Making a Return to the Lord


“How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?"  (Psalm 116:12.) 


After such successful renewal weekend, I wanted to say thank you to all parishioners who submitted their commitment cards with great generosity. At times it is important to see why the Church speaks about treasure. It may come as a surprise 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 on any other subjects including heaven and hell. Jesus knew the human heart so well. He knew the way money gets 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 Mass on Sunday, we come intentionally to express gratitude to God. Shortly before the consecration, the priest and the congregation exchange a dialogue of thanksgiving. The priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God”, and we respond, “It is right and just.” The priest 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.” The Mass is also called Eucharist because it is the highest form of thanksgiving prayer.

Just as the Father sacrifices His Son on the Cross for our salvation, our thanksgiving to God needs to be sacrificial and not just a tip to God!  One of the tensions in our stewardship lies in God giving us so much, and turning around to give to God the leftovers! Should we not rather give to God first, and then manage the rest?  Well, that is a challenge. Count your blessings first, and then write down your annual commitment to God. May God bless you and family abundantly.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

How can we not be Grateful?

From 2014 to 2018 we have followed an intentional purpose driven game plan whose purpose has always focused on spiritual formation of all parishioners through the various gatherings: staff, leadership, ministries and parish-wide intentional process: praying our stewardship prayer at the beginning of all our meetings; bible sharing by reading and sharing the gospel of the following Sunday. At staff and stewardship council meetings, we have an ongoing book study with each member reading before the meeting and sharing some thoughts during the meeting. Only then do we have the agenda business. That intentional process has been implemented for the purpose of transforming our parish life so we may get “to the next level of stewardship as a way of life.” Every year, we have a parish-wide stewardship leadership retreat guided by a priest. This year we had Fr. Herman Gomes, SS.CC, provincial of the Sacred Hearts. Last Sunday, we had Jun Tantamco who gave us a powerful witness of his journey of stewardship as a way of life. At the end he asked, “How can I not be grateful?”


This year’s Stewardship Renewal theme is “Gratefulness”. As a parish we have so much to be grateful to God too. For the last 5 years 2014-2018 there is so much to be grateful. There has been significant observable change in our parish. Our ministries have increased from 51 to 62 with more parishioners giving their time and talent to serve. Our parish has grown in numbers too. Between 2014 and October 2018, we added 473 households. That is why we need the One Community Center (our #1 priority in the 2015 pastoral plan.) We have become a more vibrant parish community, thanks to our dynamic liturgical celebrations each Sunday. Out of nowhere an anonymous donor gave us $1,000,000 for the construction of our One Community Center. We also received two relics – that of St. Damien and of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The good news is that on November 8 Bishop Larry Silva will give to our parish the relic of St. Marianne Cope. With so many blessings, how can we not be grateful? This Sunday let us offer to God our gratefulness for all his blessing by committing our time, talent and treasure to Him. When you give to God, God give back 100-fold.


 Monsignor John S. Mbinda

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: 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

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