Friday, July 29, 2011

With These Hands...

Last night for almost three hours I was washing dishes at McDonald's. Yes, I am working at McDonald's this summer to pay for any expenses this coming school year at the seminary. As my finngers were geting very wrinkled from all the grease, soap, and hot water, I reflected on my vocation.

I couldn't fathom the idea that with these hands, one day God will make himself present through his body and blood. With these hands, God will baptize His children into His divine life. With these hands, God will forgive people of their sins. With these hands, God will anoint the sick and bring them comfort. With these hands... these simple hands.

I pray that more in our diocese will listen to God's call and repond with a firm YES!

Diocesan Prayer for Vocations

Heavenly Father,

your Divine Son taught us to pray to the Lord of the harvest

to send laborers into His vineyard.

We earnestly beg you to bless our diocese and our world

with many priest and religious

who will love you fervently and gladly and courageously send their lives

in service to your Son's Church,

especially the poor and the needy.

Bless our families and our children,

and choose from our homes those who you desire for this holy work.

Teach them to respond generously and keep them ever faithful

in following your Son Jesus Christ,

that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit

and with the inspiration of Saint Damien and Blessed Marianne

the Good News of redemption may be brought to all.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Abiqua Falls Hike- My Lenten Walk With Jesus

This past weekend, I went to Abiqua Fall with the seminary hiking group. When I first signed up for the hike, I was told that it was going to be only a 1.5 mile hike down into the falls and 1.5 mile back up. The whole hike was about 9 miles. This was my lenten offering. I offered the pain and suffering of walking up the mountain, down the steep hillside, and then back up again.

It was worth it though, to see the falls at the end.... It was amazing....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

LA Congress 2011

This year the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress is scheduled during our spring break. EJ and I decided to attend the congress as chaperones for the Immaculate Conception Church Youth Group (ICCYG). Much of this trip will be re-living our childhood along with supervising 12 youth. The highlight of this trip will certainly be the Youth Day (Thursday) but the Disneyland Experience, Universal Studios, and Medieval Times will be great as well. Follow me for the next few days as my spring break unfolds.

Day 1: (Monday) Today we arrived in LAX and was craving for an "Animal Style Double-Double" from In & Out. After checking in to our hotel, EJ's classmate, who lives in LA, picked us up for a night of great company. For dinner, we ate authentic Korean food in a small hole in the wall restaurant. I have been craving Bi-bim-bap since the semester started. I definitely had to eat that in the Hot Pot version. Our night ended with boba drinks down the road.

Day 2: (Tuesday) With only four hours of sleep, our day started with meeting the ICCYG at the airport. They rode the red eye from Lihue, Kauai direct to LAX. The youth were enthusiastic for their full day of Disneyland with only very little sleep. This was the first time I went to Disneyland.

Day 3: (Wednesday) Today was our Universal Studios adventure.

Day 4: (Thursday) We woke up very early to get into the line at the Anaheim Convention Center for Youth Day. Before our two hour wait, we stopped at seven eleven to grab some coffee to wake up. I was looking for spam musubi's, bento's, and fried saimin. Unfortunately seven eleven franchise only served donuts, banana's and breakfast burritos. It was 530am when we got to the Anaheim Convention Center. There was already a line forming at the doors. We were able to get in line at the beginning of the 15,000 youth gathered. Tried from a short sleep, the ICCYG were excited to experience their first Los Angeles Youth Day. The doors were opened at 730am and our group latched to each other as we moved into the arena. There was a perfect spot that Uncle Blu remembers from previous congresses. We followed as he dashed on in the first level of bleachers. He was right! The seats that we got were the best view. None of this nose bleed action that I have experienced in the past. Jessie Manibusan roused up the crowd with music. He shared to the youth the meaning of being "Church".

I have attended the LA Congress in the past but never made to the Youth Day portion. This was my first LA Congress Youth Day. After the great singing, the first inspirational speaker was Justin Fatica of the Hard as Nails Ministry. That ended the opening sessions. We decided to take the morning workshop that was in the arena. Our first speaker was Judy McDonald on the topic "Finding God in All Things."

Before Lunch, Archbishop Gomez celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass along with many brother bishops, priests, and deacons. At the end He said, "This is amazing." The Youth Day was Archbishop's introduction to LA Congress.

