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Bishop Larry Silva

Witness to Jesus Sr. Brenda Lau, CSJ

The Unexpected Call

Alice Secor

A Mother’s Reflection

Patrick Downes

The Answer to Religious Vocations Lies Within Our Familes

In this Editorial

MISSION “Choose” magazine is a special publication of the Office of Vocations of the Diocese of Honolulu. This magazine aims at promoting vocations by providing fresh and insightful views and reflections of the lives of diocesan and religious priests, religious men and women– specifically the consecration and mission of their vocations.


BOARD Publisher: Bishop Larry Silva Editorial Board: Fr. Marvin J. Samiano, JCL Mardie C. Torres Patrick Downes Fr. Peter J. Dumag Concept and Design Irene Isidoro-Torres & Mardie Torres Fr. Peter J. Dumag Vocations Director Diocese of Honolulu 1184 Bishop St., Honolulu , HI 96813-3384 PH: (808) 585-3343 FAX: (808) 585-3384 © Copyright 2010 Diocese of Honolulu Office of Vocations All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced or translated without written permission. Direct requests for reprint permission to Vocations Director.


02....... Witness to Jesus Bishop’s Reflections by Bishop Larry Silva 03....... Talk Story by EJ Resinto 04....... Introducing: Anthony Rapozo 05....... Looking Back & Looking Forward by Brian Apo 07........ The Unexpected Call by Sr. Brenda Lau, CSJ 09....... With Grateful Hearts Concert 11........ A Mother’s Reflection by Alice Secor 12........ Choose a Branch by Bro. Dennis Schmitz, S.M. 13........ Deaconate Program 15........ The Answer to Religious Vocations by Patrick Downes 17........ My Vocation Story by Fr. Marvin Bearis 19........ Support Vocations by Fr. Peter J. Dumag

About the

COVER What route is God calling us to take at this time to accomplish His mission? At the conclusion of the Year for Priests, we bear in mind the missionary identity of every Catholic priest – diocesan or religious — to profess his faith publicly. They “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole of creation” (Mk 16: 15). The examples of our dear pastors, St. John Mary Vianney and St. Damien de Veuster of Molokai at the service of Christ’s flock bear witness to this profession and serve as reminders that the priests have to strive for spiritual perfection on which their ministry depends. The center of their lives is Christ and they are all ordained to be “witnesses to Jesus.” That’s why one major reason of their mission is to celebrate the Holy Eucharist. Bishop Larry Silva shortly after his installation as the fifth Bishop of Honolulu included in his plan these two priorities: to strengthen the sacramental life and ministry of pastors serving the Diocese and promote a culture of vocations. Since then Bishop Silva began to work with the priests, have gatherings with them, talk with them, social with them, spiritual renewal opportunities with them, and encourage them to do more to endorse their own calling. The cover of this magazine shows a stole symbolizing the various spiritual and pastoral roles of every priest and his mission in the Church. It shows the tree of life with olive leaves symbolizing Malia O Ka Malu (Mary, Queen of Peace), patroness of the Diocese of Honolulu under whose protection Bishop Silva entrusts his episcopal ministry.

WITNESS TO JESUS Bishop Silva during the Year for Priests Eucharistic celebration at the Co-Cathedral of Saint Theresa




witness to Jesus around the altar, where Jesus can speak to them and witness his great undying love for us. Our priests hold a special place in my heart as they witness to Jesus. They possess a wide variety of gifts and talents. Some are serious, and some quite funny; some bring with them riches of experience from other parts of the world, and some the riches of our local culture. I am most grateful to the Lord for blessing me with the privilege of sharing the priestly ministry with these wonderful men, and I have come to love them very much. They are true shepherds dedicated to the people God has given them to serve.

“The most important thing any Catholic pastor does is celebrate the Eucharist� In every parish I have visited, people are giving witness to Jesus through their outreach to the needy, by engaging themselves in the civic community as faithful citizens, or by handing on the faith to our youth in our religious education programs and our Catholic schools. Thousands of dedicated faithful throughout our beautiful island home spend hundreds of thousands of hours doing all the things necessary to keep our church vibrant and true to its mission. And over the past five years, I have had the incredible privilege of gathering these people who

I could make a very long list of the blessings I have been privileged to witness during these past five years: a pastoral planning process that included all the parishes and resulted in the enthusiastically received Road Map for our Mission; an unbelievably successful capital campaign to help implement the road map; a continuing renewal of the liturgy; the canonization of Father Damien and the growth in devotion to Blessed Marianne Cope; our dedicated deacons and

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Catholic Herald

When I became bishop of Honolulu on July 21, 2005, I knew I was surrounded by many people who loved me. Some loved me because they knew me, but most loved me because they were so deeply in love with Jesus Christ, in whose ministry I share as chief shepherd of his flock here in Hawaii. As I look back at the last five years, I can only be grateful to God for all the blessings he has poured forth through me, around me, and sometimes in spite of me.

by Bishop Larry Silva

their wives; our religious women and men living the joy of their commitment; the youth and young adults whose faith brings us so much hope; an ever increasing number of seminarians to joyfully serve our Church in the future. The most important thing any Catholic pastor does is celebrate the Eucharist because it is there that we best give thanks to God for all His blessings as we hear His living word and as Christ becomes present to make us one with Him in His death and rising. It is my favorite thing to do, because it gathers all who witness to Jesus to do just that! I thank God for the privilege. I thank all the people of this wonderful diocese for your prayers and your faithful witness!


