Oh Good and Faithful Servant
Deacon Patrick Constantino
All photos courtesy St. Anthony ChurchFather Roland Bunda was born and raised in Waialua, O‘ahu. His father is from Dingle, Iloilo while his mother is from Cebu.
It is an honor and privilege to write this column about Father Roland Bunda, sharing his Pastor ministry at St. Anthony Church as well as St. Anthony Grade and High School. Fr. Bunda shares his years of experience as Pastor of St. Anthony and also his Ministry as a Marianist Religious Life and the departure of the Marianist community from St. Anthony Church, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary. When a door closes, a new door opens!
St. Anthony Church and St. Anthony Grade and High School provides me with many memories. I grew up in Wailuku and attended St. Anthony Church with my family, not thinking it would be a part of my calling to the Deaconate.
Let me share a reflection from the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: “The source of happiness is unchanging in its essence but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures. Now I understand Saint Paul, who said ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, has I entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ ”
Now I know how committed Fr. Bunda is to his church! It was a privilege and honor to serve with him during Masses and share the love of our people at St. Anthony. Fr. Bunda has certainly been a St. Paul to us as a person “gifted to give himself to our church his unconditional love.”
In 2014, Fr. Bunda reflected on his then fifty-two years as a Marianist:
As I reflect on my fifty-two years in religious life as a Marianist, I find that my life has been a tapestry of grace and blessings. God has called me like men and women in the past to pursue a life of perfect charity, through evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. During this Year of Consecrated Life, I am filled with gratitude for this personal vocation.
The seeds of my vocation began through the influence and examples of my parents and grandparents whose lives exemplified what it meant to be Catholic. I can remember as a child in kindergarten and grade school being among my siblings and cousins in Catholic grade school. I was part of an extended family in school and in the parish. My whole life revolved around our family, parish and sugar plantation life in Waialua, twenty miles north from the city of Honolulu.
I was introduced to the Marianists brothers and priests when I attended St. Louis High School in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. I admired these men who taught me not only mathematics, history, science, English, religion, social studies but through their examples of warmth, love and caring for us as students. I used to brag about a particular Brother Henry Benzinger who taught me Geometry when I was a sophomore. He had a deep sense of caring for me. He would help me to unravel the secrets of Geometry during class and after school. He was always available and willing to help us with our math problems with humor and teasing us. But mostly, I was impressed with his life as a religious brother. I would see him making personal visits to chapel and spending time with us after school. I mentioned to my peers that one day I would like to be like him teaching math, being professional and caring for students. Bro. James Mifsud was a recruiter for the Marianists at the High School. He invited me to ‘check out’ the Marianists. I would meet with him during my Junior and Senior year. I made a vocation retreat at the Brother’s summer camp. I graduated from High School in May 1960 and attended the University of Hawai‘i in the fall semester. I continued to stay in contact with him during my freshman year in college. It was during that time that I made my decision to enter the Marianists order. I entered the novitiate at Santa Cruz, California in July 1961 and professed my first vows on August 15, 1962. After graduating from University of Dayton with a math degree, I taught mathematics in High School for nine years before entering the seminary in 1975. I was ordained to the priesthood on August 4, 1978 and ministered our Marianists schools, novitiate and at University of California in Santa Cruz as a teacher, assistant director of novices and campus minister for twenty-nine years.
I feel called to deepen this new life in Christ living with the ‘Spirit of this Moment’ being a vibrant Catholic religious priest celibate as a son of Mary. I am blessed and grateful to be here at St. Anthony Parish in Wailuku, Maui–Hawai‘i for the past eight years. As pastor of the parish I am thankful that I live with two other Marianists brothers ministering and witnessing together in community. By the ‘Spirit of this Moment’ I mean to be present now and active in my local community and parish. To be alive, vibrant and enthusiastic as a Catholic religious priest. Having celebrated my golden jubilee two years ago in the parish meant a lot to me. My family, relatives, friends and parishioners shared with me this joyful time.
These significant events of my Golden Jubilee, actually it was six celebrations: Hawai‘i and California–where I spent my fifty years of ministry of my life which propelled me to realize how blessed and graced I have been by God. Our Vision 2020 statement ‘to revitalize the apostolic mission’ helps me to focus and address my commitment with joy and enthusiasm. I continued to share my life with our students presenting talks at the school and at liturgies inviting them to consider seriously the vocational call of being a Marianist.
The sad news is the Brothers and Fathers of the Society of Mary, known as the Marianists, will bid Aloha to St. Anthony Church and School on June 30, 2021. The Marianists, whose primary charism is education, have been at St. Anthony School for 138 years and have staffed the parish for forty-five years.
Marianist Father Tim Kenney made the announcement on behalf of the U.S. Marianist provincial while Father Oscar Vasquez announced it at parish Masses over the January 16–17, 2021 weekend. A January 18 statement by the Diocese of Honolulu said the reason for the departure was a shortage of Marianist members. “After much discussion within the Marianists Provincial Council and with Bishop Larry Silva, it was decided that the Marianist personnel resources have become sufficiently thin that they can no longer staff St. Anthony Parish, Wailuku after June 30, 2021.” The Marianists who will be relocating are Pastor Father Roland Bunda, Parochial Vicar Father Sylverius Kerketta, Pastoral Associate Brother Fred Silbereis and Pastoral Associate Brother David Quigley. “We are most grateful to the Marianists for their faithful and loving service at St. Anthony Church and School and for their ministry and presence on the island of Maui,” the Diocese’s statement said. “Many lives have been touched by the service and witness of the brothers and fathers over many generations and we are certain their presence will continue to bear good fruit for generations to come.”
The Diocese of Honolulu will take over administration of the parish and school on July 1, 2021. The new Pastor will be Msgr. Terrance Watanabe and Parochial Vicar Ese‘ese “Ace” Tui.
The following Marianist priests have served as Pastors at St. Anthony Church: Father James Orsini (now a Diocesan Priest), Father Jack Reilly, Father William O’Connell, Father Charles Oyabu, Father Raymond Malley and Father Bunda who has served for fourteen years.
St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wailuku was established by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The first recorded missionary activity was the baptism of nineteen Hawaiians on July 5, 1846, in a Wailuku catechist’s home. According to the parish website, the first Mass was celebrated on the site on July 13, 1848, in a thatched structure.
The first wood-framed church was built in 1854.
King Kamehameha IV deeded sixteen acres of land in Wailuku to Bishop Louis Maigret in 1858–59. On May 3, the Bishop blessed the third church, a stone structure. The blessing was the occasion of Father Damien de Veuster’s first volunteering to go to Kalaupapa. The church building continued to be enlarged and improved over the years, emerging as a Wailuku landmark for more than a century.
The Marianists assumed leadership of the parish in 1976. They were already a big part of St. Anthony, having run the school for boys since 1883. A year after the Marianists took over the parish, a fire set by an arsonist destroyed the historic church. The present church was dedicated on June 13, 1980.
Bishop Silva will celebrate the 10 a.m. Mass at St. Anthony Church on Sunday June 13, 2021, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, to mark several milestones: the Marianists’ forty five years in the parish, the 40th Anniversary of the dedication of the current church, and the 175th Anniversary of the founding of St. Anthony School. At that time, Bishop Silva will formally thank the Marianists for their many faithful service. The Marianists will continue their service at Chaminade University of Honolulu and Saint Louis School.
God Bless our Marianists!
And God has given me to understand that there is but one thing that is of infinite value in His eyes and that is love of God: Love, Love, love and once again, love; and nothing can compare with a single act of pure love of God. Oh, with what inconceivable favors God gifts a soul that loves Him sincerely! Oh, how happy is the soul who already here on earth enjoys His special favors! And of such are the little and humble souls.
“Yes, it is with sadness that the Marianists are leaving St. Anthony Church and School,” said Father Bunda. “The parishioners were surprised and saddened by the announcement. It will take time to get over the shock of the news.”
Fr. Bunda shared with me his reflection for the past seven years:
These past seven years 2014–2021 has been exciting and challenging for me as I set about to implement the vision of integrating our schools and parish under the auspices of the Parish. When I became Pastor in 2007, the pre-school and grade school were ministered by the parish. The Junior-Senior High School (grades 7–12) were administered and governed by the Diocese of Honolulu. We accomplished our goals in August 2017 when we hired Mr. Tim Cullen as President/Principal of the St. Anthony School (Kindergarten–Grade 12). The pre-school is still under the parish.
The challenges that lies before the parish and school are daunting: Mr. Tim Cullen is leaving the school after four years and going back to the mainland to support his aging parents. Carlen Santos is retiring as Director of the pre-school after thirty-eight years of administration. I am leaving St. Anthony parish after fourteen years of service and ministry. The Marianists began leadership of the parish in 1976 when Fr. James Orsini, a Marianist at that time, assumed the role of Pastor. It is with sadness and gratitude that we leave behind a legacy that will continue into the future.
The St. Anthony School will still be a Marianist sponsored school and the parish will be administered by the Diocese of Honolulu. The six Marianist pastors concluded forty-five years of service and administration of St. Anthony Parish. Monsignor Terrence Watanabe will be the Pastor of St. Anthony Church beginning on July 1, 2021.
One of the milestones during my time as Pastor was to create a vibrant Parish pastoral council. Under the leadership of Mr. Stephen Kealoha the council is fulfilling the goals and vison for the parish. They are implementing three goals during these past years: Marriage and Family Life, Youth and Young Adults, and Faith Formation.
Another milestone for the parish was creating an awareness and implementing stewardship in the parish in 2015. All of us who are baptized are called to be vibrant disciples of Jesus Christ giving of our time, talent and treasure to God through the Church.
I have been blessed being here during my time as Pastor of St. Anthony Parish during these fourteen years. The staff and various councils have continued to carry on the mission of St. Anthony. Our mission statement states: ‘We, the Saint Anthony of Padua Church, participate in the mission of the Diocese of Honolulu bringing Christ to the world. We are a community of faith that lives and promotes a vibrant family spirit in the Marianist tradition, Catholic spirituality and service to the people of God on Maui.’
Looking back on my years here at the parish, I feel confident that the parishioners will continue the mission of bringing Christ to others under the protection and guidance of our Blessed Mother. The Marianist spirit of hospitality, shared leadership, vibrant faith exists here at the parish as hallmarks of the charism of Fr. William Chaminade, the founder of the Society of Mary (Marianist).
My prayer is that looking back with gratitude and looking ahead with hope and in that spirit of thanksgiving and confidence, the parish will continue to live fully the mission of St. Anthony Church.
May the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
God Bless Fr. Roland Bunda and his Marianist family. Thank you for all you did for St. Anthony Church, School, and community. You are truly “gifted to give,” your unconditional love.
Well done, my faithful servant!
On June 18, 1987, Patrick Constantino was ordained as the first Deacon of Filipino ancestry for the Roman Catholic Church in Hawai‘i. For twenty-two years, he served as Administrator at Holy Rosary Church in Pāia, St. Rita Church in Ha‘ikū and St. Gabriel Church in Ke‘anae. Constantino is presently assigned to St. Joseph Church in Makawao.
Prior to his ordination, Constantino was in government—first appointed in 1966 as Assistant Sergeant of Arms by the Speaker of the House Elmer F. Cravalho. When Cravalho became Maui’s first Mayor, Constantino became his Executive Assistant—the first of Filipino ancestry. Later, Constantino became the first County Treasurer of Filipino ancestry and the first County Grants Administrator and Risk Manager of Filipino ancestry.
Constantino has served as a Deacon for thirty-three years and married to his lovely wife Corazon for fifty-nine years.