Journey through the Sacraments Pt.2

Part 2: The Sacraments of Initiation

Baptism (from the Greek noun βάπτισμα baptisma, meaning immersion) is the sacrament in which, by water and the power of the Holy Spirit, a person is cleansed of all sin, including the original sin, and is reborn into the new life of Christ. We also say that a person becomes a new member of the Body of Christ. The action by which Baptism takes place is twofold:

The pouring of water or immersion;

The words: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (cf. Matthew 28:19)

Confirmation (from the Latin verb confirmare, meaning to make secure, firm or strengthen) is the sacrament in which the baptized members are strengthened by the Holy Spirit in order to bear witness to Christ throughout their lives by taking on the role of a disciple and steward of Jesus Christ. The Sacrament of Confirmation is conferred by a bishop or priest with the following action and words:

Laying of Hands and anointing with Holy Chrism The words  “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (cf. Acts 8:14-17)

Eucharist (from the Greek ευχαριστία efcharistia, which is a translation of the Hebrew word berekah both meaning thanksgiving or praise for the wonderful works of God.) is the sacrament in which the true Body and Blood of Christ, who is truly present under the appearance of bread and wine, is received in Holy Communion. The materials and the words by which the true Body and Blood of Christ is made present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are the following: 

· Bread and Wine 

· The words of  institution by the priest:  "This is my body.... this is my blood.... (cf. Luke 22:19, originally from 1 Corinthians 11:24)

In the next article, we will start a mini journey through the sacrament of  Baptism. 

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Journey through the Sacraments

Part 1: Introduction

During this Ordinary Time of the Liturgical Year, we will take a “journey through the sacraments” in this space. We will journey through the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation), then the Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation, Anointing) and finally the Sacraments of Vocation (Marriage and Holy Orders).

We begin this journey with the most basic question: what is a sacrament? The word “sacrament” originally comes from the Greek word “mysterion”, which literally means mystery, secret, hidden. St. Augustine in the fifth century defined a sacrament as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.”

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.” (#1131) This is a complex definition, so let's break it down.

 

·      The word efficacious means 'effective.' This means that sacraments do what they say they do. We believe that because of God's power, sacraments simply work. Thus, when I go to confession, I have no doubt that my sins are forgiven through the words of Absolution by the priest.

  

·        A sign is an object, word, or gesture that points to something beyond itself. According to Catholic teaching, sacraments use all kinds of human objects, words, and gestures, but all of these points beyond themselves to something greater, to God and His grace. 


·        Grace is defined as God's free gift of His presence, His help, and His salvation.

 

The Catholic Church therefore teaches that sacraments point to and are channels of God's grace. They work as an effective means of communication between God and His people. In the next bulletin, we will journey through the three Sacraments of Initiation. Stay tuned!

 

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Thank you!

Thank you for your  Pledge

After three months of in pew capital campaign weekends, April 29/30 to July 29/30, the Lord has achieved the unthinkable. We made great advance towards our expected goal. With 371 pledges (30% of registered households) totaling $1.6 Million, we are more than half way to the target goal of $3 million; 50% of the total cost of the OCC that the diocese requires before the diocese will authorize us to get a construction line of credit. My faith tells me that the Lord will get us there. The reason I am so optimistic is because of you parishioners. I am so happy that so many of you have come forward to support your parish noble vision and mission. You have listened to the Holy Spirit inviting you to join other parishioners who took the lead.

I want to thank all parishioners for the trust you have given me and the parish leadership on this journey. This past weekend has shown me your faith, your conviction and trust in what we are doing in our parish. Thank you for your pledge.

In a particular way, I want to thank our parish leadership and staff for the time they have given to God to plan, strategize and execute our capital campaign. Without such leadership we would not be where we are today. Some of you have given away your family quality time just to serve the Lord as they serve the parish in their leadership. I thank each of you and your spouses and children.

There is at least one thing I have learned in this process. It is very easy to assume that everybody understands a capital campaign. In a capital campaign, every household counts in the success of the parish capital campaign. Some households have discussed and prayed about what they will sacrifice in order to give to the parish capital campaign. One such story touched me very deeply. Thank you for your sacrifice and commitment. May God bless you abundantly. 

Msgr. John S. Mbinda 

Grateful and Giving

How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” (Psalm 116:12). This catechesis focuses on being grateful for the treasures God gives to each of us. It may come as a surprise to learn that while the Bible has about 500 verses on prayer and fewer than 500 verses on faith, there are over 2,300 biblical verses dealing with money and possessions. Without apology, Jesus says more about money and possessions than he does about any other subjects, including heaven and hell. Jesus knew the human heart so well. He knew the way money gets a hold of our hearts and the way at times we forget the giver of all we possess.

We give to God because He first gave us all we possess. “What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?” (1 Cor 4:7). We have been abundantly blessed by God. Each time we come to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, we come intentionally to express gratitude to God. Shortly before the consecration, the presider and the congregation exchange a dialogue of thanksgiving. “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God”, the presider prays, and we respond, “It is right and just.” The presider continues to pray, “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, Holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.”

Just as the Father sacrifices His Son on the Cross for our salvation, our thanksgiving to God needs to be sacrificial, that is giving till it hurts!   One of the tensions in our discipleship lies in whether we live our life and give to God the leftovers, or whether we give to God first, and then manage the rest.  During this capital campaign, let us prayerfully put down our three-year pledge to give for our One Community Center. If you have not made your pledge yet, count your blessings first, and then write down your pledge. I want to thank all parishioners for your patience and understanding during this process of our capital campaign.

 Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Engaging and Equipping New Parishioners

In follow up to the article on hospitality, I wanted us to reflect on what more we can do after welcoming our new parishioners before the Sunday Mass. Greeting them with a lei before Mass is meaningful, but what happens next? The first thing our hospitality ministers need to do is meet them after Mass and give them a registration form as they do not know where to find them. This past Sunday I met one new parishioner who was walking away with a lei and I asked her where she came from and said she had just moved to Mililani from Waipio. She wanted to register, and so I gave her the registration form which she completed and gave to me. We have to make an effort to encounter them before they leave the campus.

The first step the pastor takes after receiving a registration form is to send a letter of welcome to the new parishioner. I believe we can do more. We need to introduce our parish to new parishioners and therefore there is need to create an occasion to meet with newly registered parishioners. This would be an occasion to host a light meal on the rectory lanai in a more relaxed atmosphere and simply talk story with one another in order to get to know the pastor, the parochial vicar and the hospitality ministers. The Aloha Hospitality Ministry plans to create a welcome package that would be given to all new parishioners on the occasion of meeting them as a way of introducing the life of the parish to them.

Part of engaging new parishioners is perhaps to lead them to share what talents and gift they bring along to the parish. In that process, we help them to identify what their contribution to the life of the parish would be in terms of ministry. Then we should begin a process of equipping and forming new parishioners for witness in their lives.

Msgr. John S. Mbinda 

Hospitality Leads to Sense of Belonging

In the last two years, we have taken our Aloha Hospitality Ministry more seriously, mainly because hospitality leads to a great sense of belonging and a vibrant parish community.  When one arrives on our campus, the first thing one notices is a banner that says “Welcome to St. John Apostle & Evangelist Church:  A Place to Feel at Home.” Our Aloha Hospitality Ministry has evolved to include “Parking Lot Ministry” and “Greeters Ministry” that extends from the Lanai into the Church.

 This year we have gone to a new level of hospitality and welcome by including all volunteers and clergy in the greeters ministry before Mass. On Sundays before Mass, we greet and welcome all visitors and new parishioners. We offer them leis as a sign of our welcome and hospitality. When people feel welcome they get a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging leads to being actively engaged in the life of the parish, and engagement opens the door to being equipped and formed for ministry and witness in the community in terms of evangelization. In welcoming new parishioners, we prepare them for witness in their own lives, so that they may be ready to evangelize others.

 Have we achieved the target goals we set for ourselves in our 2015 Pastoral Plan? I believe we have. The results have been amazing. From 2015-2016 our parish added 267 new registered households. However, the best measure is not the number of new parishioners, but engagement of volunteers in ministries. Our ministries have grown and so has the number of volunteers serving in these ministries. Just look at the lanai on any given Sunday and you notice volunteers engaged in ministry mainly to serve others. Our daily Mass attendance has increased. We have become a more vibrant parish community particularly because of our vibrant weekend liturgies that engage parishioners to participate and so be better nourished.

 Msgr. John S. Mbinda

We Welcome Fr. Michael Suh Niba

We welcome Fr. Michael Sul Niba, who will be in our parish during  July-September.

Fr. Michael was born on January 24, 1962 in Mambu – Bafut, Mezam, North West Region, Cameroon. On April 6 1988, he was ordained a Diocesan Priest of the Archdiocese of Bamenda in Anglophone Cameroon. He is 29 years a priest.  Except for the first two years of his ministry when he worked in the Parish, he has been in a school set up full time.

In his academic life, Fr. Michel did his studies at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, Italy, where he earned his BA in theology (1984) as well as MA (1992) and Ph.D. (1994) in philosophy. Between 1994 and 2016 he was a formator in the local Major Seminary. From 2010 to 2016 he worked as Vice Chancellor of Catholic University of Cameroon (CATUC), Bamenda.

In his professional work, Fr. Michael has published academic articles in various publications, and presented major lectures in the field of philosophy

Since November last year Fr. Michel has been on sabbatical. He dedicated the first year to rest and some pastoral experience. That's why he has come from so far away to St. John Apostle and Evangelist Church, Mililani.

Fr. Michael looks forward to sharing in our faith experience and having a great time in our midst. Hopefully, he will have a year of academic experience after Mililani before returning to Cameroon.

 

 

Introducing Fr. Joseph A. Ayinpuusa

Introducing Fr. Joseph A. Ayinpuusa

 

Fr. Joseph Anamoo Ayinpuusa was born on August 13, 1968 Bolga-Soe, a suburb of Bolgatanga, the regional capital of the Upper East region of Ghana in West Africa. He is the second of ten children (four girls and six boys).  

Fr. Joseph grew up in a family that practiced African Traditional Religion.  He received his formal education at the Bolga-Soe Roman Catholic Primary school in 1975. He entered Akatuuri Roman Catholic Middle school at Zaare, in Bolgatanga in 1981. 

While in Middle school, he began going to church through the influence of his classmates. He then enrolled into the RCIA catechumenate program in 1981 and received the Sacrament of Baptism on August 20, 1983, together with his younger brother, Emmanuel. He was confirmed the following year on June 10, 1984.

After his Baptism in 1983, he started entertaining the idea of becoming a priest, and applied to go to St. Victor’s Major Seminary, to study and be trained for the Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga.

On December 17 2000, he was ordained a deacon, then on September 15, 2001, he was ordained a Catholic priest.

Fr. Joseph came to the Diocese of Honolulu in July 2015 and was assigned to St. Jude, Kapolei. St. John Apostle & Evangelist is his second assignment and looks forward to serving as parochial vicar in our parish.  

Msgr. John S. Mbinda 

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

CAPITAL CAMPAIGN PRAYER

  “Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build.” (Psalm 127:1)

 We take the above words of the psalmist seriously because prayer is an important component of any parish capital campaign. Since we have created a beautiful prayer for our capital campaign, we will begin saying this prayer every Sunday immediately after the Prayer After Communion from July 1. The prayer will be projected on the screen.

The purpose of any prayer is petition for needs, praise and thanksgiving for blessings received. Our Capital Campaign Prayer starts with an address to the Almighty God and our acknowledgement for His mercy and generosity. We then ask for the grace to respond faithfully to God’s call for discipleship and evangelization. In humility, as God’s stewards, we acknowledge before God that we fully invest ourselves in attaining the goal of our Capital Campaign, which is to construct the One Community Center. We do this with loving generosity for the blessings God has given to each us, and in turn we offer these blessings back to God the giver of all we have received. Why do we build the One Community Center? We do it above all for God and for future generations. We include God in our goals and purposes because we have faith that God is with us in the Holy Spirit who inspires us on this journey towards a blessed and brighter future.  

 

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor 

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ also known as Corpus Christi in Latin, it is important to knows its background. The feast owes its origins to St. Juliana, a nun in Liege, Belgium. St. Juliana at an early age developed her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and was inspired to start a feast in honor of the Holy Eucharist. However, long before St. Juliana, the Catholic Church had a rich theological tradition on the Holy Eucharist leading to its devotion.  St. Thomas Aquinas considered the Holy Eucharist as the greatest of all Sacraments (cf. Summa, III:65,3). 

Pope Urban IV (1261-1264), issues a decree in September 4, 1264 instituting the Solemnity of Corpus Christi for the Universal Church. The Pope also asked the esteemed Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas to write the prayers for the proper of the Holy Mass, as well as several hymns to enhance the beauty of Corpus Christi. Among the text of the hymns prepared by St. Thomas Aquinas were the Pange Lingua, which we sing during the transfer of the Holy Eucharist to the altar of repose on Holy Thursday; the O Salutaris Hostia which we use at the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; the Tantum Ergo, taken from the Pange Lingua, which we normally use at Benediction; and the Lauda Sion, which is the optional Sequence used on the feast of Corpus Christi before the Gospel acclamation. St. Thomas Aquinas also composed the classic Panis Angelicus, a rendition of which is a favorite wedding hymn. As we celebrate Corpus Christi this Sunday, we are rooted in a long tradition.

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor 

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