talk story

bY EJ Resinto

I am EJ Ikaika Resinto of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii; baptized at Saint Raphael Church in Koloa, Kauai and a lifelong member of Immaculate Conception Church in Lihue, Kauai. I am a fourth-year college seminarian for the Diocese of Honolulu studying at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. Although I am still far away from being ordained, in many ways I feel connected with the struggles and joys of the priesthood because of the formation and ministerial opportunities given to me this last three years. The thought of entering the seminary, let alone the priesthood never really crossed my mind until after I graduated from Kauai High School and was enrolled at Kauai Community College Culinary Arts Program. All my life I had been very active at Immaculate Conception Church being a member of the Children’s Choir, the Altar Boys, the Boy Scouts, Youth Group etc. I had my life all planned out – earn my degree in Culinary Arts, work, make my “millions,” meet the girl of my dreams, get married, and have tons of babies. I wanted that. However, God wanted me to try another route. I went to school and worked for awhile, but I was not happy with the road I chose. The “culinary arts thing” was not working out the way I wanted it to. I took a break from school and quit my job in the kitchen and found a full time job at Napa Auto Parts. It was also at this time that I began to be involved with the parish as a lector, catechist, youth minister, and parish council member. I began to find happiness in serving the Parish, helping the youth, and learning more about the faith. People started to ask me, “why don’t you become a priest?” My response would be “Nah, I no like, I can serve God by just being a good Christian.” My prayer was always for God to do with me as He pleased. Through prayer I was able to listen and be more open to the thought of becoming a priest. I attended Bishop Silva’s vocation dinners, and kept in close contact with my pastor Fr. Bill Shannon and fellow seminarian Anthony Rapozo in my discernment process. It was at a Basic Christian Community Young Adult Retreat and Divine Mercy Conference in 2007 that the Holy Spirit touched my heart. I knew God was calling me and, boy, was that frightening. I kept thinking and still think today, how “Although I am still far away from being unworthy I am to be called to serve. I ordained, in many ways I feel connected with always thought you the struggles and joys of the Priesthood…” had to be super holy (something that I am not) in order to be a priest. I thought that, for you to know your vocation, the Blessed Mother or roses will appear on my bed stand or something. But, no, I had no vision of the Blessed Mother and there were no roses on my bed stand. I was told by many people that in order for me to know, is to just do it -- enter the seminary and see. And so I did, after waiting and fighting with God, I entered Mount Angel Seminary in January of 2008. I think that was the best decision I made in my life. While I still struggle with my human weaknesses, my fears, and my uncertainties, I do not regret the decision to follow God’s will. My prayer has changed not for God to do as he pleases with me, but rather, to help me to His will. To remain humble and give Him the glory He deserves especially when working with and for His people. I put all my trust in God, His son Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of Our Lady of Peace, Saint Damien, and Blessed Marianne, may God’s will be done. Amen!




1. When and how did you discern your calling to the priesthood? I really only started to discern a vocation to the priesthood after I left my job as a police recruit in the Kauai Police department in 1998. That was when I began to get more involved in my local parish. My faith came alive when I was asked by my pastor to take on more responsibilities in the everyday life of the parish. He got me to take over the ministry of training our parish’s altar servers, and I eventually became a member of the parish council. It was through these ministries that I learned to really appreciate the richness and beauty of my Catholic faith.

2. Did you initially want to be a priest? No, not initially. I originally was thinking about becoming a deacon, however, I continued to have ongoing dialogue with my pastor about the priesthood and over time it allowed me to see this as a possibility.

3. Who motivated you to enter the seminary, any role models or a significant event? Two significant events were important “stepping stones” in my discernment to enter the seminary. The first event was my live-in experience with the Congregation of the Sacred Heart’s of Jesus and Mary. I lived with the order for over six years, three of those as a temporarily professed brother. It was through the community that I realized that God was calling me to the priesthood. The second event was when I left the religious life to become a diocesan priest. I came to the conclusion that my calling was not to a religious life but to the diocesan life. My parish pastor once again helped me to discern this process and after a year of discerning I entered the diocese as a seminarian.

4. Now that you are a seminarian, what has been the biggest challenge you have encountered so far in the seminary?

Anthony Rapozo attends St. Patrick Seminary at Menlo Park California. Anthony is a parishoner of the Immaculate Conception Church, Lihue Kauai.

My biggest challenge so far in the seminary has been learning to adapt to living on the West Coast. Life on the mainland is very different from life here in Hawaii. Firstly, it was the first time that I lived outside of Hawaii for an extended period of time. Secondly, the mainland is not as culturally diverse as we are here in Hawaii. In Hawaii we have learned to live with each other and to enjoy the many gifts we bring to our life here together. On the mainland, this is not necessarily the case. They are indeed culturally diverse, but they have not developed the same aloha spirit that we have here in Hawaii. Now that I will be starting my fourth year in the seminary I have found that I have become more familiar with the people on the mainland and I have come to understand and appreciate their traditions and life style. I really enjoy my time there and I have come to learn many new aspects of our rich Catholic faith working in the different parishes in the Bay area.


Sem. Brian Apo

When I am asked about the person who may have influence me in my discernment to the priesthood, I can say that there are quite a few of them, people I personally knew and stories of people my immediate family told me about. Growing up in a predominantly Catholic family, I was exposed to many individuals who spent their lives in the service of others. I believe that my vocation was nurtured by my exposure to those whom I call the “treasures of the church” – the religious and clergy who spend their lives in the service of others. I attended a Catholic grade school in Honolulu, which was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet who taught me good values and instilled in me a sense of regard for others. The priests of the parishes we belonged


to showed dedication and spent countless hours addressing the spiritual needs of parishioners. Both my parents and grandparents spoke highly of parish priests at Maui parishes staffed mostly by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. My father has great respect for Fr. Thomas

a true missionary spirit, much like Fr. Damien. My parents also spoke highly of Fr. Gerard Leicht, SS.CC., who was well known on the Hana coastline during the 30’s and 40’s. Fr. Leicht would brave the winding roads of Hana to say Mass along the coast.

individual. Grandpa and Grandma always attended the 6:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday, so it meant an early day for all of us. At our parish at Christ the King in Kahului, I met Fr. Lane Akiona, SS.CC., when I was a teenager. He was the very first person who asked me if I had ever considered

I believe that my vocation was nurtured by my exposure to those whom I call the “treasures of the church” – the religious and clergy who spend their lives in the service of others. Geloen, SS.CC., who in the 1920’s would hitch a ride with a County trucks just to get to the remote township of Kahakuloa to say Mass; and would probably walk all the way to his destination if there was no one available to give him a ride. Fr. Geloen really possessed

During the summer, my siblings and I would fly to Kahului, Maui, to stay with our grandparents, David and Mary Enomoto. Life on Maui was more structured and our maternal grandmother was very strict and a no-nonsense type of

becoming a priest. I couldn’t remember how I responded to the question, but I do remember laughing. I also remembered my Grandmother who introduced me to another priest Fr. Evarist Gielen,

Fr .Benedict Vierra during my first Communion with Msgr. Vierra Fr. Thomas Geloen, SS.CC Fr. Gerard Leicht, SS.CC.

