Okay, okay — I tried my best to maintain my machismo at the Maria Lanakila Church Confirmation Mass two Sundays ago.
You know, the old big boys don’t cry myth; the one where us guys are supposed to keep our emotions in check. Well, I tried my best to hide the tears with the timeworn techniques of opening the eyes as wide as you can (a tough one for a Japanese guy like me!) and pretending to wipe away a speck of dust — “Uh, I’ve got something in my eye.” Mission unaccomplished.
I gave up after a while, but can you blame me? After all, along with the Confirmation Mass, it was Mother’s Day. I held my sleeping granddaughter in my arms, my wife of 26 years and mother of our four children was by my side, and my two daughters sat among the Confirmation candidates in the front pews of the church.
The tipping point came with the Most Reverend Bishop Larry Silva’s homily. In it, Bishop Silva explained that God should not be thought of in the past tense, but present in each and every one of us now.
“This is the Good News,” he said. “This is the presence that we all have within us. He is with us always.”
So, for the 14 candidates — Dylan Bartolome, Michael-Bodean Bates, Vanessa Barroga Castillo, Tracy Castro, Jade Marie Chihara, Brenner John Manglaylay Duarozan, Andrew-Ray Gando Espiritu, Marella Galace, Junna Gazmen, Jordan Kenneth Lacuesta, Christine Castillo Marizno, Erin Lael Sana and Calvin Stan Tadeo — the Mass celebrated, and confirmed, the understanding that God is, indeed, within us all.
Thus, in this world age where our hopes and values have been literally and figuratively shaken to the core, drowned and blown away in acts of nature and the ignorant greed of mankind, our teenage children have accepted the Lord into their being at the most impressionable time of their lives.
When the sadness of disaster and the darkness of economic fallout cloud their spiritual view plane, our children are now blessed with the almighty presence of the Lord that will light their lives and bring new hope forever.
This is the pure joy that was so evident among the 14 confirmed and their families in the celebration on the front lawn at Maria Lanakila after the Mass. This is the light and love of life that shepherds us through our existence on this Earth.
With grateful hearts, we acknowledge all who played a vital role in preparing our children toward this spiritual journey, including Bishop Larry Silva, Father Gary Colton, Father Joseph Pathiyil, Deacon Pat Constantino, Deacon Ken Bisen, Taufa Samisoni, Frank Chargualaf and his Praise & Worship Team, the Maria Lanakila Youth Ministry, Knights of Columbus, and Extraordinary Ministers and Altar Servers.
How do we thank these people? Perhaps most of all, how do we thank Dora Cosma and Maka Secretario, the religious mentors of this Catholic education class for the past two years?
How do you thank someone who has taken your child by the hand and led them to meet and be absorbed by the Lord? God bless you, always.