Pope Francis’ Document, Evangelii Gaudium:

What You Need To Know (Part 1)

In this bulletin, I would to like to introduce the document by Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium. Released on November 26, 2013, the document was the first by Pope Francis, giving as it were, the charter for his papacy. To give you a flavor of the document I will outline some important features of papal documents you need to know in general. Here are some initial points:

1) What does “Evangelii Gaudium” mean? It’s Latin for “The Joy of the Gospel.” In papal documents, the title is always taken from the first words     in the opening paragraph.

2) What is an apostolic exhortation? It’s a papal document that, as the name suggests, exhorts and encourages the faithful to implement a particular aspect of the Church’s life and teaching. Its purpose therefore is not to teach new doctrine, but to suggest how Church teachings and practices can be profitably applied in today’s life.

Some similar documents in the past have focused on the pastoral challenges faced in particular parts of the world (Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas). Others have focused on particular themes. Previous apostolic exhortations include:

 · Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi (on evangelization today), December 8, 1975

· John Paul II’s Christifideles Laici (on the role of the laity), December 30, 1988

· John Paul II’s Redemptoris Custos (on St. Joseph), August 15, 1989

· Benedict XVI’s Sacramentum Caritatis (on the Eucharist), February 22, 2007

· Benedict XVI’s Verbum Domini (on the Word of God), November 12, 2010

3) How much authority does an apostolic exhortation have? It is one of the more important papal documents—more important, for example, than a Wednesday audience or a homily. It is more of a pastoral nature rather than a doctrinal or legal nature. This type of document is ranked lower than an encyclical (example, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II or an apostolic constitution, which is of the highest level, for example Fides Depositum (on the Deposit of Faith), the document that promulgated the New Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992. Such a document is authoritative in its teaching and application by the whole Church. Read more in the next bulletin.

 Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Our Catholic Faith Matters

This past week after Mass there was Levi, a young adult at the back of the church looking at the statue of our Blessed Mother Mary. I approached to greet him. He was carrying a Bible and another black book, Levi asked, “Why do you Catholics worship Mary?” When I told Levi that we do not worship Mary but venerate her, he insisted that we make Mary God and so we worship because we pray to Mary.  At that point I invited him to my office where we sat down. The first thing I did was to show him the picture of Pope Francis and asked him if he knew Pope Francis. He said he did. These were pictures of the Pope washing and kissing the feet of a   prisoner. I explained to him that the pope does this because he tried to live the Gospel of John 13:1-17 on the washing of the feet. I asked him to open his bible and read. When he realized that I knew precise bible quotations, he told me that he thought Catholics did not know the bible.

I tell this story because our Catholic faith matters.  If we do not know how to respond to a young New Hope evangelist, Levi will simply laugh at us.  We need to know our faith.  We need to know why we do what we do.  We need to know the roots of our Catholic faith.  We also need to know the Bible and how to use it, not just how to use it, but to help us deepen our faith through Bible reading and reflection.  

This is part of the reason what Father Joseph and myself will be giving adult faith formation classes starting this October in two ares:  Scripture and Catholicism 101 adapted to the level of our parishioners.  The two parallel classes will run for one year with classes given once a month.  We shall review each time what we did the previous class.  After one year, parishioners will receive a certificate of completion.  The following year, those who have completed either course may take the other course.  If one had taken Scripture the previous year, one will now register to take Catholicism 101.  These classes will be acceptable by the Diocese as fulfilling the required Catechist Certification.  

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

OCC Capital Campaign Update

OCC Capital Campaign Update

Dear Parishioners,

First, I would like to give you the good news that we have received from the anonymous donor the first installment of the donation totaling $ 250,000 as announced last Sunday.

The capital campaign appeal of last Sunday was very successful.  Thanks to the generosity of so many parishioners who got the message of the miraculous multiplication of “pledges!” Yes, we can call it a miracle because Jesus who has been challenging and testing us transformed our hearts to take the leap of faith, and in trust we went ahead to pledge. But I also think St. Damien was interceding for us the whole weekend since his relic was before us in the Church. We hope to give you the results of the capital campaign appeal of last Sunday in the next bulletin issue.

I would like to thank all parishioners who have made their 3-year capital campaign pledge and particularly those who have increased their 3-year pledge. This has been very helpful. Some families have pledged several times and I would like to express deep gratitude to these families. As announced last Sunday, all Masses this Sunday will be celebrated for the intention of the anonymous donor, all parishioners who have made their 3-year pledges including our parishioners who have passed on since we began the capital campaign.

Stay tuned!

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

The Good News on Anonymous Donation

Dear Parishioners, 

Sunday after Sunday, we have said the prayer for our Capital Campaign with deep faith commitment.  We sometimes wonder if God is listening to our prayers.  Today, I have good news for our One Community Center which we need to be thankful.

An anonymous donor has been moved by the efforts we have made so far and pledged $1 million donation for the construction of the OCC.  The donor gives us a challenge with several terms to fulfill.

1) That we complete phase II of the capital campaign by raising the remaining $900k in order to reach the expected parish goal of $2.5 million by July 31.
2) That the parish prepares a budget that supports the financing of at least $2M construction loan at the close of the project.
3) That the parish Religious Education Programs are maintained and expanded to reach out to the families in the community.