SS.CC., who was assigned to Christ the King during the ’70 and ‘80’s. When she introduced me to Fr. Gielen, she told him in front of me that she believed I should be a priest. I remember Fr. Gielen looking at me and smiling. While I was studying to become a librarian at the University of Hawaii, a former pastor asked me to research a story of a young man incarcerated during the 1920’s for kidnapping a son of a wealthy couple. In my research, I came across the name of Fr. Valentine, a priest who was counseling the man who was to be hanged at the Oahu Prison at Kalihi. It was depressing to read and I could only imagine how difficult it was for a priest to comfort and counsel the incarcerated young man who later on was executed amidst protests from a huge crowd

gathered by Kapiolani Park. When I gave my findings to my pastor, I realized that he knew the story quite well and at that time I didn’t know why he wanted me to research the story. Later on I realized that the research was more for my benefit than his. When I was working on my Master’s at the University of Hawaii, I had been in contact with Monsignor Benedict M. Vierra, our former pastor at St. Theresa’s Church in KalihiPalama. For some reason, he too thought I should be a priest, although he never said anything directly to me. So for the next 18 years or so, I become caught up with work and became involved with various church and civic organizations: Knights of Columbus, Hale O Na Alii, the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu, the

Associates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, and the Secular Branch of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. I then became a Eucharistic Minister of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. In 2009, I met the Rector of the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, Fr. William Kunisch, through his pastoral assistant Mr. Allen Pacquing. The bells in the tower needed work, so I volunteered to make the repairs. I later became a Sacristan for the small chapel at the convent and also a lector. It was there that I met Fr. Peter J. Dumag, the Vocations Director for the Diocese. Fr. Dumag helped me to move closer to realizing my calling to the priesthood. With God’s grace, I was accepted at St. Patrick Seminary at Menlo Park, California, and will be

starting this September 2010. Getting to know the clergy and priests in the different parishes as well as my involvement with the different activities and ministries helped me discern my calling. Prayers and time spent with the Lord guided me to my decision to answer my calling. For those who may feel they are being called to a vocation, I would suggest that you get involved on your parish through different volunteer activities or ministries. Get to know our religious treasures here on earth, Nana i ke kumu Katolika, look to the sources of our religion.



Unexpected Call

Sr. Brenda Lau, CSJ

My first Communion day — it was a stormy morning, rain pouring down in torrents. I remembered how my Dad had to carry me over puddles of water, but it was my special day and as I reflect back on the day, I believe it was the first unexpected moment that the call to be dedicated in some manner to a particular vocation surfaced. There was something about that day and the sermon of the priest that caused me to spiritually make a commitment through Mary, our Blessed Mother. By the fourth and fifth grade I became more and more enamored with becoming a religious sister. A classmate in the 5th grade remembered how at one recess period, I had announced how I was going to be a sister. I was surprised because I did not remember this occasion. I believe my vocation was nurtured by the priests and sisters from St. Theresa’s Parish where I was an active member of the St. Theresa’s Sodality for seven years. This association kept me spiritually, socially and educationally connected to the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the religious congregation of which I am currently a member.


I was born and raised in Honolulu, the eldest of two children, a brother and myself. My Spanish, French, Caucasian mom was a Catholic from an early age and my Chinese dad converted from Buddhism just before he married my mom. My dad went to his heavenly reward in 2004. My mom lives alone and will be 89 this year. My brother and his family live in Northern California. St. Theresa Elementary, Sacred Hearts Academy, Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles and the University of Hawaii rounded out my formal education. In 2012, I will be celebrating 50 blessed and graced years as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. I entered after my senior year at Sacred Hearts Academy in 1961 and received the habit in 1962. Our religious Order had its beginnings in Le Puy, France, in 1650. Following the French Revolution our sisters were invited in 1836 to work with the deaf and orphans in America. Our sisters began in a small village called Carondelet in St. Louis, Mo. The Congregation grew and today we have 7 units of the order, in St. Louis, Mo., St. Paul, Minn.N, Albany, N.Y., Los Angeles, Calif., Hawaii,

Japan and Peru. There are approximately 1,800 sisters in the Congregation and 30 who belong to the Hawaii unit. We wore the widow’s dress, which was the dress of the times when our order was founded. Following the second Vatican Council, religious orders were encouraged to go back to their roots and discover the original intentions of their founder. This led the Sisters of St. Joseph and many other American active religious orders of sisters to revise their monastic practices. Many discovered that this meant adopting the dress of the times as one of the changes the congregation was called to consider. It is has been more difficult for members of the Catholic church who remember the “good old days” to understand sisters without habits. The children, with whom we minister, accept us and learn early that we are sisters by who we are with them. It is by our presence and dedication and the ministry of service that speak of our consecration and dedication to those with whom we serve or associate. Often, I find that adults are more ready to talk or share with me as a person and not be put off by what I am wearing. The call to consecrated life requires a daily “Yes” and not just a one time “Yes.” This daily response to the call may be the primary challenge of living the consecrated life through the

vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. I began living out my daily “Yes”, as a Sister of St. Joseph in the field of education. This “Yes” has called me to use, my background in education and educational

the Inter-Faith Network against Domestic Violence, ministered in the Child and Family Services Domestic Abuse Shelter for women and children and currently I am ministering within the Department of Health,

