OCC Groundbreaking Event, Saturday, June 16 2018.

That’s right!  Last Sunday, we have officially announced that we will be celebrating a groundbreaking event on Saturday, June16, starting with 5pm Vigil Mass, presided by Msgr. Gary Secor, Vicar General of the Diocese of Honolulu.

 

The Leadership Advisory Council (LAC) has worked hard both on the plans and the financing of the One Community Center to make sure that the facility we want is both cost effective and functional. The 7,000 square foot multi-purpose facility will accommodate 500 people. It will have an office, a warming kitchen, handicap accessible bathrooms, storage and modern audio/visual technology including a 9´x12´screen to livestream Mass and other liturgical functions in the overflow, for example Christmas and Easter.   There will be space to move various activities and events currently held in the church but do not belong in our sanctuary, such as concerts, presentations, town hall meetings, parish-wide events, large parish ministry gatherings, etc. The One Community Center will expand our parish community capacity for our parish ministries’ meetings and formation events, as well as our ability for outreach in Central and Northern Oahu.

 

Almost 20 years ago, there was a vision to build a parish hall at the time of the renovation of the present church. Now, God has brought us to another great milestone in our parish to realize that vision with the One Community Center. It has taken a long time to get to this point. These are exciting times for the Catholic Community of St. John Apostle & Evangelist. The groundbreaking ceremony is a clear sign that we are building!

 

As your pastor, I have great faith that God who has brought us to this stage in our vision, will also lead us to its realization through our stewardship spirit of generosity. Once again I take the opportunity to thank those who have submitted their capital campaign pledge card and continue to honor it. As we begin construction, we will need the continuous flow of funds. Mahalo and may God bless you with more so that you may give back to serve God’s needs through the parish.

 

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

One Community Center Update

Since the last update on the temporary relocation of the preschool to Mililani Presbyterian Church campus, our One Community Center project moves forward. It is now clear that WE ARE BUILDING! Our One Community Center project is about to begin.

In the bulletin of this Sunday, you will find an invitiation to the Ceremonial Groundbreaking for our One Community Center that will take place on Saturday, June 16, 2018, after the 5 pm Mass.  Msgr. Gary Secor, Vicar General of the Diocese of Honolulu and pastor here at St. John Apostle and Evangelist parish for 12 years, will preside the Mass and lead the Groundbreaking Ceremony.  This is an important step in realizing our vision. 

What does the Groundbreaking mean?  It means we are serious about constructing the Once Community Center.  We are all excited about the beginnings of realizing our One Community Center.  We now must stand together to see this project through.  May our Prayer for the Capital Campaign continue to inspire as we go forward.  

I am confident that the Lord who began this good work will continue to guide us to its completion. (cf. Philippians 1:6)

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

215 Dynamic Youth Ready to Serve

Dear Parishioners,

Last weekend on Pentecost Sunday, our parish witnessed the largest confirmation group ever -215 in all! Our dynamic youth are now ready to serve in various ministries and we need to make room for them to serve. Comprehensive Youth Ministry means that our youth serve in all ministries in their journey of growth in Christ.

My dear young people, I want first of all to congratulate you once again and let you know how much I appreciate you all. The Confirmations went so smoothly because of you all. We now look forward to the follow up journey of faith. The experience of Pentecost energized you and transformed you into powerful instruments of witness in sharing the story of your journey of faith with other young people out there on the school campus, in the neighborhood in the locker room and in the work place. You have been equipped with a desire to serve in our parish ministries. Soon we will offer you the full list of our parish ministries so you can personally discern what you would be interested in doing. The first thing I would like you to realize is that God loves you as you are. God never judges anyone but intends ongoing transformation in all of us. I look forward to meeting you again on May 27 after the 6 pm Mass in the church.

Dear parents, grandparents and godparents, I want to thank you for handing on your faith to your children, the young women and men who were just confirmed and received Holy Communion, the “source and summit” of church life. Your family ministry as parents and your time to accompany your children on the journey of formation is part of that handing on of the faith. This does not end with the reception of the Sacraments but continues through the entire life of our children even when they turn into adults.

May God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you always.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

 As Catholics, we believe that one is sealed with the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, thereby receiving the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. We also believe that at Baptism we receive these seven gifts and that at Confirmation we are strengthened so that we can proclaim the truths of the faith.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches: "The reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace."[88] For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed." (CCC#1285)

The seven gifts are based on the prophecy of Isaiah who describes the characteristics of the Messiah which means the anointed one. In chapter 11:2-3, we read: “The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom (1) and of understanding (2) A spirit of counsel (3) and of strength (4) a spirit of knowledge (5) piety (6) and of fear of the LORD (7) and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.  Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide." 