After Lunch, we attended the session led by inspirational speaker, Fr. Tony Ricard. Hearing his version of the creation story was moving to all present. As expected, Fr. Ricard motivated the youth with his message to "Shut up and Listen."

The closing ceremony was led by Jesses Manibusan.

Day 5: (Friday) Day of play at California Adventures. Don't worry we all had tofu(meatless) for lunch.

Day 6: (Saturday) Today, Ej and I decided to spend our whole day exploring through "Catholic Costco" (Catholic Costco is the 250+ exhibitors at LA Congress). For lunch we had an opportunity to meet and greet all the Hawaii delegates at Ihop. After lunch, we continued our exploration. We attended the Young Adult Mass in the afternoon.

Day 7: (Sunday) Our Spring Break is coming to an end. As we sat in the terminal for Alaska Air, I began to reflect on my vocation. My experience this spring break has taught me to live life to the fullest.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.When someone strikes you on your right cheek,turn the other one as well.If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,hand over your cloak as well.Should anyone press you into service for one mile,go for two miles.Give to the one who asks of you,and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father..." (Excerpt of Mt. 5:38-48)

“You have heard that it was said,
Growing up in a typical Filipino family has its ups and downs. Being the oldest and a male child has its advantages over a younger female child. Looking back on my life, I can say that my relationship with my sister is much different now than then. As children, we fought often like cats and dogs. The smallest thing can begin the war of words. One time I remember we fought about something and was determined not to talk to each other ever again. How could I forgive her for what she said?
In the Gospel reading this past Sunday, Jesus reminds us to love our enemies, pray for our persecutors, and offer our other cheek when someone strikes the other. Today, my relationship with my sister has grown into a loving and understanding one. My journey towards the priesthood of Christ has really help me grow in this dimension of the Christian life. It seems to me that it would be difficult to be a holy priest if you can't forgive and forget. God self-emptied himself (Kenosis) and took our form in the person of Jesus to restore our relationship with God and neighbor.
How many of us want to become true children of God? Then we must live up to the challenge that is outlined in the following antiphon.
‎"If you want to be true children of your heavenly Father, then you must pray for those who persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you, says the Lord"
- Canticle of Mary Antiphon for Evening Prayer I

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stand up for what is right even if you are standing alone...

Today was the seventh annual West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco. Just as it was last year, the experience of taking part of this walk was a moving one. We arrived at St. Patrick's Seminary the night before after a 12-hour bus ride. After praying vespers in their magnificent seminary chapel, we headed towards their "refectory" (dinning hall) for a social. It was a great time to catch up with old friends that graduated from Mount Angel Seminary.

This was my second pilgrimage to San Francisco for the West Coast Walk for Life. The first time I was here, I had to be my own tour guide. I am grateful to Manolito Jaldon for being my host, tour guide, and taking me to University Avenue of Stanford University to drink some Starbuck's.

The summit of our pilgrimage was on Saturday. Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Niederauer in a packed Cathedral along with several Bishops of California. Priest, religious, seminarians and they laity gathered to pray for the end of the cultural of death in our country. Right after mass, our bus took us to the start of the walk at Justin Herman Plaza in Downtown San Francisco.

A short line up of speakers helped motivate the crowd of more than 40,000 pro-life activists. Immediately after the speakers, the short 2.5 mile walk began along the waterfront. Along the way, there were a small group of Pro-choice protesters on the sidewalk. I realized that the crowd of 40,000 peacefully walked, some with rosaries in their hands, and the small group was screaming and yelling for "choice". What sadden my heart was seeing a child not more than 7 years of age holding a sign for abortion on demand and with her parents yelling to the Pro-life activists. How can parents bring their child to a pro-choice protest?

We walked past the tourist ridden waterfront and my attention was caught by the stores, restaurants, and sidewalk attractions. My bliss was broken when I almost tripped on someone. Towards the end of the walk, the way became narrower and slowed down. In order to get to Marina Green you have to walk up a hill. A profound moment was when I got to the top of the hill and looked back, I saw a mile long trail of people behind me like an ant colony. This sight was an illustration of the body of Christ for me.

