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A Letter from Our Administrator: PLAYING YOUR ROLE AS A MEMBER OF GOD’S TEAM

Dear Parishioners,

Back in 2007, one Sunday evening in November, a bit tired after the busy weekend schedule, I was excited to visit the house of my friends, a couple who were helping me with my ministry to the natives in the Diocese of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. They invited me to dine at their house with a couple more parishioners and to watch the Grey Cup, which is the Canadian version of the Super Bowl. During the game, for the first time, someone explained the mechanics to me: thus, I finally got to watch the entire football game, appreciated, and enjoyed it. It was great watching the game, especially with the Saskatchewan Roughriders winning the championship that year. We were all celebrating in jubilation.

We are now in the season of football, with the NFL having just started. This rather rough game with its oddly shaped ball and complicated rules has something to teach as a specialized team sport. Each player has his own talent and responsibility, and the team needs each player to do his part. Most of the glory usually goes to the quarterback or a running back, but without a good offensive line a quarterback will never have time to throw passes and a back will never get the blocking he needs to make good gains. Nothing will ruin a team quicker than the failure of each player to accept and to do his part.

St. Paul compares the church to a physical body. If he were alive today, I would not at all be surprised to hear him compare the Church to a football team. In the church, not many of us have noticeable roles. After all, only one man can be Pope and only a select number can be bishops. A few more can be priests, but, as we are fully aware, women are excluded from the priesthood. Leaving aside the controversy about women priests, we all need to recognize that Jesus himself has arranged his Church much like a team. All the members are important and all must work together for the good of the whole Church. Not a single person is insignificant in God’s plan. Rather, each one of us must recognize the talent God has given us as well as our position in the Church and then do our best.

Friends, our parish community of Waimea and Puako is our faith family. Just as we wish and want everyone to play their role and do their responsibility in the game we call home life, let us also do our share and concretely collaborate with the Lord summoning us to a life of stewardship in our parish. Responding to be part of any of our liturgical ministries, to volunteer to be involved with our Food Pantry ministry, or in any of our parish groups or activities not only enriches and strengthens the Body of Christ, but it also greatly enriches and strengthens our faith and bond with the People of God, Christ’s Body, as it also solidifies our rootedness in the values of the Kingdom. As sports enhances our work ethic, teamwork, respect, and our ability to overcome adversity, stewardship on the other hand, deeply enriches our identity, trust, gratitude, and love of God and our neighbors.

On another note, as fellow citizens – and based on gratitude for God’s many blessings — we are all called to discern, develop, and disburse our gifts to further build His kingdom at both the parish level and beyond. In turn, the former Bishop’s Circle appeal has been rebranded to help raise awareness of the many ministries and services of the local church into “Ohana in Christ.” By supporting this, your gift not only assists the diocesan mission, but you also help support the parish, schools, service agencies, and communities through your generous contribution needed to strengthen vital programs and fellow citizens striving to make a difference for the people of Hawaii.

Lastly, over the past years, the parish has always been guided by a pastoral plan as a fundamental guidepost for our journey. Having just finished the previous one this last fiscal year, we must formulate and put together a contemporary one that is relevant and relative to our current situation. Though some elements of what’s contained in the previous one are still good tools for discernment that will direct us into the future, we have to work together to realize what our vision of Christian faith calls us to be that will soon be formed into a mission statement that reflects where we are now and where we will go as a community of faith. So, in a couple weeks, you’ll be receiving survey questionnaires by mail or, online with a “survey monkey.” To be successful, I invite you to take part in this strategic planning process to help our pastoral and finance councils as well as the ad-hoc committee in coming up with a collaborative five-year Pastoral Plan that we can own to work on.

I hope that you respond generously and enthusiastically in the spirit of Christian stewardship. This is your parish. This is part of your spiritual journey. This is the call of the Lord to invite you to use your gifts and talents to bring about the kingdom in some small way here and now.

Let us live and use the time, talent, and treasure entrusted to us in this life as we further learn, discover, and grow along in our journey of faith. Aloha, eh!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Anthony “Tony” Pangan, SSS