The call to consecrated life requires a daily “Yes” and not just a one time Yes. administration in many different ministries. I have been a classroom teacher, taught Confirmation classes on the Fort Shafter Military Base after regular school hours, did nurse’s aid work on weekends and holidays at St. Francis Hospital, was a principal and Associate Superintendent for the Catholic school system in Hawaii. I have served in leadership positions for ten years with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as a general councilor on the central governing leadership structure in St. Louis, Mo. and as Director of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Hawaii for two terms, and as the Novice Director in Hawaii for five years. I have ministered by fulfilling responsibilities in pastoral ministry positions at St. John the Baptist, St. Philomena and Holy Family parishes. I have served as executive director of

Executive Office on Aging in the Hawaii State Insurance Assistance Program (Sage PLUS) doing Medicare counseling with Medicare recipients. I am concluding twenty years of volunteer ministry with the residents and children in Kalihi Valley Housing, a state public housing project in which I have lived in and among the “Dear Neighbors.” We are challenged by our charism to “Do all that women are capable of.”


ea teful H ith Gra

r ts Gro


The greatest challenge of living these almost 50 years of religious commitment has been believing that no matter what has been asked of me in my religious and ministerial career, I could meet the challenge

because God’s grace is my sustaining strength and inspiration. Jesus and Mary His mother walk with me each step of the way. There were times when I was asked to take on tasks or assignments that required learning new skills or developing projects for the first time. I have experienced so many wonders from all these challenges. As an active religious sister, balance in one’s life is very important. A faithful private and communal prayer life, service to others, commitment to one another as sisters, and a caregiver for my mom are mixed and balanced with song, dance and hobbies. In my religious life I have learned to scuba dive, play golf, sing in a chorale, play the guitar and ukulele, jog, engage in aerobic dancing and exercise programs such as CURVES, learned yoga, crocheting, knitting and am now learning to play the piano. Currently, I am enjoying being a member of the “With Grateful Hearts” singing and performing group. The joy and challenge for me these years have been and continue to be the opportunity to give to others, to experience a spiritually rich life, and to learn and to meet the challenges of life. My inspiration always is — discovering God’s way through Mary the mother of Jesus. CHOOSE 8

“With Grateful Hearts Concert” was a fund raising project of the Vocations Office and was scheduled only for one performance at the Farrington High School last December 14, 2010. When Fr. Peter J. Dumag, the Diocese’s Vocations Director, organized the group for the concert, little did he know that he would be playing concert organizer and travel agent of the group for the coming months. After the Farrington concert, the group, composed of 16 priests and 15 religious sisters, performed at 11 parishes all over the islands: St. Joseph Waipahu, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Our Lady of Sorrows, Wahiawa, St Jude at Kapolei, at Holy Cross Church, Kauai, Christ the King Church, Maui, St Joseph at Hilo and at Hawi and Sacred Hearts at Lanai.


performances but for the practices as well. To some of them, one of the hardest parts of preparing for the concert was memorizing the lyrics. In fact, even after 11 performances, the lyrics of some songs still eluded them that they ended up mouthing random words and praying for divine intervention. Whenever lyrics failed them, they just made up for it with their fancy dance moves. The concerts for them were well worth the effort and they were happy to have been given an opportunity to promote vocations. Their dedication could not be more evident when they had to perform in Lanai outdoors under constant drizzle of rain. But like professionals, they danced and sang with enthusiasm much to the delight of the Lanai parishioners. The project also gave a chance for different congregation to come together for fellowship. As Fr. Sammy Rosimo, the group’s witty Master of Ceremonies, would say, “…as you can see, these religious sisters are in different habits; but not to worry, they are all good habits.” Bishop Larry Silva believed that one of the appeals of the concert was that it showed the priests and the religious sisters having fun; and anyone who had seen the priests’ lively performance of “I can take my eyes off of you” would surely agree. Although to some young people who watched the show, some of the songs may be “before their time,” but still didn’t stop them from enjoying the concert. For them, seeing these priests and religious sisters perform was just “plain awesome.”

Interestingly enough, the concert developed its own “groupies,” parishioners who followed the group to different parishes to watch the concert again. For some of them, it was a celebration that they were glad to be a part of any chance they could get.

One of the reasons for the success of this concert tour was Bishop Larry Silva’s unwavering support – not only by his presence but also by actually performing with the group. The audience found it an impressive sight to have their bishop belt out a heartwarming rendition of “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing”.

Fr. Manny Hewe, pastor of St. John at Mililani jokingly said, “I realized the life of a performer is very tiring.” Indeed, for these priests and religious sisters, the time they had to take off from their regular duties to practice and perform was certainly taxing. They put in a lot of effort not just during the

The concert’s main goal was to promote vocation; and it did so in a meaningful and enjoyable way. The group hoped that through this effort, the seeds of vocations were being planted – though the reward might not be immediate, it was enough that it inspired the youth to consider the consecrated life.



1. Sr. Concepcion Dacanay, SPC & Sr. Victoria Lavente, SPC; 2. Sr. Mary Sixtilles Pillado, OP & Sr. Jerome Perlas, OSB; 3. Fr. Sammy Rosimo & Fr. Rey Lim


4. Fr. Edgar Brilliantes; 5. Fr. Manny Dela Cruz, MS; 6. Sr. Imelda Sorianoso, OP & Sr. Novie Omictin, OP; 7. Fr. Adrian Gervacio; 8. Fr. Sammy Rosimo; 9 Bishop Silva with the Priests on Maui; 10. Bishop Silva in Wahiawa; 11. WGH group at the airport bound for Kauai; 12. Sr. Ana Marie Tamanaha, SS.CC












13. WGH group in Hawi; 14 Fr. Manny Hewe in Lanai

…It was a wonderful concert. I think it would be great to have this as an annual event. It makes us see our priests and nuns as …the religious and priests performing at

joyful people. God Bless to all involved…

the “With Grateful Hearts Concert were


outstanding and warmed the hearts of all who attended the concert. I wish you much

Thank you very much for the beautiful

success on upcoming performances at St.

