Ti Biag Ken Pammati

Fr. Michael Lazo Tolentino

A special priest from the Philippines assigned to St. Joseph Church in Makawao.

Deacon Patrick Constantino | Photos courtesy Tolentino Family

It gives me great honor to present Fr. Michael Lazo Tolentino, Administrator of St. Joseph Church, Makawao, Maui, Hawai‘i. Fr. Michael was born on January 18, 1978 in Santa, Ilocos Sur, Philippines to the proud parents of Armando G. and Ofelia Lazo Tolentino. He is the eldest of four siblings. His Priestly Ordination: October 4, 2002, 17 years in his Priestly Ministry. He comes from the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. He sends us his Christmas message:

Fr. Michael Lazo Tolentino
Fr. Michael during the Christmas mass.

Christmas is no other than God wanting to be with us. He became one like us as a lowly child born in a manger. So that in this way, we will not be afraid of the grandeur of His power and greatness but will understand His true love for us. We too, love Him neither out of fear nor wonder but with a real love in our hearts. As Jesus Christ is telling us in the gospel of St. John that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him might not perish but might have everlasting life.” (John 3;16). Almost more than a year that we are struggling from this pandemic, we are tried and tested in many ways, our faith, our relationships, and our work and jobs. We struggled a lot on how to survive but thank God by His guidance and grace we are able to do so. Life must go on, there are many important things to do, but our fight from the pandemic is not yet over, still we need to be vigilant and resilient, to be hopeful and prayerful. The coming of Christ will strengthen our perspective in life, that in every battle there is victory. Therefore, we need to prepare for Jesus and preparing is knowing and doing His will. If we do so, the grace of God will be given to us and we need to respond to that God’s grace in us, how? First, we need to believe in God’s presence. What a great blessing on our part to belong to God as His children; for in Christ, we are destined for holiness and unblemished. We were prepared by God through the power of the Holy Spirit for a holy life and have to be unblemished in this unholy world. Second, we must seek to cooperate with the grace of God in our lives. God needs us to be instruments in today’s world and time. Let us pray to God that we may realize this great privilege and responsibility.

Fr. Michael with deacon candidates.

And that through Christ we are empowered to resist the snares of evil and to do the will of God and we can place ourselves in the service of God. Being aware of God’s presence and being committed to cooperate in God’s grace, our preparation for Christmas will be meaningful and we can celebrate with love and joy in our hearts. May this love of God in us be not only manifested during Christmas time but throughout the year. It is fresh and new and never monotonous. We may celebrate Christmas at the end of the year but this does not mean that the love of God, the love of Jesus Christ is demonstrated to us only once a year. In reality, we experience the love of God every day in many different ways and situations.

God is the faithful and tireless lover who will never abandon us. Merry Christmas and a grace-filled New Year to all!

Fr. Michael’s parent’s siblings, nieces and nephews.

Fr. Michael also shared his message as we bring in the New Year:

Iti daytoy a baro a tawen 2022, intay sarabuen a napnoan namnama ken pammati. Ti Dios iti kankanayun nga intay kamangan, nangnangruna iti daytoy nga atul-tuloy a pandemia ta mataginayun iti kaadda iti sasayat a salun-at kadatayo amin. Naragsak ken Nabunga a Baro a Tawen tayo amin.

Thank you, Fr. Michael, for your inspiring message and thank you for serving our Parish at St. Joseph Church and the whole Maui Filipino community. We are Blessed with your leadership and thank God for Fr. Michael!

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 Pā‘ia, 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-four years and married to his lovely wife Corazon for sixty years.