 

Dear parishioners, we are challenged to do our part and I believe we can do it. Thank you so much to all who have made their pledge. If you have not yet made your pledge, we kindly urge you to make the 3-year pledge so we can complete Phase II of the campaign and benefit from the anonymous donation. You have already received pledge cards at home. Please fill them and bring them next Sunday.

Some parishioners who made their pledge in Phase I have increased their pledge. If you are able to increase your pledge you may do so by completing another card or by calling the parish office to adjust your 3-year pledge.

This Sunday is CHALLENGE SUNDAY when pledge cards are provided in envelopes for everyone, in order to give an opportunity to all to take pledge cards and fill them out. This will help the parish reach the $900,000 by end of July. May God bless our anonymous donor.

God bless you all.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Good News on Anonymous Donation

Dear Parishioners,

Sunday after Sunday, we have said the prayer for our Capital Campaign with deep faith commitment.  We sometimes wonder if God is listening to your prayers.  Today, I have good news for our One Community Center which we need to be thankful.

An anonymous donor has been moved by the efforts we have made so far and pledged $1 million donation for the construction of the OCC.  The donor gives us a challenge with several terms to fulfill:

1) That we complete Phase II of the capital campaign by raising the remaining $900k in order to reach the expected parish goal of $ 2.5   million by July 31.

2) That the parish prepare a budget that supports the financing of at least $2M construction loan at the close of the project.

3) That the parish Religious Education Programs are maintained and expanded to reach out to the families in the community.

 

My dear parishioners, we are challenged to do our part and I believe we can do it. Thank you so much to all who have made their pledge. If you have not yet made your pledge, we kindly urge you to make the 3-year pledge so we can complete phase II of the campaign and benefit from the anonymous donation. You have already received pledge cards at home. Please fill them and bring them next Sunday.   

Some parishioners who made their pledge in phase I have increased their pledge. If you are able to increase your pledge you may do so by completing another card or by calling the parish office to adjust your 3-year pledge. Next Sunday we have in-pew campaign drive with pledge cards for those who have not yet made their pledge.

Next Sunday will be CHALLENGE SUNDAY when there will be pledge card in envelopes for everyone, in order to give an opportunity to take a pledge card and fill them out. This will help the parish reach the $900,000 by end of July.  May God bless our anonymous donor.                          

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Spirituality of Stewardship as a Way of Life

In the last Sunday bulletin, we considered “stewardship as a way of life,” because there is no part-time discipleship. In other words, we live as disciples and as stewards of Jesus Christ for life. It is a way of life. There is a basic spirituality that enables us to live as faithful disciples and stewards. Just as discipleship is living out our commitment to Jesus Christ, so too, stewardship is living out that commitment by being Christ-centered, rather than self-centered. This Christ centeredness is what we call spirituality. We become Christ-centered through conversion. This conversion is the result of being totally for others just as Jesus Christ was.  A steward’s life becomes immersed and totally focused on God, Creator and source of all good gifts. When I come to the realization that there is nothing I have that belongs to me that is a sign of conversion to a spirituality of stewardship. The result of such a deep awareness is profound gratitude for all that God has given me. In addition, justice and love become fundamental motives for giving back to God what in the first place God has given me.

To live as a disciple of Christ, the Christian steward is called to love with the same love and same spirit of self-giving as Jesus. Such love is made possible through the grace of God, and is manifested in ten characteristics: prayer, trust, patience, responsibility, gratitude, generosity, simplicity, mercy and perseverance. Jesus himself showed us quite clearly how to practice these characteristics. Scripture has many examples of how these characteristics should be lived out. Our Blessed Mother Mary and the saints are wonderful models of these characteristics.

The Holy Eucharist is certainly the sacrament in which our love to live these characteristics is nourished and strengthened. The family is “domestic church” where members first learn and practice these characteristics, and from there continue to live as disciples of Jesus Christ by living that spirituality in the parish community. Through these characteristics, the Christian steward grows to live more fully stewardship as a way of life, a disciple’s life of self-giving. “Give and it shall be given to you… For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.” (Lk 6:38).  

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

ONGOING FAITH FORMATION PROGRAM

Come and be nourished!

Starting this fall, October 2018 to September 2019, plan to start a new Adult Ongoing Formation Program focusing on Scripture and Catechesis (foundations of our faith). The program will be conducted by Fr. Joseph who will give the Scripture part and I, Msgr. John giving the Catechesis part. The two parts will run parallel to each other at the same time in two different rooms either in the Church or at the parish center. The program will be once a month one evening for 1 hour 30 minutes. We estimate about 40 meetings (units) and as such I will explore the possibility of issuing a certificate for those who finish the 40 units. One may not change from one program to another during the year. However, after one year, the same course will be given again for new participants.

Catechesis study with me will explore the foundations and roots of our Catholic faith from the time of the apostle using PowerPoint to help learn better. Some of the topics will be: the Church during the apostles, the creeds and how they came to be written, beginnings of the papacy, timeline of the Catholic Church (historical), the Mass and its development. I will be preparing outlines, summaries and notes. Scripture study with Fr. Joseph will first give an introduction to the Bible and then delve the New Testament Books month by month. We will give more details.

Stay Tuned. 

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Reaching out Beyond our Parish Gates

Last Sunday, Erin Gallogly presented the results of our parish-wide survey assessment needs consistent with Bishop Larry’s challenge to have our ministries and parishioner go beyond the gates of the church into the community to evangelize. Our Stewardship Council had created the survey based on the services we currently provide through our 61 ministries. Parishioners had been asked to list those services where we should be spending our time and talents.

There were 534 surveys filled in and returned. We had asked parishioners to rank each of the categories from 1 – 6 with 7 being a write-in category. All five Masses had ranked the needs in the same order with Kupuna, Keiki and Community being the top three. The 6pm Mass ranked the top three as Keiki, Kupuna and Community.

Clearly, Kupuna, Keiki and Community are the needs where you, the parishioners, see opportunities for us to interact/evangelize and to make a difference in people’s lives. Many gave specific recommendations for seniors, children/youth and community engagement. Many recommended evangelizing through community events and fun social events. Others recommended specific classes or assistance. Additionally, many of you recommended adult education in the form of Faith Formation, Bible Studies, Catechesis and Inter-faith awareness.

As we move forward with our parish ministries, update our 5-year strategic plan and assess the use of the One Community Center, we will use the results of this survey. It is important to understand that the needs we have identified touch on some of our parishioners in our own pews. Our own kupuna and keiki will be included in what we will be doing. Beyond our parish gates, on every last Tuesday of the month, we are already engaged in an outreach Food Pantry, health check, sheltering the homeless and kupuna needs in collaboration with ALEA Bridge and Mililani Presbyterian Church (MPC).

Building the One Community Center will respond to the needs expressed on faith formation and bible study, as well as the needs beyond our parish gates. This coming fall, we hope to have two separate sessions guided by both Fr. Joseph and myself. We are currently planning these sessions.

We do take you seriously.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Capital Campaign Phase II Update

“Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build.”

(Psalm 127:1)

 

These words from Psalm 127 guide us as we go forward in the OCC Capital Campaign Phase II. It is the Lord who is in partnership with us as we share the resources that the Lord gives us in his generosity. In the bulletin of message of last Sunday, I stated “I am confident that together we can pull this one off.” This statement came from my deep faith in God that if we do our part; if we open our hearts to the transforming power of God’s grace, God will do the rest. We are just like the farmer in last Sunday’s parable. The farmer simply sows the seed, but it is God who makes the seed grow. God gives us the seeds to plant, the time, talents and treasure. It is up to each to acknowledge this truth of God’s generous gifts and share them for building God’s kingdom by giving back some of what God gives to us. That is when the miracle of sharing becomes real, like the little who has 5 loves and two fish. You know the rest of the story. Jesus took the loaves and the fish and miraculously multiplied them for a crowd of 5,000 who ate enough and there were 12 baskets of the left overs!

The amazing reality is that since we announced the groundbreaking ceremony and on the weekend of June 16/17, Phase II of the Capital Campaign picked momentum. In these two week we have seen the ticker begin to go towards our expected goal of $2.5 million. We are heading towards $1.8 million. The Holy Spirit is working, transforming us into one heart and one mind on this important parish project, which is really God’s work of enabling us to reach out more into the Mililani community and beyond.

Let me finish this update with some inspiring words of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. “Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

 Monsignor John S. Mbinda

One Community Center Phase II

 

Two weeks ago, Erin Gallogly guided us through a parish-wide community needs assessment survey. Thank you for the time you gave to that survey. The results were an affirmation of what we plan to do in the Mililani community in collaboration with service providers. The OCC will certainly be a space for our ongoing parish formation and other events especially on the weekend. However, from Monday through Friday 9am to 4 pm when there are no parish events, we will use the OCC as a space for outreach in response to the needs we have identified in the survey. Erin will present the results of that survey next Sunday.  

Yesterday evening, thanks to our parish leadership, we had a successful OCC groundbreaking ceremony officiated by Msgr. Gary Secor, Vicar General of the Diocese of Honolulu and former pastor of our parish. As you heard in the video, both Bishop Larry Silva and Msgr. Gary Secor are fully behind our efforts for the One Community Center. The appropriate diocesan offices have encouraged us to go forward.

Today we officially launch Phase II of the OCC Capital Campaign with the goal of raising the remaining $ 900k to reach our parish target of $ 2.5 million. The purpose is mainly to give a chance to the 700 households who have not yet pledged to do so. Our parish leadership will be on the lanai with new pledge cards. This is your opportunity to be part of this parish project for the future of our next generations.

A pledge means that you fill-in the pledge card committing yourself to give the amount you indicate over the next 3 years. To all who have already made their pledge, we are most grateful. The plan is to wrap up phase 2 of the campaign on July 17 – in exactly one month. I am confident that together we can pull this one off. In the coming days, we need the remaining pledges, but above all let us unite in prayer around this one common purpose.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

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