concert…the concert was a wonderful

Joseph’s and on Kauai…Sr. Patty

means of promoting vocations… Louise

Thank you for coming to Kohala and

Great job! Thanks for the concert for

performing to our community – Stanley and

the promotion of vocation. Can we have


another one in the future? Let’s have our youth audience “fishing” for vocations. I

Thank you, we really enjoyed your beautiful

really support it! Gene

voices and songs —  the Bartolomes

Awesome concert! Charlene


My name is Alice Secor and I am married to Donald Secor and registered at two parishes: my home parish, St. Anthony of Padua Parish and St. John Vianney Parish in Kailua. Donald and I were married in South San Francisco at St. Anthony du Padua Church and we will be celebrating our 60th year of marriage this coming September. Gary was our first-born and our only son. He was born in Oakland, California, in 1951 and we moved back to Hawaii when Gary was about six months old. He was the apple of my father’s eye and loved him dearly as we all did. I believe that my dad prayed that Gary would some day become a priest. He prayed the rosary on the way to work, over the old Pali each day. When you have a devotion like that, you know only good can come out of it. When Gary made his first Communion at St. Anthony Parish, he was leading all of the prayers. How proud we were of him then. Up to this day, he still is a very loving, faithful and truthful son. His three sisters say that he can do no harm and that he is the chosen one. Our four children are very close and they support each other. The girls live on the mainland and poor Gary is stuck with his parents here in Hawaii. When he graduated from St. Anthony’s School in Kailua, my husband, myself and Father John Read, Pastor of St. John Vianney Church had a discussion about Gary entering the St. Stephen Seminary at Pali Highway. That was what Gary had requested, but as a dutiful son he applied and went to Maryknoll High School in Honolulu. At that time we felt Gary needed to go to a co-education high school. Gary had been the first altar boy at St. John Vianney and was Father Read’s assistant. If you couldn’t find Gary, he, would always be at St. John Vianney. When Fr. Patrick Freitas was assigned to St. John Vianney, Gary showed him the ropes. After graduating from Maryknoll we had another talk about his entering the seminary. We were all in accordance with his desire. Yes, he was our only son, but what greater honor could we have than having a son enter the seminary. We encouraged him, and were very proud of him. He attended Chaminade College and CHOOSE 11

lived at the seminary on the Pali Highway. After graduating from Chaminade he entered the major Seminary (St. Patrick’s) in Menlo Park, California. He was gone most of the year, but during the summer, he had various jobs, to make money to help pay for his education. He worked for Del Monte, driving a fork lift, also did yard work for his uncle’s business in Kailua and then worked for Larry Chun, a former Serran at Gaspro Company in Honolulu. Gary finished major seminary and was assigned as a deacon candidate at St. Anthony Parish, his home parish. His pastor was the late Bishop Joseph Ferrario. He was ordained a deacon at St. Anthony’s parish. He served as a deacon there for a year and was ordained a priest at St. John Vianney. Blessings go to his mentor and sponsor, Father John Read. What a marvelous man. We at that time Fr. Gary Secor had three children going to Maryknoll School, I worked at the grade school and money was very tight. We never belonged to any organization or joined any country clubs because when the children were born we made a decision that we wanted them to have a Catholic education and we would give up the extras to be able to do so. I am very proud and pleased with my son. He is all that a mother would want. We love him dearly and are always very proud of him. I feel very honored and proud of my son, God has blessed us tremendously and if you could all have a son like Gary you would be truly blessed. Many parents ask how we feel about our only son becoming a priest. He was called by God, we were blessed by God for being the vehicle of his birth and we will agree with any decision that he makes. He is one in a million. Jesus has blessed us and our family. Even though we don’t have any son to carry the family name, we have a jewel instead; and God blessed us with six nephews to carry the family name. Parents, when your son or daughter comes to you and says they plan to enter a seminary or convent, be positive, encourage them with your support and love. Being a priest or sister is never easy; it’s one of the hardest jobs, but the blessings are three-fold. Pray for them continuously.

If you want to be a Marianist, you can choose from different branches of the Marianist family tree. The Marianist is a family of Christian communities composed of the following: Marianist Priests and Brothers known as Society of Mary, the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and the Marianist Lay Communities. The Society of Mary is the religious congregation for men with three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, although with a fourth vow of stability. This is the branch of the Marianist which is the inspiration and sponsor in Hawaii for Chaminade University, Saint Louis School, the Marianist Center of Hawaii, St Anthony of Padua Parish and schools in Maui. The Marianist Sisters, also known as the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, date back to 1816. The Marianist Lay Communities are composed of men and women of all ages who commit themselves to live the Marianist spirit as dedicated lay people whether single or married. In Hawaii, this branch works especially with the Marianist

Family Retreat Program. Unlike other orders, the lay branch is the oldest branch in the Marianist Family Tree; it dates back to 1801.

Louis campus. One of my main jobs is to work with young people who are trying to choose one of the branches in the Marianist

he joined our Aspirancy Program where one lives in community like a Brother as part of the process of ongoing discernment.

Both Hawaiian and Marianist cultures emphasize Ohana and a deep awareness of God in all things.

