Called, Transformed, Sent to Serve

Called, Transformed, Sent to Serve

How are we called by Christ? Transformed by the Holy Spirit? Sent to serve? These are fundamental questions for every disciple of Jesus Christ. These are the questions that over 1,000 participants at the 2013 International Catholic Stewardship Conference in Dallas, Texas will be examining. The Diocese of Honolulu will be represented at the conference by 22 clergy, lay leaders from every vicariate along with Stewardship & Development Office staff. I will be among these 22 representatives at the conference September 22-25, 2013.

Bishop Larry has decided to send this delegation to the conference with a view to bringing back fresh ideas and resources to help plan a diocesan-wide parish and stewardship initiative. Putting emphasis on stewardship education and practice will provide a guiding light for the way forward in the Diocese of Honolulu.

Stewardship is very much part of accountability in the best transparent manner. That is why you received our parish Stewardship Report showing how your giving of time, talent and treasure has been used particularly through our Social Ministry to our neighbors in need. A future report will cover another aspect of our parish life and priorities.

Let me conclude with the words of Saint Paul: “God can multiply His favors among you so that you may always have enough of everything and even a surplus for good works’ (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor

My Faith and Sacraments of Healing

My Faith and Sacraments of Healing

In the Creed we pray: “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins…” The Sacrament of Reconciliation, Penance or Confession was instituted by Christ to offer forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism (CCC, 1486). Sin entails willful moving away from God. It is a self-alienation. The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God’s mercy. (CCC, 1490) The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins, and the intention to make reparation. (CCC, 1491) Individual and integral confession of grave sins followed by absolution remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church. (CCC, 1497)

“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (Jas 5:14-15). The proper time for receiving this holy anointing is when the believer falls ill or in danger of death because of illness or old age. (CCC, 1528) Each time a Christian falls seriously ill, he or she may receive the Anointing of the Sick, and also when the illness worsens. (CCC, 1529) Only priests (presbyters and bishops) can give the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, using oil blessed by the bishop, or if necessary by the celebrating presbyter himself. (CCC, 1530) The celebration of the Anointing of the Sick consists essentially in the anointing of the forehead and hands of the sick person, accompanied by the prayer of the celebrant asking for the special grace of this sacrament. (CCC, 1531) Family members may request for the sacrament when a member falls ill even if not seriously ill. This is not a sacrament for those about to die. Therefore waiting until someone is dying in the hospital is uncharitable for the sick person.

In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as viaticum. Communion in the body and blood of Christ, received at this moment of “passing over” to the Father, has a particular significance and importance. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” That is why St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. +117 A.D.) called the Eucharist the "medicine of immortality".

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor

Norms for Serving on Parish Finance Councils

Norms for Serving on Parish Finance Councils

Revised and Promulgated by

Most Reverend Clarence Silva, Bishop of Honolulu

On March 13, 2009, Most Reverend Clarence Silva, Bishop of Honolulu issued new norms to govern the parish finance councils, as required by canon 537 of the Code of Canon Law.

These norms need to be seen within a larger context of the entire parish, which in our case here at St. John Apostle and Evangelist we have four advisory councils. These councils work harmoniously in their advisory role to the pastor for the purpose of the growth of the whole parish community. Each council however plays a distinct role. In the bulletin you will find on the first two pages of the insert the responsibilities and relationships of each of the advisory councils.

The reason why there are norms governing finance councils is that they are the only councils required by church law. When the Bishop of a diocese issues norms for governing parishes, these norms have to be implemented. For some reason some of the norms of March 13, 2009 have not been implemented here at St. John Apostle & Evangelist Church. With the promulgation of the revised norms on May 30, 2013, I have decided to implement them.

What is the purpose of the parish finance council? Its purpose is “to advise and assist the pastor in the administration of the temporal goods of the parish.”

Along with this explanation, I have also decided to insert in this Sunday’s bulletin, three pages of the relevant section of the revised norms for your information.

In the five-page insert of the Norms, I draw your attention to Section IV of the Norms that deals with membership, number 32 that states as follows: “The members will serve a term of three years, renewable. Terms should be staggered so that about one third of the terms end each. The pastor may appoint some members to one or two year terms as needed to stagger terms.”

In view of these norms, I have decided to appoint two new members of the Finance Council who will start their ministry at the next meeting of the Finance Council. In accordance with the new norms, their names will be published in the next bulletin. So stay tuned.

