordination anniversary and Fr. Yanto's 1st year.  Dinner was lovely and the stories that were shared were awesome.  Living in this community of Sacred Heart Fathers has been so far a great experience.  We do everything in community...There is never a day that goes by without laughter!

Well, that was my weekend experience.  Although I didn't make it to Fr. Carlo's Ordination, God had other plans...

I can't wait till the next adventure!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer Assignment: St. Augustine by the Sea in Waikiki

Wow!  A year of theological studies have gone by.  This first year was a fruitful one in all pillars of formation (Spiritual, Academic, Human, Pastoral).  Towards the end of the school year, I received my summer parish assignment from Fr. Pascual Abaya, my Vocation Director.  I was very excited for my first parish assignment.  When he told me what my assignment was, I was exuberantly joyful. 

My assignment:  St. Augustine by the Sea in Waikiki

On Pentecost Weekend, I was introduced to the parishioners at all the masses by Fr. Lane Akiona, SSCC.  I was welcomed with such warm Aloha.  Even though I am a diocesan seminarian, I immediately fit into the community of Sacred Heart Priests.  The hospitality and fraternity between the priests here is genuine and strong.  

I know that this assignment will be filled with many adventures.  This is truly a Hale Pule (House of Prayer) for those who come to visit our Islands.  On that first weekend, I have met people from all around the world. 

This was just the first weekend and I can't wait for what this summer has in store for me.