My Faith Shaped Me

With your support, we’ll continue to shape and uplift the spirit of our community.

In this issue we focus on religion and its influence on our lives, inside and outside of church. To be clear, the evolution from being religious to becoming spiritual is a personal and lifelong journey. Each of us undergoes this primary experience in our own way, determined by the circumstances into which we are born, and enhanced or diminished by the defining moments along our walkabout. Perhaps more significant is each one’s awareness of self, as we give meaning to the moment. Let me share with you my reflections on my ongoing journey.

The importance of church life during my early childhood cannot be overstated. I am a son of a devoted Catholic mother. I was taught early in life to value my Catholic faith. I was baptized and raised as a Catholic. As a young boy, I remember my mother praying the Novena early in the morning. She always took me to church on Sundays and I became an Altar server. Throughout my youth, I remember that as a family we could not eat meat during Holy Week, especially on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday before Easter. For those who are believers in the Catholic religion, we learn that Jesus died for us and gave up His flesh on our behalf, and as a result, as Catholics we are not allowed to eat meat until Easter. My mother always served us vegetables and fish throughout the Lenten season.

When I migrated to Hawai‘i in 1968, I immediately attended college in Hilo and continued going to church while living there. In no time, I found a job as a dishwasher and began to work part time. Then I realized that the focus of my life was going to school full time and working part time. Church became secondary. I became too occupied with work and school. Even though I was not attending church regularly, I still prayed by myself in my rental unit. I have always believed and trusted in God in everything that I do.

After graduation from college, I began working at hotels and restaurants, using my skills in the kitchen as a cook. My hours were very unpredictable as I held two jobs, back to back. From then on, working full time consumed my time daily. As I reflect on my  earlier years through the present, I have not consistently gone to church on Sundays, but nevertheless, I am who I am today because of my belief in God and the teachings of the Catholic Church, no matter if I go to church or not. The combination of my parents’ training grounded in their religious beliefs and the teachings of the church laid the foundation for what is good in me today. In conversations with many others, I have learned that a similar foundation for a positive perspective in adult life is attributed to these same roots.

With gratitude and on behalf of our staff and publishers, our warmest thanks go out to our advertisers, distribution centers, contributors and readers for your encouragement and many positive comments. With your support, we work hard to move forward to accomplish our mission to uplift the spirit of our community and to enhance our collective spirituality, both inside and outside of church.