Mabuhay! Mabuhay! Mabuhay! That was probably the extent of my vocabulary in Filipino. As I look back, I was raised more as a “Portuguese Catholic.” While I am half Visayan, I really didn’t know much about being a Filipino Catholic until I was 11 years old and Father Paul McLeod asked me to serve at the annual Misa de Gallo at the Parish. For those who may not know, Misa de Gallo is a Filipino Christmas Tradition of a Novena of 9 pre-dawn Masses before Christmas. December 16-24. At that time, we used to begin the Misa at 4:30 a.m. and this was a sacrifice not only for me but for my parents too who would have to wake up early to bring me to church. That began a tradition for me to do the novena every year since then and learn more about my Filipino culture. Filipinos, aside from their deep faith and devotion to our Church also have a very strong work ethic and are generous is everything. Not to mention their joyful way of living and humility. I saw in my Grandparents who brought their family to Hawaii to have a better life.
The Filipino Catholic Clubs in Hawaii began in the 1940’s to help immigrant families to adjust to life in Hawaii and also to keep the faith and spirituality which they had back home. Because of the big Filipino population in Hawaii almost all Parishes in the Diocese has a Filipino Catholic Club. While most Filipino’s in Hawaii are already second and or third generation the club is still going strong. The mission of the Filipino Catholic Clubs are very active in Parish activities such as hosting the annual Misa de Gallo Novena, Fundraising, Bereavement, May Crowning, and many more. They are also very active in the community too with block rosaries, pro-life rallies, and social ministry.
A big part of their ministry too is the support of their Pastors and, very humbly, I say, their Seminarians. I am truly blessed to come from a small island with a large hearts. One of my biggest supporters in prayers and means is the Filipino Catholic Club of Immaculate Conception and of all the other Parishes on Kauai. I am always very humbled by their support and when they say simply “we need you, we need local priests!” They inspire me and make me proud to be a Filipino to see their hard work, devotion, and faith. They truly “witness to Jesus.” So, to go back to not knowing about being a “Filipino Catholic,” I say it doesn’t matter if you are Filipino, Portuguese, Japanese, or Puerto Rican what matters is you are Catholic, you are Universal and we must “Glorify God with our Lives…” As my dad always says, “Lucky, come Hawaii.” Thank you to the Filipino Catholic Clubs of Kauai for your support and prayers. I look forward to seeing you all in a few weeks for our annual Misa de Gallo. Dahang Salamat! Dios ti Agngina! Maraming Salamat Po!