Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Saturday, June 3, 2000

Isle Catholics to spell
out what they want
from their church

Mary Adamski


Hawaii Catholics will gather June 11 to set priorities for the local church and give direction to its leaders.

When Bishop Francis DiLorenzo convenes the Diocesan Synod 2000, it will be the climax of a process he set in motion in January 1998.

Pentecost, the day Christians celebrate the establishment of the church, was chosen for the gathering at Star of the Sea Church in Waialae. Lay people make up the majority of the 500 delegates, who represent the state's 215,000 Catholics. The synod will continue through June 13.

"This is the first time the Catholic Church in Hawaii has ever said in a blanket way, 'Let's hear what you really want from us,'" DiLorenzo said.

Catholics have already had a chance to give their answers to that question. A 55-question survey distributed in parishes was answered by more than 20,000 people. The results became the starting point for discussions held in regional vicariate conferences and in smaller meetings for religious orders and youth.

'God has an agenda for Honolulu,
and the synod is going to advance
God's agenda for this diocese.'

Francis DiLorenzo


More than 100 proposals from those gatherings have been consolidated to 30 suggestions in the categories of evangelization, religious education, family life and social concerns, worship and sacraments, youth and young adult ministry, vocations, Catholic schools and concerns of religious communities.

"God has an agenda for Honolulu, and the synod is going to advance God's agenda for this diocese," DiLorenzo said.

The idea of a general convention to set the course of a church is common in Protestant denominations, some of which convene annually. But in the hierarchical Catholic church, democratic process and decision-making power of lay people are new concepts.

The only other synod ever held in the islands was primarily a legislative convention of clergy. The results of the April 1957 synod called by the late Bishop James J. Sweeney were 202 new rules and regulations ranging from administration of the sacraments to an 11 p.m. curfew for priests.

The two-year process has already had the effect of stimulating lay people into involvement in their parishes, said Gwen Mitsui, a retired teacher who was tapped to be director of the synod office.

DiLorenzo said some of the earliest suggestions addressed hot political and doctrinal topics such as homosexuality and abortion. They are still in the mix as social concerns, but they are not specifically on the agenda. The synod is not a council that determines orthodoxy of doctrine, nor can it set priorities for anywhere but this diocese.

Concerns that have been raised at earlier meetings and are likely to engage synod delegates are: How can the church reach out to the unchurched and welcome back lapsed Catholics? How can parishes pool resources in areas such as religious education and family support programs? What are some ways to make Catholic schools more affordable for Catholic children? What can be done to improve music and homilies?

"Everyone wants to speak up and say what the people want," said DiLorenzo, who said he looks forward to a lively exchange. "Someone may dispute and say you should want something else or look for something more.

"They're not just going to give me some vague 'Do youth ministry.' You want youth ministry, tell me, what is the strategy of how you want me to implement it? Then tell me, where should I look for the money to do this?" DiLorenzo said. "And we are going to have to say, 'We are willing to have our parishes taxed in order to implement the strategy for youth ministry.' "

At the end of the process, he said, "Now I can say, 'I know what the people are saying; I know what they want from a church.'"


Unity Churches to feature speaker on spirituality in movies

Raymond Teague, author of "Reel Spirit," a movie guide to spirituality in modern films, will be a speaker at the annual meeting of the Association of Unity Churches, which opens Monday at Hilton Hawaiian Village.

About 600 people from churches around the world will attend the five-day convention on spirituality and personal growth. Evening sessions are open free to the public, and a $25 fee will be charged for daytime lectures.

Serge Kahili King of Hawaii will speak at the opening ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Other speakers include Sonia Choquette, author of "True Balance," at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; Robert Muller, former United Nations assistant secretary-general, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; and Drs. Gerald Jampolsky and Diane Cirincione from Centers for Attitudinal Healing, 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Teague will speak at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A schedule of workshops may be found at

The Missouri-based church association will present its "Spirituality in Business Award" to Foodland Super Market at 11 a.m. Friday. The local market chain will be recognized for its community programs, including Share a Holiday Feast, through which shoppers contribute to meals for the needy, Shop for Better Education, which channels customers' contributions to local schools, and Give Aloha, Foodland's annual matching-gifts program.

Local-born evangelist to speak at rally

The Rev. Patrick Zukeran, a Hawaii-born evangelist now working with Probe Ministries in Texas, will discuss Christianity's answers to other faiths at a rally tonight.

The free lecture at 7 p.m. at Kawananakoa Intermediate School's cafeteria will be sponsored by Kalihi Union Church and the Jesus Christ Is Calling You Evangelistic Ministry. Vocalist Cheryl Kumie will sing.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin