Why Lay Witness This Sunday

One of the important ways we prepare for stewardship renewal weekend is lay witness. A lay witness is a parishioner chosen each year by the pastor to give his or her testimony on their stewardship journey. They are parishioners who already believe and practice stewardship as a way of life, by giving to the parish of what God has given them in time, talent and treasure.

Lay witnesses send a strong message to their fellow parishioners about giving of oneself and one’s possessions and time in gratitude for all the gifts God has given them and their families. People who hear that stewardship is working for other people are motivated to bring stewardship into their own lives.

This year, I asked Nestor Tantamco (Jun) married to his wife, Medina. They have three beautiful children: Jessica, Kyros and Lea. I got to know Jun better when he volunteered to be a daily altar server at the daily morning Mass. He told me that he was a small businessman, a family business. At first I was surprised by his self-giving of his morning time before going to his business. He told me that this is how he begins his day, by giving to God what God has given him and his family.  Before long Jun asked to be a Sunday and daily Mass Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist (EMHE). Sunday after Sunday I saw this family together at Mass, and after Mass they would take time to talk to their family friends in the church before going home. While others rush to their cars, the Tantamco’s would still be there after the 9 am Mass joyfully talking story! These are all qualities of an ordinary family with an extraordinary sense of stewardship as a way of life. Jessica, Kyros and Lea, you are so lucky to have such wonderful parents who with you live stewardship as a way of life.

May God bless you. May God bless all families here at St. John’s for their stewardship hearts of giving their time, talents and treasure so that God’s work in the parish may continue.

  Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Annual Stewardship Renewal Sunday

In the article of last Sunday, I introduced our parish preparation for the forthcoming Annual Stewardship Renewal Sunday.  Some of you have already received a package of beautiful renewal materials in the mail. They explain what stewardship means at St. John Apostle & Evangelist.  When these materials arrive, please take some time to review them and pray about where the Holy Spirit may be leading you to grow this year in your stewardship commitment. Let us take a moment to reflect on why we need to renew our commitments each year.

When we come to understand stewardship as a way of life, our stewardship renewal becomes like a marriage covenant. Each year a married couple remembers the day of their marriage and renews their covenant and goes out to dinner. “Woe to a husband who forgets their marriage anniversary.” Worst still if he should say, “But we celebrated last year!” Obviously, last year does not count because a marriage is a way of life; a life-long relationship. So is stewardship. We renew our commitment annually to express our gratefulness to God from whom we have received and continue to receive abundant blessings. We focus on how God has been generous to us in his many blessings and ask ourselves how we shall return our gratitude to God for these blessings.

As we approach our parish annual renewal weekend on October 20/21, let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in making the right choices. With the Sunday offertory and OCC Capital Campaign part II still going on, I am aware it can be overwhelming. It is not a question of one of these, but discerning how to give to each of these needs according to what God has given in his generosity. Thank you for your commitment and generous support.

  Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Gratefulness is a Stewardship Virtue.

Our parish is a stewardship parish and therefore stewardship is not something new. It is a way of life that requires ongoing renewal.  Each year we pause in mid-October as a parish to consider how we are doing on our stewardship journeys -- both as individuals, and collectively as a parish. We do this each year under a specific theme. Our Stewardship Renewal this year will be October 20/21.

The theme for this year is “Gratefulness”. In scripture we find many references on this important stewardship theme. Curiously, most of them spring from the fact that God is our generous giver.  "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).  "All good giving and every perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17).  How easy it is to forget the truth in our 21st century where everything is so fast.  That is why we need a renewal weekend to pause and reflect.    

Gratefulness is both the key to a stewardship way of life, and the secret to a joy-filled life. When we take a moment to reflect on God’s goodness and His passionate love for each of us, we cannot help but be filled with gratefulness and a surge of joy that comes from recognizing how abundant His blessings are. “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” (Psalm 116:12).

Stewardship offers us concrete ways to express our gratefulness to God, to thank Him with our lives. It transforms our lives into a culture of being grateful. Pope Francis sums up gratefulness in this way: “A grateful heart is spontaneously impelled to serve the Lord… Once we come to realize how much God has given us, a life of self-sacrifice, of working for Him and for others, becomes a privileged way of responding to His great love.” (September 24, 2015, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NY) We are grateful for everything God has given us: all our time, talents and treasure.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Introduction to Catholicism 101: Why Catholic Faith Matters?

Introduction to Catholicism 101:  Why Catholic Faith Matters?

St. John Apostle & Evangelist Catholic Church, Mililani

October 4, 2018 to September 19, 2019 at 7:00PM to 8:45PM

Every First and Third Thursday

By:  Msgr. John S. Mbinda

 

Mission: To help parishioners deepen the faith they already know by discovering the beauty & richness of the Catholic faith, and so have a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ.

Method: Course outline; short lectures; PowerPoint content; short videos; notes; question times; brief discussions;  personal research assignments.  Please buy a notebook.

Expected outcome: Deeper faith, more confident in faith matters, ability to express and discuss one’s faith, ability to explain one’s faith to those who contradict Catholic faith or to those who are curious about the Catholic faith; ability to know why Catholic faith matters.

As stated above, this intend to help parishioners not only to deepen the faith they already know, but also to discover the beauty & richness of our Catholic faith, and so lead you to a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ.

The more we discover this beauty and richness of our faith, the more we become so fired up that we want to share. We become what Matthew Kelly describes as dynamic Catholics, eager to share the joy of being Catholics and not intimidated by those who question us as Catholics. I will also give you some of the ways of responding to some of the attacks on the Catholic faith by Protestants, e.g. concerning Mary, the saints, why have a pope of bishops. Your Catholic faith matters and so you need to defend it, not in defensive ways, but by “speaking the truth in charity” (Ephesians 4:15).

If your faith matters at all, give time to nourish it and to be surprised by its beauty and its genius, stretching all the way from the apostles in the first century to today!

May God bless you all,

  Monsignor John S. Mbinda

One Community Center (OCC) Update

Where are we in our One Community Center?

The following are the key updates: 

1) Capital Campaign

You recall that the anonymous donor’s gift of $ 1 million challenged SJAE Parish community to achieve its internal capital campaign goal of $2,500,000.00 in pledges and donations.  The good news is that to date, we have reached 84% of that goal or $2,100,000.00.  We still have to raise the remaining $400,000.00 to comply with the donor’s challenge.  We will soon announce how we proceed in achieving that goal.

2) Construction Line of Credit

On August 28, 2018, Bishop Larry Silva approved our parish application for a construction credit line of $2,800,000.00 to be used in the initial stages of the construction phase of the OCC project. 

3) Project Manager (PM)

Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) has been selected as the Project Manager and will be the lead in procuring a general contractor and managing that contractor through the construction phase of the project.  All necessary permits for demolition of existing structures and the construction of the OCC will be forthcoming from the City and County of Honolulu once a  general contractor has been hired.

4) Construction Timeline

We anticipate construction to begin in November of 2018 and for the completion of construction in November of 2019 followed by a dedication of the OCC about December of 2019.

I would like to personally thank each one of you who has donated and pledged not only your treasure, but also your time and talents toward the successful completion of the OCC project.  We still have another 16% of our internal capital   campaign goal to achieve, and I ask that those who have not yet made a pledge to do so.  Once again, I thank all of you who have made pledges and particularly those who have increased their initial pledges for being so generous.

  God bless all of you.

  Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Letter of Bishop Larry Silva to Diocese – on Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal

In his homily here at St. John Apostle & Evangelist Catholic Church at the 5pm Mass, Saturday, September 2, 2018, Bishop Larry Silva started by saying the following: “Our Catholic Church is in one of the greatest storms in its history.  Many clergy, who were trusted by others because they were presumed to be spiritual leaders, have sexually abused minors.”

Bishop Larry was referring to the recent allegations of clergy abuse of minors, an issue he had addressed in a recent letter of August 24, 2018, addressed to the clergy, religious and all parishioners in the Diocese of Honolulu. This letter may be found on the Diocese of Honolulu website: www.catholichawaii.org. In the bulletin of this Sunday you will find the letter of Bishop Larry Silva inserted. I urge you to take time to read this letter carefully. We would like you to be informed by the Bishop rather than getting comments from the media.