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor

Marriage and Family Life Catechesis 101 Part 4

Last Sunday’s bulletin catechesis ended by saying that marriage annulment may be necessary for some couples before a validation ceremony. What is marriage annulment? A marriage annulment, also known as a declaration of nullity or invalidity, is a statement of fact by the Catholic Church. After carefully examining the couple's broken relationship, the Church states that a valid marriage, as the Church defines marriage, never existed. It is not "Catholic divorce," as some have called it, since divorce looks at the moment the relationship broke down and says, "A marriage existed, and now we are ending it." The annulment process says, on the other hand, "From the very beginning, something was lacking that was necessary for this relationship to be called a marriage." Quite often, what is lacking at the time of the civil contract is one of the essential elements or properties of marriage. The Church teaches that marriage is permanent. If a sacramental marriage is created, no human power can separate what God has joined together (see Mt 19:6). According to the Church, not even a civil government with the power to end the civil contract (which the state calls "marriage") can terminate a sacramental marriage. Once two people stand in front of God and contract a marriage, this covenant cannot be dissolved so long as both parties remain alive. The marriage bond is in place until death. As a result, no new marriage covenant can be created with someone else.

Any person who has entered a genuine marriage remains bound to that spouse. The spiritual bonds of marriage, if formed, cannot be ended by civil divorce. In the eyes of the Church, divorce ends only the various civil, financial, and legal bonds previously contracted between spouses, but not the spiritual bonds. The Catholic Church investigates, through the annulment process, whether an actual marriage, as defined by the Church, existed. In carrying out this investigation, the Church examines various facts presented to the marriage tribunal by those seeking the annulment and their witnesses. If the Church then determines that no genuine marriage came into being, these individuals are free to marry someone else if that person is also free to marry.

If one is not Catholic, but plans to marry a Catholic, he/she might be asked to go through the annulment process. This seems odd to most non-Catholics because neither person from the first union is Catholic. If the non-Catholic religious community of either spouse recognizes the marriage, so does the Catholic Church. Since marriage, as God created it, is permanent, then the Catholic Church must also investigate these marriages. Because the non-Catholic wishes to marry a Catholic, the Church's law applies to the proposed marriage, since canon law still binds the Catholic whom the non-Catholic wishes to marry.

In the next bulletin, we turn our attention to the Year of Faith in the context of our parish theme, “Set Your Faith Ablaze in the Year of Faith” in view of our Summer Faith Formation Program August Sessions to be presented by Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP who will speak on “Reactivating Our Catholic Faith.” So stay tuned.

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor

 

Marriage and Family Life Catechesis 101 Part 3

Marriage and Family Life Catechesis 101 Part 3

At the end of last Sunday bulletin catechesis, the question of how one proceed in having marriage validation was raised. This bulletin catechesis deals with the process of what we call “convalidation” or simply validation. Validation is not a “re-marriage” but a recognition by the Catholic Church as a Sacrament.

The idea of validation is to help couples to be married in the eyes of the Church. However, being married in the eyes of the Church involves more than just paperwork. Civil society sees marriage as a contract that can be easily broken. The Church views marriage as a Sacrament instituted by God in Christ, a permanent covenant of love between husband and wife.

Catholics who want their marriage recognized by the Church begin such a process by making an appointment with a priest or a deacon in order to assess each case by itself. What is needed to proceed with the process? According to the Diocese of Honolulu guidelines, both need to produce fresh copies of their baptism issued by the parish where they were baptized. If one or both have had a previous marriage before the present one, a process of annulment takes place. Each partner’s previous marriage if any, is handled separately. A favorable declaration of nullity of any previous marriage is required for validation to proceed.

Another requirement is preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage. For validation in the Diocese of Honolulu, we have the program of Engaged Encounter that organizes weekend retreats for couples intending to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage. Here in our parish we can make arrangements for couples to do their required Diocese of Honolulu preparation with our own marriage encounter team. All these preparations happen while at the same time doing the paper work with the guidance of the clergy in our parish. The paper work process may take long especially if one was baptized outside the United States. Therefore it is better to start early.

What happens on the day of validation? All that is required is the couple, two witnesses and a priest or deacon. The ceremony is short. The purpose of the marriage witnesses is to verify that the marriage indeed took place.

Since the question of the annulment of previous marriages is always an issue before validation, that will be the topic for next Sunday catechesis. Stay tuned!

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor

 

Marriage and Family Life - Catechesis 101 Part 2

Marriage and Family Life - Catechesis 101 Part 2

At the end of last week’s pastor’s corner catechesis, the question of who needs marriage validation was raised. This week’s catechesis focuses on that question. In more direct language, any couple whose marriage is not a sacramental marriage would need to have their marriage validated, that is, raising it to sacramental marriage. At times we use the language of blessing the marriage since it was only performed in a civil ceremony. Some tend to think that a civil ceremony is ok and mistakenly some couples after such ceremonies continue to receive the Eucharist. The teaching of the Church is that such couples are living in an irregular union and may only come forward with both arms crossed upon the chest to receive a blessing at this time of Holy Communion.

Couples who have married outside the Catholic Church (on the beach, in a hotel, on a boat cruise, in the park or in the military by a non-Catholic chaplain) or couples who have simply moved together to cohabit, all need first to talk to a priest or deacon for advise on best way to proceed. Those divorced and remarried, even if it is one of the partners who has been divorced, need to talk to a priest or deacon to be guided. Other couples who marry in a protestant church without permission from their bishop would also need validation. The validation ceremony which need not be within Mass comes at the end of preparation with a priest or deacon. In the course of such preparation, the question of annulment of a previous marriage may arise. A brief catechesis on this question will be given in the coming weeks.

How does one proceed in having marriage validation? Since every marriage situation is different, there is no one answer, but there are general guiding principles. This procedure will be the topic in the next pastor’s corner catechesis. So stay tuned.

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor

Marriage and Family Life Catechesis 101 Part 1

Marriage and Family Life Catechesis 101 Part 1

Last Year I already pointed out that during the Year of Faith, our parish will provide ongoing catechesis, education and formation on marriage and family life. In the coming Sunday bulletins, several themes will touch upon this theme. The bulletin catechesis this Sunday addresses some issues about the sacrament of marriage in the Catholic Church.

One such issue concerns irregular marriage. An irregular marriage exists when one or both partners in a marriage are divorced and remarry outside the Catholic Church.  According the Law of the Church, divorced Catholics who remarry outside of the Church should not receive communion (Catechism, 1650).  St. John Apostle & Evangelist parish is committed to assisting parishioners who might be in irregular marriage to correct this and bring them back into full communion with the Church during this Year of Faith. The Church just like Christ is compassionate and does not judge or condemn anyone. She only acts like a mother to help her children caring about their nourishment.

At times, an irregular marriage may also be an invalid marriage. There are three basic requirements for a valid Catholic wedding:

  • The couple must be capable of being married—that is, they must be a woman and a man who are free of any impediment that would prevent marriage.
  • The couple must give their consent to be married—that is, by an act of their will they irrevocably give and accept one another in order to establish marriage (Canon 1057).

· They must follow the canonical form for marriage—that is, they must be married according to the laws of the Church so that the Church and the wider community will be certain about the validity of their marriage.

If you know of a relative’s marriage that is irregular or invalid, it does not have to be this way. The Church can help through a compassionate process. All one needs is the courage to do so. The priests and the deacons in our parish will guide anyone in this situation to the end. Last year in February 6 couples in our parish had a validation rite of marriage together on one day. The validation ceremony makes the invalid union valid and sacramental, that is, the marriage becomes an instrument of God’s grace; it brings Christ into the marriage. It does not have to be a separate ceremony for each couple. All what a couple needs is two witnesses apart from the priest or deacon. The parish plans to organize another validation ceremony on Saturday, February 8.

So who needs marriage validation? That is the topic for catechesis in the next bulletin. Stay tuned!

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor

YOU CAT! A New Catechism Part 2

youcat a new catechismYOUCAT! A New Catechism Part 2

In this brief second part of YOUCAT, I wish to offer some more interesting features of the new youth catechism. You will also find some useful Internet links at the end of this catechesis.

The set-up of YOUCAT is such that it encourages young people to explore deeper meanings of their faith together, encourages e-mail and Twitter and other means of personal exchange wherein they can discuss their faith, learn from YOUCAT and share with one another the joy of being disciples of Christ, members of His Body, one with all of us in the Church — pope, bishops, priests and deacons, consecrated women and men and faith-filled lay men and women.

Pope Benedict XVI noted that some thought there would be little interest but he was convinced otherwise. Young people today, he has said, are not superficial. They want to know the meaning of life. They are searching for answers that will disclose to them their destiny. YOUCAT contains materials that point out new possibilities for them and give them a fuller view of life as transformed by Jesus Christ.

The appealing graphic format includes Questions-and-Answers, highly-readable commentary, summary definitions of key terms, Bible citations and inspiring and thought-provoking quotes from Saints and others in the margins. What's more, YOUCAT is keyed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so people can go deeper. It explains:

  • What Catholics believe and why (doctrine)
  • How Catholics celebrate the mysteries of the faith (sacraments)
  • How Catholics are to live (moral life)
  • How they should pray (prayer and spirituality)

The questions are direct and honest, even at times tough; the answers straightforward, relevant, and compelling. YOUCAT will likely become the "go-to" place for young people to learn the truth about the Catholic faith.

Useful links:

www.youcat.org/

www.youcat.us/

https://www.facebook.com/YoucatUSA

http://www.newmanconnection.com/institute/courses/exploring-youcat

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

Pastor

YOUCAT! A New Catechism Part 1

YOUCAT! A New Catechism Part 1

YOUCAT is actually a Catholic Catechism. You may take my word as it is a wonderful Catechism for Teens up to 20 and 30-year-Olds. It is not a cocktail of modernism, but a Catechism endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI. The idea of a new catechism for young people grew out of the World Youth Days. At the World Day Youth Day in Madrid August 16 to 21 2011, Pope Benedict informed the World Youth Gathering that the principal author of the new youth catechism was Cardinal Christoph Schonborn (Austrian Archbishop of Vienna, Dominican theologian and advisor to the Vatican Office for Doctrine of the Faith), the same person who coordinated and edited the 1993 Catechism of the Catholic Church.

YOUCAT catechism is aimed at teen to 20 and 30-year-olds. The Pope called this new catechism “extraordinary” because of its content but also because of its format. All of us who lived through the decade or so after the Vatican Council lived through a time when the great teachings of the Council were manipulated by pseudo-theologians and others bent on creating a new Church that would simply bend to whatever the currents of the day would demand. The Pope lived that period too and, reflecting on those years, points out, “many people no longer knew correctly what Christians should actually believe, what the Church taught … and how all this could be adapted to the new cultural climate.”   In response to a growing number of Catholics who simply did not know their faith, Pope John Paul II adopted a suggestion from the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops of 1986 and set the Church on the road toward having the first new catechism since the Council of Trent some 450 years earlier. This Catechism of 1993 is the place where the true teaching of the Church can be found in all its richness. It is the place where our true Catholic faith anchored against those who have been trying to change that faith and change that Church into forms that contradict the will of Christ, who founded the Church and whose revelation is the content of our belief. “This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus Our Lord.” (Rite of Baptism).

YOUCAT is not a re-working of the large catechism. YOUCAT attempts to present the faith in terms and in contexts that help “transition” the content of faith into the multifaceted youth culture that stretches across our earth and touches young people from every part of the globe. In a real sense this is born of the experiences of the World Youth Days (WYD). Often at WYDs young people told Pope Benedict “we discovered guys from Australia and Tonga and Ghana and France and they are so much like us!” The sharing of the experience of faith reinforces the faith of young people and the deepening of their sense of belonging to the one Catholic Church solidifies them in their commitments and makes them more vibrant witnesses of Christ in an increasingly secular world. One copy of YOUCAT is available for our parish library and on our Year of Faith Books List. Stay tuned for part 2.

Msgr. John S. Mbinda
Pastor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate Heart of MaryFeast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is observed the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Both devotions are closely linked, but we need to know their difference. The Devotion to the Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the "Divine Heart" as overflowing with Divine love for humanity. In the devotion to the Heart of Mary, on the other hand, the attraction is the love of her Heart for Jesus and for God. A second difference is the nature of the devotion itself. In devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we respond to his love. In venerating the Heart of Mary, we imitate her virtue love for her Son. The Catechism teaches us that "Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it." "This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death" (C.C.C. # 964, 1172).

It was St. John Eudes who initiated the veneration of what was then known as the Pure Heart of Mary in 1648 by composing the texts for the feast day Mass and prayers.

When Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three children in 1917, she emphasized the need of steadfast prayers, true repentance and penance for the sins of humanity. Over and above this, she asked for the Consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart in order to obtain peace in the world and the conversion of Russia.

Within a few years, the Holy Catholic Church officially recognized the apparitions of Fatima. Immediately, the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary reached every continent to find its way in most Catholic homes in the form of holy pictures, statues, medals, etc...

Following this, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942. Two years later, in 1944, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was instituted in the Western Church. In 1945, to promote devotion, the Pope established August 22 as the feast for this devotion, and extended it to the Universal Church. In 1969, the feast was moved to the day after the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

What is so special about the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary? As the Catechism of the Holy Catholic Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the new Eve (C.C.C. # 411, 511, 726, 975, 2618, 2853). She is full of grace by the power of the Holy Spirit, preserved from sin as teaches the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and preserved from the corruption of death according to the dogma of the Assumption (C.C.C. 2853). The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary culminates all what has been progressively revealed to the Church regarding her beauty, her honors and her glories. To no other creations has the Lord God given so great honors and glories as He has bestowed upon Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Msgr. John S. Mbinda
Pastor