L-R: Bro. Dennis Bautista, Bro. Brandon Alan and Aspirant Norman Copinpin

As you can see, there are several branches to choose from and in the Marianist family tree all branches are equally valuable and important. As a Marianist Brother, I work in the Office of Special Ministries at the Marianist Center of Hawaii on the Chaminade/Saint

family tree. One young man whom I accompanied on his discernment journey for the last several years had been a business major at Chaminade University. After graduation, Norman began a successful career in an insurance company. Though highly successful, he found it empty and decided to take a leap and join our Marianist Volunteer Program. He found great satisfaction in working with homeless middle-school aged children and decided to become a teacher for inner-city Catholic school children. All the while he made this journey Norman would visit the Marianist Brothers and Priests and found himself very drawn to our communal life of prayer, play and ministry. This past year he decided it was time to try out our lifestyle and

Though he was nervous about telling his parents, Norman found them to be much more supportive than he had expected. Norman is now discerning about the next step which is the twoyear novitiate program. He appreciates the fact that the discernment process is not rushed and that we all walk together to find out what’s best for him and for the Marianists. Another young man who had attended and then worked for Chaminade University also found his family to be much more supportive than he had expected. Brandon was also surprised that by joining the Marianists he was able to discover and appreciate his Hawaiian continued on page 16 CHOOSE 12

DIACONATE PROGRAM On January 8, 2010, 21 men of the diocese began a five-year journey of formation, a period of prayer, spiritual direction, training and discernment that will, for many of them, result in a totally new way of life as they are called forward for ordination to the permanent diaconate. At the moment of their ordination, they will leave, forever, the life of the layman, as they join the Order of Clergy as Permanent Deacons. Twenty of these men are married. They range in age from the early thirties to the mid-sixties. Some have young families, two are single, some are grandparents, many are still employed and others are retired. They come from all walks of life. They are, in many ways, as different as the varied colors of the rainbow, but in one very special way they are the same; they love God and their faith and a sense of calling by God to minister to His people in a new way as permanent deacons, ordained ministers of the Church dedicated to the service of the people of God. The implications of this transition of life are so immense that, for those who are married, the wife also participates in the five years of formation so that she can prepare herself and her family for the changes that will occur upon ordination. The participation of the wife is considered so essential that she holds “veto power” over the entire process. Along with the affirmation of the Church, the candidate and wife must be in full agreement in order for the bishop to accept the man for ordination.

The ancient order of Deacon existed from the earliest days of the Church. While the order disappeared in the Middle Ages, through the work of Vatican II, the permanent diaconate was reinstated in the 1970’s by Pope Paul VI. The Diocese of Honolulu ordained its first class of deacons in 1982. At present, 60 permanent deacons are serving in the diocese and nearly 16,000 deacons are serving nationwide. The bishops of the United States have ordained more deacons than any other country in the world. The word Deacon comes from the Greek “diaconos” or Servant. Deacons are ordained to serve the Church as the icons of Christ the servant. Men who are called to this ministry must be, by their nature, conformed to Christ and open to the Holy Spirit who alone brings their formation to fulfillment. Deacons are, by ordination, disposed to the particular ministries of Word, Worship and Charity. As such, they participate in liturgy as Proclaimers of the Gospel. Often they are called upon to preach to the congregation, to lead prayer services, to baptize those entering the faith and to conduct Christian burial services for those who have gone to their eternal rest. The deacon, however, will be the first to tell you, his role is not so much about “what he does” but about “who he is,” the sacramental presence to the community of Christ the Servant. Please keep these men and women in your prayers as they continue their journey or formation.

ASPIRANTS : Joseph Aglia, Jose Almuena, Jr., Jose Ancheta, Carl Berger, Keith Cabiles, Christopher Dung, William Friese, Romeo Ganibe, David Kane, Eric Kim, Stephen Kula, Leonard Luiz, Mason Matsuda, Raul Perez, James Rollison, Joseph Soon, Edward Taguba, Wesley Taira, John Tolentino, Danie Villena, Michael Weaver


MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of the Eucharistic King ( (808) 386-6132 8

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) ((808) 871-1896 8

Congregation of Our Lady of Mount Olivet (OSB) ((808) 637-7887 8

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (OSF) ((808) 595-5993 *

Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and of Perpetual Adoration (SSCC) ( (808) 734-2048 8

Sisters of St. Francis, Hawaii Region (OSF) ( (808) 988-0552 8

Congregation of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres /Philippine Province (SPC) ( (808) 845-2769 8 Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) ((808) 538-0084 8 Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary (OP) ((808) 676-1452 8 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (OSF) ((808) 337-9661 8 Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic (MM) ((808) 261-0267 8 Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC) ( (808) 959-5803 8 Order of Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OCD) ((808)261-6542 8 Sinsinawa Dominicans (OP) ( (808) 375-4375 8 Sisters for Christian Community (SFCC) ( (808) 735-1648 * Sisters for Divine Providence (CDP) ( (808) 428-8910 8

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Answer to

Religious Lies Within Our Own




hen I entered St. Stephen Diocesan High School Seminary at age 14 in 1966, it had already begun its decline. That year, the junior class had shrunk from 10 students to one. Our freshman class had five. We would be Hawaii’s last graduating high school seminary class. None in our class would make it to ordination. Of the entire diocesan high school student body that year only two would become priests -about one in 10. Those seemed to be accepted odds in those days. But in retrospect, the seminary was a mammoth investment for such a small return. St. Stephen’s had extensive facilities (three dormitories, three chapels, a baseball field, handball and basketball courts, a huge kitchen with a walkin freezer, chemistry and biology labs, a ham radio station, a photographic dark room, an auditorium with stage, an enormous CHOOSE 15

swimming pool), a faculty of seven (yes, seven) fulltime, live-in priests, and a convent-full of sisters whose only job was to cook for the priests and seminarians (and do the priests’ laundry).

PATRICK DOWNES Editor of the Hawaii Catholic Herald

How could the seminary, in its heyday, attract so many boys? Well, for one thing, it was there. The It worked for a short while. Hawaii Catholic Herald By 1960, the seminary, helped spread the word. which opened in 1946, was An annual open house turning away applicants. But and bazaar gave hundreds you remember the 1960s: of Island Catholics a society, the church and the friendly introduction to culture were all changing the place, which was rapidly. By 1970 -- after a otherwise mysterious and decade that brought us the out-of-bounds on its green second Vatican Council, perch on the slopes of the civil rights movement, a Koolaus. presidential assassination, the Mass in English, a Many parish priests moon landing, a sexual promoted it. My pastor revolution, and the rise and talked it up constantly. In fall of the Beatles -- the high his mind, St. Stephen’s was school had closed. just as valid a choice of high school for his parish school At the time, St. Stephen’s eight-grade graduates as also had a handful of was St. Louis, Damien or college seminarians who Maryknoll. He once had attended Chaminade. 10 boys in the seminary at That program lingered for one time. He would look another decade before it too after them, meet with them closed.

often, take them all out to a Chinese restaurant every summer, and slip them $10 bills. “Beer money,” he joked. A few of his boys did make it to ordination. In those days, when seminarians in Hawaii were relatively common creatures, the idea of becoming one was grounded on real, visible, friendly, clean-cut, blacksuited examples, and not far-fetched. And when the seminary existed, boys with youthful, dreamy notions of one day saying Mass, had a welcoming, accessible place where those feelings were supported, affirmed and nourished. Those days are gone. In the end, the system didn’t work. St. Stephen’s was more successful in

attracting seminarians than it was graduating priests. The seminary disappeared as its buildings became church offices and a retreat center. The diocese struggled for a while to find a suitable formation program to replace it, but it was difficult. The few young men with a firm resolve to pursue their vocations worked out with the diocese individual paths through seminaries on the mainland. It was usually a sole endeavor, unlike the past when classes of Hawaii seminarians comfortably advanced in a supportive group. And while the diocese still managed to have an ordination or two a year, a heavy percentage of those priests did not last.

The bishop has ordered the diocesan prayer for vocations to be read after every weekend Mass. Each Sunday, like an insistent drumbeat, we repeat words asking God to choose from our families sons and daughters who will answer the call. It’s an unnerving request. If parents are being honest, most would rather their sons and daughters answer the call to be engineers and doctors, not priests and nuns. But if we are not willing to allow vocations to spring from our own families, we might as well forget it. Importing our vocations from the Philippines, Africa and India, as good as those men and women may be, is not the answer.

“Each Sunday, like an insistent drumbeat,

we repeat words asking God to choose from our families sons and daughters who will answer the call.” But things are changing. Bishop Larry Silva is borrowing a bit of wisdom from the old days, it seems with some success. Like my pastor of 40 years ago, he is actively promoting priesthood and the religious life everywhere he goes. He shows off his seminarians whenever he can, pointed them out for recognition and applause at liturgies and other events. The bishop’s full-time vocations director is doing innovative, exciting things (like this magazine you are holding) to focus attention on the call to priesthood and the religious life. He is proposing that such a life is possible, real, within reach, challenging, rewarding, wonderful and even fun.

Bishop Silva is on the right track. The diocese has nine seminarians, more than it has had in a while. His persistent message seems to be having some effect. But it will take time. A long time. Deep seated attitudes, mindsets and emotions held by the laity will have to change. Except for a brief hopeful moment in the 1950s and 1960s, when local vocations were seen as possible and embraced, Hawaii has always imported its priests and sisters. Perhaps that is Hawaii’s fate. But Bishop Silva is not settling for it. He truly believes God will provide local workers for the harvest. But he will only succeed if we believe it too.

continued from 12…Choose a Branch

roots much more. He found that Hawaiian Culture is very compatible with our Marianist charism and spirituality. Both Hawaiian and Marianist cultures emphasize Ohana and a deep awareness of God in all things. Both are nurturing just as Mary, the Mother of Jesus, nurtured her Son. This young man became so convinced that he could, like Mary, give warmth and support to other people while deepening his relationship with God, that he professed his First Vows this past May. Brother Brandon professed vows in Hawaiian, only the second person to do so in our history. The first person to profess vows in Hawaiian was another young man who graduated from Chaminade and then went on to get a Ph.D. and begin his career as a professor. While growing up, Dennis had the normal experiences of dating and “going steady.” Like the others, however, he spent time visiting the Marianist communities and participating in live-ins and weekends. After several vocation retreat experiences, he decided that he would never really know if religious life was for him if he didn’t try it. He tried it. Last October Brother Dennis made his perpetual vows — in Hawaiian. Though an only son, his supportive mother recently remarked how she spent time with him whenever he visited home and she said that she was able to watch him change and grow into his vocation. She saw him fall in love with the Marianists, the Society of Mary. Perhaps she knew what the final decision would be even before he did. These are contemporary stories of young people in Hawaii looking to see where God might be inviting them. They found a good branch as Marianist Brothers in the Marianist Family Tree. The nice thing about the Marianists, however, is that if the religious life branch is not the right one for someone, there are more branches to choose from in the Marianist Family Tree.



Vocation Stor y Fr. Marvin Bearis, OFM Cap.

I never thought as a sophomore in 1998 at the University of Hawaii, I would be an ordained Capuchin Franciscan friar working as a teacher and chaplain at Damien Memorial School in the “Year of the Priest.” As a young college student, I was never approached by a vocation director or discussed the topic of vocations with family or friends. I knew that I wanted to work with teenagers as a counselor, teacher, or even social worker, but the thought of being a priest or a religious never crossed my mind; but my heart was open to the service of God and of others through youth ministry at my home parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Ewa Beach. My discernment process for the priesthood began with my involvement in the Life Teen Youth Ministry as a core member. It was through this ministry that I re-discovered my relationship with Jesus Christ, strengthened my Catholic Faith and realized my passion for youth ministry as a young adult. The thought of serving God as a priest simply began


through a funny skit I did on prayer. I portrayed a priest who helped pray for people. A three-minute skit led me from not even thinking about vocations to constantly asking myself if the priesthood was what God wanted me to be. I eventually spoke to my pastor at the time, Fr. Bob Phelps, a Capuchin, and sought his advice and prayers. My journey in discovering God’s will eventually led me to the Capuchin Friars who were at the time the pastors and administrators of my home parish. I grew up knowing several friars as they served as excellent pastors of the parish. Friars such as Fr. Paulo Kosaka, Fr. George Maddock, and Fr. Paul Minchak, all pastors’ and associate pastors, had a great impact on my life and modeled essential aspects of the Franciscan charism as a community and in their service to the people. After two years of prayers, discernment and spiritual direction, I felt that I was experiencing a genuine call by God and made the choice to enter the Capuchin Franciscans in