The letter alerts the clergy, religious and parishioners in the diocese on the seriousness of these allegations. The letter refers to a Cardinal who has been demoted because of credible accusations of abuse of minors using his power to gain sexual favors from various priests and seminarians – while all the while getting Church promotions and prestige.

The letter goes on to refer to the serious situation in Pennsylvania where the Grand Jury there has put together 1,000 sexual abuse claims in six dioceses lasting over 60 years. These claims involve both clergy and other church workers. The seriousness of the matter is that while these abuses happened, some bishops covered up.

 

Dear parishioners, at this very critical and sad moment, we need to encourage one another. We pray for the healing of the victims of these abuses as well as their perpetrator and those in complicity that they will face justice.

 

The peace of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. 

 Monsignor John S. Mbinda

 

http://catholichawaii.org/news-events/news-articles/2018/august/823-bishop-on-clergy-sex-abuse-scandal/

Pope Francis’ Document Evangelii Gaudium: Part 3

Pope Francis’ Document Evangelii Gaudium:

What You Need To Know (Part 3)

6) What is Pope Francis’ main message in Evangelii Gaudium?

As suggested by the document title (The Joy of the Gospel), the main theme involves the need for a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to the entire world.  The central message of the document may be summarized in the following four points:  

+The Apostolic Exhortation is written around the theme of Christian joy in order that the Church may rediscover the original source of evangelization in the contemporary world.

 

+Pope Francis offers this document to the Church as a map and guide to her pastoral mission in the near future.

 

+It is an invitation to recover a prophetic and positive vision of reality without ignoring the current challenges.

 

+Pope Francis instills courage and urges us to look ahead despite the present crisis, making the cross and the resurrection of Christ once again our “the victory banner”.

 

7) What are significant themes in the document?

 

The document contains the seven significant themes:

1.   The reform of the Church in its missionary work;

2.   The temptations of pastoral agents;

3.   The Church as the totality of the People of God which evangelizes;

4.   The homily and its preparation;

5.   The social inclusion of the poor;

6.   Peace and social dialogue;

7.   The spiritual motivations for the Church’s missionary action.

 

The glue that holds these themes together is the merciful love of God which goes forth to meet every person in order to manifest the heart of his revelation.

 

 Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Pope Francis’ Document Evangelii Gaudium: Part 2

What You Need To Know Part 2

 

4) What leads a pope to write an apostolic exhortation? Frequently, apostolic exhortations are written after a meeting of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod of Bishops is a group of bishops that gathers selected bishops from across the world to discuss a particular subject. At the synod, the bishops write a document making recommendations for the pope. It is then given to him for his reflection, and he may then write an apostolic exhortation based on the bishops’ recommendations. Exhortations that come about in this way are called “post-synodal” apostolic exhortations because they are written after (“post-”) a meeting of the synod. There does not have to be such an exhortation. Sometimes the bishops hold a meeting of the synod of bishops, but no apostolic exhortation is released. Also, not all apostolic exhortations are written after a synod, though. Sometimes the pope may decide to write one on his own, without a synod being held on the subject. This was the case with John Paul II’s Redemptoris Custos (Custodian of the Redeemer).

 

5) Why did Pope Francis write Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)?

It was written in response to the Synod of Bishops, which took place in October, 2012. It was devoted to the subject of new evangelization, so that is the subject of Evangelii Gaudium. This synod took place before Pope Francis was elected in March 2013. It sometimes happens that a synod is held and the pope who presided over it leaves office before the exhortation is released. His successor may then choose to go forward with the project.

 

Pope Francis’s decision in this case is similar to hide decision to release the encyclical Lumen Fidei, which was primarily drafted by Pope Benedict, but resigned before its publication. Pope Francis did not add very much to what Pope Benedict had written. Evangelii Gaudium, by contrast, is much more a “Francis document.” It regularly emphasizes the distinctive thought and themes of the new pope.

 

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

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

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