When we got to the end of the walk, I decided to go to Safeway to grab a bite. Out of nowhere a woman starts calling my name. At first I said to myself, "Other than seminarians, who in San Francisco know me?" I turned around to the source of voice and saw Elma Amboy (Rivera), a woman that I met in Hawaii many years ago through Blessed Sacrament Prayer Group. The last time I met her was last year at the walk for life in the midst of the crowd. Before this year's walk for life, we connected through Facebook and hoped to see each other again. Unfortunately we weren't able to make any plans to meet. So unexpectedly seeing each other at the Safeway was truly providential.

The West Coast Walk for Life this year was a moving one filled with many profound moments. It was disappointing to see that the news highlighted the pro-choice side only and failed to report the number of people gathered at the Walk for Life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hawaii Catholic TV- Our home away from home...

On the feast of St. Sebastian, Martyr, the Diocese of Honolulu celebrated its annual "Red" mass in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. Legislatures, Police and Fire Personnel, and even Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie, were among the faithful and clergy gathered for prayer. After the post-communion prayer those gathered were addressed by USCCB Attorney, Anthony R. Picarello Jr. on the topic "Truth and Freedom: Made for Each Other." Mass ended with the congregation singing "America, the Beautiful."

Viewers, like us Seminarians, were able to be part of the Red Mass all the way from here in Oregon. It was made possible for us through the new initiative of John Fielding called Hawaii Catholic TV - HICTv for Short. Today's broadcast was a huge success compared to the previous attempt in live-streaming Deacon Anthony's ordination last month. Just as John was praying for 98-99 percent broadcast, it worked. The only glitch that happened during the mass was right after the start of Mr. Picarello's speech. The broadcast went off-air for just about 5 mins. Despite this minor technical difficulty, overall the live-stream went well.

It is with a grateful heart that HICTv brings the Diocese of Honolulu beyond the geographical lines right into our homes, schools, work, and even my seminary. I hope that we will be able to continue to use this valuable resource as a diocese to really "Witness to Jesus". Great job to John Fielding and this crew and keep it up! HICTv is my home away from home.

Belated Christmas Update.... Sorry

Christmas 2010

Last Friday night, a few seminarians and myself attended the annual Portland singing Christmas tree. There, many Christmas favorites were sung. It truly got the whole audience in the mood for the Christmas season. As Catholics, we know that we are not yet in that season but in Advent. Amidst all this Christmas spirit, I am challenged to “stay awake and be ready”. What should I be ready for? This advent I am reflecting on the things that keep me from being awake and ready or those things that clutter the inn of my heart. The advent candles burn bright in our homes to remind us that we are children of the light. I wait for the Lord’s “coming” into my inn. This past year has been quite a journey.

In my last Christmas letter, I mentioned that my mother was going through tough chemotherapy treatment and was very weak. On December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, our Lord took away her bodily suffering and called her to eternal life. We laid her to rest on December 19. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. This year has been an emotional roller coaster for me.

In June, I traveled to the Great Salt Lake for the first time. I attended the ordination of Fr. Joey Frez. The mountains were covered in snow and were gorgeous. I got to visit a cloistered Carmelite convent and the Trappist monks. Following that trip, I attended the ordination of Fr. Ysrael Bien in Portland, OR. The highlight of these trips was seeing these two celebrate their thanksgiving mass.

My summer was spent at St. Stephen’s Diocesan Center. I was able to discern my vocation and work on my human formation. I interned at the Diocesan Religious Education Office directed by Jayne Mondoy. This experience gave me a better outlook of administration from a diocesan office point of view. I enjoyed the times I spent with the staff and the priest there.

I returned to the seminary in August to begin my 3rd semester. So far, I am enjoying the courses that I have. I really enjoy my Latin and Greek classes. The semester really went by quick. Next week is already finals.

For Thanksgiving, I drove up to Seattle to see family. This was my first experience of driving in the snow. My jeep is not 4x4 or all wheel drive so it was difficult. Thank God I made it safely back to the seminary.

As the days are counting down to my return to Honolulu, more and more I am getting anxious. But there are a lot of things yet to do. Things such as Formation meeting, Spiritual direction, term papers to write, final exams, oral finals, and more. But I must not lose sight to the real reason why I must do all this. That is to serve you and lead you as your priest. I pray and hope that this advent season will be full of turning away from darkness and turning to joyful anticipation.

I extend my greetings for a holy Christmas season (not just a day) and a happy New Year. As my spiritual director always says, “oremus pro inviciem.” (Let us pray for one another).