Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Palm Sunday at my Cathedral

I feel so blessed to be able to use, once again, a tool and gadget that has been in my possession for three years now – my computer! I had to send it to the mainland for repair, so I was without it for two weeks. It is almost a “best friend” to me, a gift from God I consider. I have resolved to use it only for that which will give our Lord glory, for holy purposes, for the building of his Body. God has blessed it. It is almost good as new, and how I praise our Lord!

Palm Sunday at my church, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, was a solemn yet joyful event. The Samoan men and ladies – yes, our brothers and sisters with strong and lovely voices – decorated our church with palm branches. The pillars became adorned with its rich color and vibrancy, signifying the Lord’s strong will to walk on the path of obedience: to suffering and death, and to resurrection.

I was so proud of my bishop, Bishop Larry Silva, for once again speaking boldly on pro-life, on the practice of virtues such as purity and holiness, and on caring for the less fortunate. He firmly stressed the Gospel message to promote life and dignity of every person - what we ought to observe and practice - and distinguished it from the world’s point of view: it is alright to abort a child because it is an exercise of freedom of choice. He made it clear that our church teaches that sex is a sacred act between a man and a woman within the sanctity of marriage only, and pointed out the misleading message of the world: that sex is alright with whom one wishes to do it. He challenged us to live a pure and holy life, to stay away from impure thoughts, and pornography that is so easily accessible through the use of technology. He also added that persecution will arise when we speak the truth, but that we shouldn't let fear overcome us because God is with us.

I praise our Lord for my bishop, Bishop Larry Silva. I praise him also for Fr. Marc Alexander, Vicar General of the Diocese of Honolulu, who shares the same passion as our bishop. May they, and all bishops and priests, be blessed, and strengthened especially this Holy Week. May they continue to speak boldly in defense of those without a voice, and greatly challenge us in our faith journey that we will grow in practice of virtues and become instruments in drawing many to the church.

Our God most High, the High Priest, be praised, now and always!

Blessing of the catechumens

Bishop Larry Silva with deacons of our diocese.
The one on the top left is Deacon Kin Borja, the deacon
God sent my husband's way to plant the seed
of responding to God's call
to apply for aspirancy formation this year that,
if it be God's will, will lead to diaconate formation.

Bishop Larry Silva being greeted by a parishioner, after Mass

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Tribute to Rev. Philip-Michael F. Tangorra

Photos courtesy of Fr. Philip-Michael F. Tangorra

He's quite a character with a vibrant personality. His love for music fascinates me for it encompasses a wide range of favorites. From rock-n-roll to classical, with old romantic ones in between that my own dad cherishes such as Frank Sinatra's, Bing Crosby's, Perry Como's, I say, it's a riot. I have found a music fanatic! And how wonderful that is! My family is a music lover, but not one bit close to his taste and style.

He's a lover of words. "Distinct and exalted eminential glory" are only a few words he used to spice up his responses to queries on Facebook. You have to read his reflections to find out that he's got a pretty good hold of the English language and uses it quite well to bring the Gospel to life.

If you have not met Rev. Philip-Michael F. Tangorra, invite him to befriend you.

My questions for Fr. Philip and his responses:

1. When did you first recognize God's call to become a priest?

First Holy Communion I realized that I needed to take my spiritual life seriously and avoid sinful behaviors this lead to an endless series of events that kept calling me closer to Christ until ultimately in Music Conservatory I realized that it was definitely the priesthood I was being called to.

2. What is your most memorable experience as a priest?

Saying Masses, first confession that I heard. My First Mass was a quite little Mass said solely with my family present. My Mass of Thanksgiving was very significant later that day with all the priests and friends that helped me arrive to that moment in my life. Your Ordination and first two Masses after all bring special graces to those who attend them and it was so very special to have had those three Masses with all those I love, most especially my Grandparents and priest-friends without whom I would not have become one of them. Friends even traveled from around the world to be there for me.