the fall of 2000. This was the first step in truly finding my place and purpose in this world that would lead to a sense of peace, joy and happiness. Although I didn’t know what to expect I knew deep inside of me that this was the right decision for me. My parents, family and close friends continue to support me to this very day in my choice to devote my life to serving God and the Church. Not once did I hear any negative reaction to my decision in becoming a religious friar. I would eventually persevere through five years of formation that included postulancy in Guam and Hawaii, novitiate in Wisconsin, philosophy school in Berkeley, and a pastoral year working at a Catholic school on Guam. Then, On August 12, 2007, I finally made a solemn promise, to live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience as the first Hawaii local-born Capuchin Franciscan. My experiences from formation to the point of making final vows gave me a greater understanding of God’s will and a sense of

peace in my decision to live a life that is radically different from how I lived my life before. I also became aware of the great importance of living the Franciscan charism of fraternity, the flow of life and ministry as Capuchins brothers. After my religious profession, I focused all my energy in theological studies at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. After a lot of hard work and perseverance in preparing for my ordination through theology school, numerous ministry experiences, and a deaconate year, I was ordained on June 13, 2009, at St. Theresa CoCathedral by Bishop Larry Silva in front of family, relatives, friends, religious men and women, brother friars and brother priests from the island and the mainland. I was excited and thrilled with my new mission in serving God as an ordained priest and

Capuchin Franciscan Friar. I knew being a priest entails a lot of responsibility and it would take quite some time to get use to my new ministerial role. Soon after my ordination, people were inquiring, “So what are you going to do for a ministry? Where are you going to serve?” I really didn’t have anything finalized then; but I knew I wanted to live in a community and if I am to work in a parish, I prefer to work as an associate friar. If not, then I wanted to teach or be a chaplain at one of the local Catholic high schools. The idea of teaching at Damien Memorial first came about through my friend Brent Limos who is the admission director. He thought it would be a great idea to apply and take advantage of the opportunity to work at the all boys school in Kalihi. I sought the advice of several friends who were teachers and they confirmed for me that Damien was where I needed to start my new ministry as a priest. I believe God opened the doors for me to be at Damien and so I accepted my hiring as a blessing and was excited at my new job.

One of the greatest blessings as a Chaplain at Damien is my experiences during Encounter retreats. So far I have only been on two but both have been amazing. It is on these four-day retreats where I witnessed high school juniors make the most of their opportunity to “encounter” the living God in their midst through talks, reflections, Mass, small group discussions and fellowship. During these retreats I would celebrate Mass, hear Confessions, participate in skits, and advise a small group. These retreats also helped the teens learn more about themselves while at the same time forming a spiritual brotherhood with their classmates.

“My discernment process for the priesthood began with my involvement in the Life Teen Youth Ministry as a core member.”

Thus far, my first year of teaching has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. Experienced teachers at school have all warned me that the initial year is usually the most difficult because it usually consists of being a time of adjustment, (re) learning the course material, building new teaching skills, establishing curriculum maps, correcting tons of assignments and tests and surviving and onslaught of teenage angst. At times I would find myself so tired from my struggle to maintain a balance, trying to balance the many responsibilities. Eventually, as the school year progressed I became more secure in my dual roles as priest and teacher. I realized how much I enjoy teaching. In particular I find profound joy in witnessing the students grasp the sometimes dense material of Church history and helping them to see how the past lives of important people in the Catholic Church apply to our lives of today.

Outside of my work at Damien, I am still able to celebrate Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Waikane where I live in fraternity with Fr. Paulo Kosaka, another Capuchin Friar who is the pastor of the parish. I manage to help out at other parishes, by performing baptisms and weddings and giving talks to high school teenagers whenever my schedule permits. Amidst all the work, and fraternal obligations, I try my best to visit my hometown of Ewa Beach and hang out with family and friends on the weekends. A year after ordination and as the “Year of the Priest” comes to an end, I realized how I couldn’t see myself doing anything else with my life. Although the year has been filled with numerous challenges and struggles, I love being a Capuchin Friar, priest, teacher, and chaplain. I am fortunate enough to have friars and brother priests whom I can turn to for support and guidance whenever I have questions or concerns on different aspects of my ministry as a priest. I thank our Lord Jesus everyday for my vocation because in his will for me lies the sense of peace and joy that no other profession, career, lifestyle can ever provide for me. My heart is still open to what God has in store for me but for now I’m enjoying the journey.




Heavenly Father, your divine Son taught us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His vineyard. We earnestly beg you to bless our Diocese and our world with many priests and religious who will love you fervently and gladly and courageously spend their lives in service to your Son’s Church, especially the poor and the needy. Bless our families and our children, and choose from our homes those who you desire for this holy work. Teach them to respond generously and keep them ever faithful in following your Son Jesus Christ, that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with the inspiration of Saint Damien and Blessed Marianne the Good News of redemption may be brought to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

by Fr. Peter J. Dumag Vocations Director

Bishop Larry has emphasized the importance of promoting vocations within the Diocese of Honolulu. This initiative has a two-fold purpose: to pray for and talk about vocations to the ordained priesthood and consecrated life, and to raise the resources for supporting these vocations.

First, the responsibility of cultivating vocations belongs to the whole Church. Each of us has an important part in God’s plan to provide shepherds for His people. We have a responsibility to pray, asking the Lord of the harvest to provide laborers for His vineyard. Priestly and religious vocations are present in every community in this diocese, but it takes all of us working together to promote, identify, nurture and bring them to fruition. The second purpose is to raise sufficient resources to support seminarians and vocation efforts of the Diocese. Seminary costs now average up to $45,000 per year per seminarian and we need your help in sustaining our efforts. Help these seminarians bring Christ to the people of God today and tomorrow by your prayers and generous investment.

thank you for supporting vocations in Hawaii

your generosity is appreciated

Holy relic of Saint Damien enshrined in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu.


CHOOSE Magazine  

Choose Magazine is the special publication of the Vocations Office of Honolulu.

CHOOSE Magazine  

Choose Magazine is the special publication of the Vocations Office of Honolulu.