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Bishop's Homily for the Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Marianist legacy lives on and will continue to bear much good fruit.

By Bishop Larry Silva
June 13, 2021

St. Anthony Church, Wailuku, Maui (Parish Patronal Feast Day; 175th anniversary of the parish; 138th anniversary of the Marianists in Maui and farewell from Maui; 41st anniversary of the Dedication of the Church)

Most people who have great devotion to St. Damien would probably not know that it was at the dedication of the church that preceded this current church at St. Anthony, Wailuku, that he received the call to go to Kalaupapa to minister to the patients with leprosy.  It was a little seed that was planted here without much fanfare, but it bore great fruit.  People all over the world continue to be inspired by dear St. Damien.

Who would know that formal Catholic schooling on this island began right here, and continues to sow the seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of countless youth and their families?  Who remembers that ministry to the Spanish-speaking on Maui began through the efforts of a Marianist Brother decades ago, and continues to serve this community of immigrants and kama’aina in a beautiful way?  Who remembers the support this fledgling parish gave to St. Marianne Cope when she came to Maui to establish Malulani Hospital next door, the first hospital on this island?

Who would even remember that parish potluck so many decades ago where a young man met a young woman, fell in love, married, and raised a beautiful family for the Lord?  Or the picnic where a young man was so inspired by his down-to-earth pastor that he heard the Lord’s call to the priesthood himself?  Who could count the number of people over 175 years who were immersed in the saving waters of Baptism at St. Anthony Church or its many missions; people, like my own grandfather, who dedicated their lives in simple ways to loving and serving the Lord, because the seed of faith was watered, nurtured and cultivated here at this simple but beautiful parish?

Yes, when the seeds are planted, the farmer is often unaware of the progress of their growth, though he works very hard to till the soil, to pull out the weeds, and to simply wait in trust for the growth the Lord gives so that he can rejoice at an abundant harvest.  As we recall the presence of the Marianists here on Maui for 138 years, there are millions of undramatic moments that involved them in ministries of every kind, from teaching, correcting, exhorting, encouraging, and being instruments of God’s loving presence here on this island.  And though we bid them farewell from this island where the sun is said to be held in place for a more abundant harvest, we thank the true and living God for holding them in place here all these years so that the light of Christ, shining through the beautiful prism of the Blessed Virgin Mary, could yield a rich harvest.  Though they will no longer be here physically, their legacy lives on and will continue to bear much good fruit for generations to come.  It is the time to rejoice in such an abundant harvest, given through decades of dedication, nurtured by joy, and brought to fruition by God’s almighty hand and the thousands of good stewards of the Gospel these Sons of Mary have nurtured.

We are tremendously grateful to the Marianist leadership who have sent us so many Brothers and Fathers to serve this community in Maui, especially here at St. Anthony Parish and School.  We thank God for all the Marianists who have served here over the past 138 years, especially Father Roland Bunda, Father Syl, and the beloved Brothers who serve us here and now.  Their work is like the humble farmer who attracts little attention, but without whom we would simply starve to death.  And we wish them continued abundant harvests wherever they may go from here.

Though we say farewell to the Marianists with most grateful hearts, St. Anthony Parish, I am confident, will keep its steady hands on the plough, because there are still so many hungers to be satisfied with the seed of the Word of God.  There are hungers for strong marriages and families, for peace and harmony among people with diverse cultures and viewpoints, for justice for the poor and oppressed, and for solid Catholic education to stabilize a culture spinning into self-destruction.  There is hunger for a respect for all life, from conception to natural death, and a hunger for the truth.  There are those who are starving for affirmation from others, for forgiveness for their sins and crimes, and for true light in the midst of so much darkness.  All of this will be accomplished, mustard seed by mustard seed, over many years, with many hands and hearts, and with an undying hope in the victory of the Lord Jesus over the worst adversities.  We thank God for the example of faithful witness to Jesus that has marked this parish and all who have served it for 175 years!  And we return to the field to till it in all our little ways, so that from here and abundant harvest may always be celebrated; so that here the living and true God may always be praised!