Call to Serve as a Fisherman, Disciple, and Become a Priest of God!
Deacon Patrick Constantino | Photos courtesy Fr. Jojo Alnas
I’m proud to introduce to you Fr. Cipriano Leonador “Jojo” Alnas, Jr. who I served with as Deacon at Holy Rosary Church in Pā‘ia, when he first arrived on Maui. I learned a lot from him about our Filipino culture, traditions and church history. This is Fr. Jojo’s story.
Fr. Cipriano Leonador “Jojo” Alnas, Jr. was born in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Philippines on September 11, 1975 to the proud parents of Cipriano Edurice Alnas, Sr. (deceased) and Yay Ganno Leonador. Fr. Jojo as everyone knows him, was ordained on November 19, 2003 at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. He belongs to the Diocese of Laoag. Fr. Jojo entered the Seminary from High School (Minor Seminary) up to Theology (Major Seminary) His College is also on the Seminary, Philosophy-Major Seminary. He served in the Philippines as Assistant at St. William Cathedral Parish, Laoag City, and St. Andrew Parish, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte; Pastor at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, and St. James the Greater Parish, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. He served as Dean of Seminarians at St. Mary’s Seminary, and Procurator at San Pablo Major Seminary. His encouragement to Priesthood came from an elementary teacher—Mr. Placido Dumlao who talked to him about studying at the seminary and convinced his mother to send him to the Minor Seminary for his high school life and the rest is history.
The scripture readings are a reflection of Fr. Jojo on his call to serve as a fisherman, disciple and become a priest of God!
The First Disciples Called
As he was walking along the Sea of Galilee he watched two brothers, Simon now known as Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea. They were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately abandoned their nets and became his followers. He walked along farther and caught sight of two other brothers, James, Zebedee’s son, and his brother John. They too were in the boat, getting their nets in order with their father, Zebedee. He called them, and immediately they abandoned their boat and father to follow him. Matthew 4:18–24
The Call of the First Disciples
As he stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd pressed in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats moored by the side of the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a short distance from the shore; then, remaining seated, he continued to teach the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, we have been at it all night long and have caught nothing; but if you say so, I will lower the nets.” Upon doing this they caught such a great number of fish that their nets were at the breaking point. They signaled to their mates in the other boat to come and help them. These came, and together they filled the two boats until they nearly sank. At the sight of this, Simon Peter fell at the knees of Jesus saying, “Leave me, Lord. I am a sinful man.” For indeed, amazement at the catch they had made seized him and all his shipmates, as well as James and John Zebedee’s sons, who were partners with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men.” With that they brought their boats to land, left everything, and became His followers. Luke 5: 1–11
Fr. Jojo’s Reflection on his favorite Scriptures
Come, follow me, is an invitation to see and at the same time a journey of life’s experiences. My first encounter with these words was when I entered the minor seminary. At a young age, being curious of many things, I heeded the call—Come—which brought me to the four corners of the seminary—a place to stay, to play, to study and to pray. A place to be with fellow young boys who aspire to have a good education and training for the future.
Only later I learned “seminary” meant seed bed. As I grew in the seminary the seed of vocation that is sown in me started to grow. Responding to the call is an opportunity to allow the seed of vocation to take its roots and grow and before I knew it, the life of priest began to unfold on me.
People started to ask me questions like, Apay kayatmo ti agpadi? (Why do you want to become a priest?) Kanayun a sungbat ko ket “Diak ammo” ket no isunto ti biagko a ket akseptarek, naragsaknak met ka daytoy a kasasaad ti biagko ita. Intultuloyko ti simmungbat ti nga agadal iti seminaryo, ket nagtultuloy met a dimmakel ti bukel the bokasyon nga agpadi kanyak. Siak ti immuna a na ordenan a padi diay parokia ken ilimi.
In my life as a priest, especially when assigned in the parish, I encourage others to come to church, to be one and be a part of the gathered people of God, praising and thanking our Loving and Merciful God, in the Eucharist. Moreover, I am trying my best to help in every possible way I can those who are willing to respond to the call of the priesthood. Kas pagyamanko iti kina imbag ken kinamanagparabor ni Apo Jesus kanyak, sindadaannak a sumaranay kadagiti padak nga agkasapulan nangnangruna kadagiti agngaya-ngay a sumrek seminaryo ta ti kaasi ni Apo Dios makapag padi da met ket agserbi danto met a kas maysa nga apo padi.
Thank you, Fr. Jojo for your reflection. Ti Apo ket nasayaat, nga kankanayon. All the time, God is good! Apo Jesus agtalekak kenka. Jesus, I trust in You! Amen!
On July 1, 2022, Patrick Constantino retired as a Deacon for the Roman Catholic Church in Hawai‘i, after serving for thirty-five years and becoming on June 18, 1987, 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. His last assignment before retiring was at 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 is married to his lovely wife Corazon for sixty-one years.