3. What is your favorite passage in the bible?

Don't have one! Too many things to choose from. Yet, as my priestly motto I have taken the opening words of my favorite Eucharistic hymn, "Ave Verum Corpus". I feel it perfectly expresses my spirituality which is deeply Eucharist, Marian (as the second strophe is "natum de Maria virgine") and as it is one of the greatest texts in all sacred music it definitely speaks to the great role that sacred music and the liturgy have played in my vocation.

4. Who is the most influential person in your life?

This is difficult to respond to as in different ways many people have been very influential. Some people are defintelty my family, friends, priests, different saints, most especially Pope Benedict XVI but also some people that may be a little shocking such as the fact that I have been greatly influenced by different 'pop' icons for their hopefully positive attributes.

5. What are your hobbies?

MUSIC! I miss all the music I used to be a part of. It really is a certain type of death in me as I have to give myself currently to studies of theology and am not able to express myself musically nearly as much as I wish I could.

Bonus question: What advice can you give to young men discerning priesthood?

Say "YES!" Its just like not asking a girl out on a date that you have a crush on. If you never ask her out you will never know if it would have worked and if you missed out on the greatest joy that was meant for you in your life.

Much mahalo, Fr. Phil!

Monday, March 8, 2010

From Rev. Philip-Michael F. Tangorra

Rev. Philip-Michael F. Tangorra shares with us "Sitio" from Duboois's "Seven Last Words of Christ." I love this piece of music! VAH!

Rev. Philip-Michael F. Tangorra's Reflection for the Third Sunday of Lent. Used with permission.

Fig trees are a fickle thing. You know you can treat a fig tree with care, water it, wrap it up in a tarp over winter, fertilize the soil around it and still not get the best fruit or any great amount of fruit. This could lead one to wanting to curse such a tree, like Jesus did in the Gospel of Mark (see: Mark 11-14). Yet, in today's Gospel Jesus does not curse the fig tree but grants it some more time to bear fruit and live up to its potential. Again he cultivates the soil around it but then leaves it alone. He allows the fig tree to go about its business without any intervention for a whole year.

What would happen to us if we were left alone for a whole year? Most of us would shrivel up without the life-giving water and blood, spirit and truth, that guides us along the way. And yet there are those, who having not gone to Church for a long while, have done exactly that. They have set themselves on a journey to discover who they are without Christ; who they are without the Church and the faith. Their parents and those who taught them the faith in schools and have cultivated the soil around them and placed them on a good seed-bed. Now it is up to them to choose Christ, who will bring them to fruition or to continue down a path that is most uncertain a path that is a constant Lent, a prolonged desert experience. And, it is precisely in this experience where the heart yearns so much for Love and for a sense of being whole that the person will realize that peace only comes from Christ, the God of the Sabbath; the God of Peace. It is peace and stability that they will yearn for. It is the Sacred Heart and the maternal care of Mary that will embrace them and fill them with their every longing for love. And it is in the Church, in the Sacraments and the community of the faithful, that such will be able to be disposed to them.

Many young people, and not so young people, are currently travelling this journey. It is for us, who have found meaning in life and know that that meaning can only be found in Christ Jesus to constantly pray for those who are taking this journey and provide support, mercy and love to those who are currently upon this spiritual journey. We must be like the Father of the prodigal son, ready to welcome home those who have wandered off and rejoice upon their return. We must also invite people to come to Mass, to come back home to the faith and when we do so we must be ready to support that invitation with the reasons why the faith is so very important to everyone's life.

Rejoice in that the fig tree is planted in good soil and loved by God. Rejoice in its return to bearing fruit when that day comes. And during this time of Lent be sure to remove all obstacles that may present themselves toward hindering someone's return. A Christian must always stand ready to invite and welcome home anyone who desires to return home to Holy Mother Church. God Bless!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thanks for your prayers

It's been a week now since the time scientists were expecting Hawai'i to get hit by a huge and strong tsunami. By the grace of our Lord, it did come, but not as a raging 12-foot 600 mile-per-hour "running" water that could have devasted us. God is good, indeed. Praise HIM for his infinite love and mercy!

Thank you for your prayers!