 

At Baptism, these qualities of the Anointed One (Jesus Christ) are imparted on us and sealed strengthened by Confirmation, so that led by the Holy Spirit we may give authentic witness to the truth about Jesus Christ. Let us pray that our children may be strengthened by the Sacraments they receive on this Pentecost Sunday.

 

Monsignor John S. Mbinda 

Congratulations to all our Candidates!

Over the last two years, our parish RE staff and volunteers have been preparing our students for the Sacrament of First Reconciliation and the Sacraments of Initiation (Confirmation and First Holy Communion). Over the weekend of Pentecost, May 19/20, a total of 215 students will be confirmed. Among these, 50 will be receiving their First Holy Communion.

On Saturday, May 19, Msgr. John will preside the 5 PM Mass at which 50 students will receive, Confirmation and Eucharist (FRCE).  Then on Sunday, May 20, Fr. Joseph will preside the 9 AM Mass at which 65 students will receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Eucharist (grades 3-5). The largest group of students this year is the Life Teen & Edge. A total of 100 will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at the Sunday, 11 AM Mass, presided by Msgr. John.  

Parking as well as seating inside the church will be very limited. If you have children receiving the Sacraments next weekend, consider arriving early to find parking space. If you normally attend the 5pm, 9am or the 11am Masses and do not have a child receiving the Sacraments next weekend, consider attending the 7am or 6pm Masses.  

I take the opportunity to offer my congratulations to all candidates for the Sacraments of Initiation according to the Original Order that we implement for the first time this year.  A big mahalo to all parents, grandparents and godparents for your support during this journey of preparation for your children. According to the Original Order process, the journey does not end with the reception of these Sacraments but continues all our life. This is a moment to encourage your children to assume some ministry in the parish. 

 

Monsignor John S. Mbinda 

What will Happen on Pentecost Weekend?

On Pentecost weekend, St. Apostle & Evangelist parish along with several other parishes in the Diocese of Honolulu will implement the Original Order of the Sacraments of Initiation. The Religious Education Department under the leadership of its Director of Religious Education (DRE), staff. volunteer team, aides have been working forming our children and youth along with their parents and godparents in preparation for this implementation. We still have a few more sessions before May 19/20:

 vMay 9, Practice for First Reconciliation, Confirmation &   Eucharist (FRCE), 6-8pm.

vMay 12, EDGE and Life Teen Students & Sponsors, 9am-12pm.

vMay 16, FRCE Students & Sponsors, 6-8pm.

vMay 19, 5pm Mass: FRCE Students will receive Sacraments of Confirmation & First Holy Communion. Msgr. John will preside.

vMay 20, 9am Mass: Students in grades 3-5 will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Students & Sponsors report by 8am. Picture taking begins at 8:15am.   Fr. Joseph will preside.

 vMay 20, 11am Mass: EDGE & Life Teen Students will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Students & Sponsors report by 10am. Picture taking begins at 10:15am.  Msgr. John will preside.

Parking on our campus is limited. Therefore try, to arrive early to ensure you have parking. If you cannot find parking here, try the shopping center.

I take the opportunity to thank all parents and sponsors for journeying with your children. Please remember that the journey continues after confirmation with mystagogy sessions, which will present post-confirmation catechesis and help entry into parish ministry. These sessions I encourage all candidates, their parents and sponsors to consider joining a ministry to serve your parish.

 

 Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Original Order: Background History

As the Solemnity of Pentecost approaches (May 19/20), all parishioners need to be aware of the Original Order being implemented by the Diocese of Honolulu on that weekend. This article briefly outlines the background history of the Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

 

In the early Church the sacraments of initiation were three: Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist. They were celebrated together in a single rite, with a bishop as presider. This was the practice of the Roman Rite up until the 5th or 6th century when bishops could no longer be present at all baptisms, leading to a time of separation between baptism and confirmation. At first the time of separation was short, but as time went on, the delay for the bishop to arrive grew. Still the Church celebrated the sacraments in the order of Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist until this century.

 

In 1910 Pope Pius X ordered that children be allowed to come to the table of the Eucharist as soon as they could distinguish the Eucharist from ordinary bread. The age was then lowered to around seven. Confirmation then came after First Eucharist. The reforms of Vatican Council II called the Church to restore the original order of sacraments. This is not without challenge and difficulties. Such a change presumes a deep commitment on the part of the family to nurture the life of the young. Such a commitment means that parents have a need to understand the reasons for change & the ways in which they can help their children.

