As I sit here an hour into my flight from Honolulu to San Jose and as I look out the window I see the deep blue Pacific Ocean 35,000 feet below and soft white fluffy clouds guiding us on this journey. My departure from my Island Home is always emotional for gone are the days of Summer. Gone are the days of waking up to clear blue Hawaiian skies, Chickens crowing, and warm smiles of Aloha. Still, I know I shall return to you, my Hawaii. I take a deep breath and sigh and think, twas a good Summer.
This Summer I was blessed with many graces. I spent time with my family and friends at home on Kauai, but, I also made new friends, no not friends, but a new family at the Parish where I was assigned to. Saint John the Baptist Church in the heart of Kalihi is where I spent my summer months living, working, praying, learning and laughing with its parishioners, my new family.
When I arrived at Saint John the Baptist (SJB) I must admit I was a little nervous. I mean a Kauai boy moving to the City of Honolulu, and let alone Kalihi. Yes I had my own view of stereotypical “Kalihi.” However, that changed almost instantly when SJB’s Pastor Father John Fredy Quintero greeted me warmly and welcomed me to the Parish. We met to discuss my projects for the Summer as well as expectations from both me and him. Father John told me, “you are here to learn from us, and to share with us your life, gifts and talents.” I think we formed a very special bond and I consider him a friend and look forward to one day serving along side him at the Altar of Sacrifice. He is a good, holy, passionate, and loving priest and I know SJB will benefit from his leadership.
SJB is a very active, vibrant, and culturally diverse Parish, a very special parish in the Diocese of Honolulu. It ministers to the large Samoan, Hispanic, Micronesian, and Filipino cultures. Still, they all blend together to make the mission of God here on earth continue. It’s people are warm, loving, and faithful. They love God and his Church and they love their Parish. It was refreshing for me to see the pride they take in calling SJB home.
One of the first projects I was asked to undertake was the annual Saint John the Baptist Feast Day Mass and reception to be held on Saturday June 23, 2012. With only a week and a half to plan this event I needed to get crackin’ in meeting people who could help me with this event. Everything fell into place and went smoothly. A Solemn Vigil Mass in honor of our Patron Saint and an awesome dinner reception and entertainment for the parishioners. I couldn’t have done this without Mr. and Mrs. Ray and Tyra Lamb of course, and need to give them a shout out in this blog. Ray and Tyra helped me out with organizing the program and entertainment for the evening. Tyra and I co-hosted the program (something of which I haven’t done in years). Tyra asked me “you down to have some fun?” and thought “sure why not?” Anyway, between acts we would do duets and dances from famous couples like “You’re the one that I want” by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, “Proud Mary” by Ike and Tina Turner, and our grand finale of “I got you babe” by Sonny and Cher. It was truly a memorable and fun evening!
Now, of course it was not only fun and games. I also organized a “Ministry Fair” for the various ministries of the parish and then along with Father John and the ministry leaders to organize days of recollection and training. These days would be focused around my studying and presentation on the document “Porta Fidei” on the “Year of Faith” being declared by Pope Benedict XVI.
Aside from these my days would begin with my prayers with Father John and then Holy Mass. I would spend my mornings helping out in various ways in the office. Wednesday’s would be spent at the food bank distributing food to the hungry and I spent the weekends serving at Masses. I also found time for exercise, swimming, and hiking. But most of all my summer days were spent, forming relationships and making memories with the wonderful people of SJB. Twas a good, no, a great Summer SJB. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for the prayers. Thank you for your love.
MORE MEMORIES & LAUGHS!!!!