Ti Biag ken Pammati

Merry Christmas, Naimbag A Pascua Yo Amin! Happy New Year, Naragsat Ken Nagasat A Baro A Tawen!

Deacon Patrick Constantino

Matthew 2: 9–10

Idi nangngeg da ti Ari napan da ket Nakita da ti baggak ti daya nga inda sinurot agingga a nagsardeng ti ayan ti maladaga!

Special tribute to our great grandchildren who participated in their church Christmas programs at St. Joseph Church, Makawao and St. Elizabeth Church in ‘Aiea. We need to start our children early in life to have God in their life! Starting from baptism, have them attend religious education to receive the precious body and blood of Christ in holy communion, to confession of their sins in penance services and be reconciled with God and then receive confirmation and become a soldier of God to help defend our church! Jesus, the greatest gift from God! Ni Apo Jesus isu ti kapatgan a regalo ti Dios! God is good! Ti Apo ket nasayaat! All the time! Nga kankanayon!

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

God has blessed our family through good times and bad and continues to strengthen us in our faith!
Photo courtesy Dcn. Pat Constantino

The Gospel of the Lord! Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Naimbag a Pascua yo amin! Naragsat ken nagasat a baro a tawen! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It’s wonderful to be with all of you as we gather to celebrate and give thanks for this Miracles of Miracles! He came! God so loved the people of the world He sent His Son to become one of us. The Son of God slipped into the world with little fanfare—only the announcement by the angel to the shepherds. Gently, as a baby, He was born, in the poorest of circumstances. His parents, obeying the commands of the ruling power of Rome, were in Bethlehem for the census. “Nothing good could come from Nazareth” was a common opinion. When the child grew into a man, when the man grew in knowledge and experience, after He lived nearly thirty years with the poor, He went forth to teach us, the people, how to solve our own problems. After all—we caused them. And He knew we would not appreciate, not even accept permanent solutions and cures if they were forced upon us.

Great daughter Keira Cadelinia playing mother Mary surrounded by angels, shepherds and kings at St Elizabeth Church in ‘Aiea.
Photo courtesy Dcn. Pat Constantino
Great granddaughter Reina Cadelinia performing at the Christmas program at St Elizabeth Church in ‘Aiea.
Photo courtesy Dcn. Pat Constantino

And so, He taught, He lived the example of loving concern for all people, He gave His very life for each of us. He showed how important in the eyes of God is every human being. Not one from among the rich nor the poor was insignificant. Every person from the most deformed and handicapped to the models of health and beauty were special to God. No one was to be overlooked nor cast aside.

Attracted by his love, people began to follow and listen to Jesus. Christianity came into being. “See how they love one another” was remarked about the Christians.

After more than three and a half centuries following the birth of Jesus, Rome recognized the Christian faith, ended the persecutions and allowed the Church to exist above ground in view of and in the midst of all. Through the power of God’s love, Christians conquered and won the hearts of the Roman tyrants. Not a sword was used. Or as we might now say, not a shot was fired.

Great granddaughter Reina Cadelinia performing at the Christmas program at St Elizabeth Church in ‘Aiea.
Photo courtesy Dcn. Pat Constantino

The victory was brought about through the belief God was present among His people strengthening them, loving them, nourishing them—supplying all they need for the many years of struggle and suffering. How far have we come since then. Certainly there has been some progress.

The world experiences more concern for the individual—at least in some parts. There are more people looking out for one another’s good, more people devoting their time to bringing food, equality and freedom to those denied it.

On the other hand, we find ourselves in quite similar circumstances as in the days of the birth of Jesus. A godless power rules much of the earth, keeping millions of people in slavery. There are many poor and starving among us. Injustice and inequality are still widespread.

St Joseph Church ready to receive Jesus Christ at Christmas! He is the reason for this season!
Photo courtesy Dcn. Pat Constantino

Though we know the principles of morality much better than people in biblical times, we exist in the atmosphere of glaring, public acceptance of sin. Despite our medical advances, diseases old and new plague us, bringing many people to early graves. The people of the world are as much in need of a Savior as ever!

But we have already been given one!

We are here now celebrating the coming of our Savior into the world. We are filled with peaceful and joyful feelings of hope as we participate in the magnificent celebration of the Christ Mass. Everything around us not only in the church buildings but in the shopping centers, on television and along the decorated streets reminds us of this Savior we yearn for is already here—and has been here for nearly 21 centuries.

What is wrong? Why isn’t the world in much better shape? Because so many people, like maybe you and I, forget the salvation of the world depends upon how we live every moment of every day. Jesus, our Savior is not going to make everything nice and comfortable while we run around selfishly seeking personal satisfactions. Jesus is not going to put everything in order while we bring misery into the lives of people who are unfortunate enough to cross our paths. Jesus is not going to pick up our clothes we continually throw on the floor. Maybe mother will, but God won’t!

Our 3 year old great grandson Kaihiwa Kaiali‘ili‘i resting on his horse before practice for the after-Christmas Rodeo!
Photo courtesy Dcn. Pat Constantino

Jesus came to show us the way and to help us live it. It is up to us to put forth constant effort to cooperate. Because the Son of God became one of us and dwells in each of us in all His power and love, we are capable of doing what people could not do before. All it takes is the firm decision and daily recommitment to that decision to live that life of loving concern.

When you look into that crib and see the image of the baby Jesus lying in the manger, do not walk away and leave him there. Take Him with you—onto the streets, into the buildings, wherever you go. Never forget He is in You! Expect His strength, His courage, His help and then do what needs to be done! Love with His love, care for each person you meet with His concern. Then, at least those who come into your life will taste some of that salvation we all yearn for.

The joy and peace of Christmas can become a reality in the world only if we, with God’s help, make it happen. I pray each of us will really try. May you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and may you share it with others today—and every day of your Life!

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-two years. They are blessed with four children, eleven grandchildren, and fifteen great grandchildren.