 

The main reason for restoring the order of the sacraments (i.e. putting Confirmation before First Holy Communion) is to emphasize that Eucharist (Communion) is THE sacrament, which celebrates our FULL membership in the Body of Christ. Receiving Confirmation at the same Mass where the First Holy Communion is also received, makes clear that the order of the Sacraments is: Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion, the sacrament of ongoing growth and unity. Holy Communion therefore nourishes us for ministry. After Pentecost, there will be post-confirmation catechesis or mystagogy to accompany the newly confirmed.    

 

So stay tuned.

 

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Good Shepherd Sunday: Vocations Sunday

 

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also called Good Shepherd Sunday because on this Sunday we hear the Gospel of St. John in which Jesus tell us that he is the Good Shepherd. Jesus as our Good Shepherd cares for us, nourishes us and keeps us in good spiritual health. He has appointed bishops and priests to serve on his behalf as shepherds. For that reason, on this Sunday the whole Church prays for good vocations. Here in the Diocese of Honolulu we certainly need more priests.

 

Two weeks ago, I was speaking to our young confirmation students and one of them asked me how I realize I had a vocation to be a priest. Vocation to the priesthood can begin with an attraction to serve God following the example of good priests. That was my starting point. I saw the kindness of the Irish priest who was the principal of my school as well as the pastor who was so caring. The priests did not ask me if I wanted to become a priest. I came to that conclusion myself perhaps with God’s Grace. Other times the seed of vocation can be planted by parents in their children. Priests too can plant that seed in young men and help them to discern as they grow.

 

Here at St. John’s we say the Diocesan Prayer for vocations at the end of Mass during weekdays. This prayer is our continuous response to Jesus who asks us to “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers to the vineyard.” Parents can respond to this prayer by encouraging their sons to think of being priests in the future. Thanks to those parents who are already open to encourage their sons to think of vocation to the priesthood even in their young years. May God bless such parents. May He bless parents of priests, seminarians and future seminarian more particularly for their sacrifice so that their sons may be good shepherds of Christ’s flock.

 

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Mystery of the Resurrection

Christ is Risen! Indeed, he is risen! This ancient greeting is still used today among Eastern Catholics and Orthodox Christians. During the season of Easter and indeed every Sunday and every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we recall the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the center-piece of our Christian faith. But what does the resurrection mean to us?

In the first place it is a mystery that we cannot understand. In the Gospel passage of this Sunday, the disciples are in a closed room when the Risen Lord simply shows up in their midst. They are startled and terrified. You and I would have reacted in the same way. How is it possible that the same Jesus who was crucified, died and now is right there in their presence. “Peace be with you.” He said to them. He then challenged their misbelief, but also helped them to gradually understand that they were not seeing a ghost as they imagined. What Jesus says to the disciples is very down to earth. “Touch me and see me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones.” “Have you anything here to eat?” He wants the disciples to make use of all their bodily senses of touch and seeing. He asks them to see the wounds on his hands, his feet and on his side, in order to realize that he is indeed the same one who died on the Cross, but now alive. Perhaps what convinces the disciples even more is the fact that he asks for some food and eats right in their presence and then proceed to open their minds to the scriptures for them to understand that all what has happened to him had already been foretold in the scriptures.

We accept and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ not only on the grounds of eye witnesses, his disciples, but also by our own faith, which is a gift from God. During the rest of the Easter season, we live as people of the resurrection, knowing that Christ’s victory over death and the power of evil is also our victory.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda 

What is Divine Mercy?

The Second Sunday of Easter has been designated as Divine Mercy Sunday. What do we understand by Divine Mercy? From the diary of Saint Faustina, a special devotion began spreading throughout the world in the 1930s. That message was nothing new, but a reminder of what the Church had always taught through scripture and tradition: that God is merciful and forgiving. Consequently, we too must show mercy and forgiveness. But in the Divine Mercy devotion, the message takes on a powerful new focus, calling people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone, especially the greatest sinners.

The message of mercy is that God loves us, all of us, no matter how great our sins when we repent. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. The message of Divine Mercy is threefold: 1) Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world. 2) Be merciful. God wants us to receive His merciful forgiveness and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us. 3) Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive God’s mercy. In brief, God’s name is Mercy! God’s mercy is greater than the total sum of our sins.

Divine Mercy devotion here at St. John’s will be Sunday, April 8 beginning at 3 PM with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Come and join us.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda