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Press Release 83-2015

To further reach out to and engage leaders of the Filipino religious community in Hawaii, the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu hosted a reception for around eighty (80) Filipino Catholic priests and nuns, as well as Baptist and Protestant ministers and pastors on 28 September 2015 at the Philippine Consulate.

The reception was the second activity held with the Filipino Catholic priests and nuns, serving as a follow through of the first reception held on 7 October 2014. But for this year’s reception, the Consulate General also invited non-Catholic Filipino leaders, making the event an ecumenical gathering.

The reception, which was also held on the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint, commenced with the blessing of newly-acquired vehicles of the personnel of the Consulate General by Father Edmundo Barut, President of the Filipino Catholic Priests of Hawaii. This was followed by a dialogue among the Philippine Consulate General, the Catholic priests and nuns, and the leaders of the Filipino community to discuss issues that are significant to Filipinos in Hawaii, and to jointly come up with activities and programs to assist the Filipino community.

The dialogue tackled issues concerning the Filipino community which include diminishing number of Filipino parishioners, religious apathy and seeming lack of Catholic identity among the youth, as well as concerns of distressed Filipinos and immigrants. The attendees also discussed ways of bringing the Filipino community together, such as participation in Filipino Catholic traditions such as the Simbang Gabi during the Christmas season and the Visita Iglesia during the Holy Week.

Following the dialogue was the arrival of the Baptist and Protestant pastors and ministers, led by Reverend JoLazo, also a well-respected Filipino community leader.

In her opening remarks during the program, Consul General Gina A. Jamoralin conveyed her appreciation for the work of the Filipino religious groups in their respective parishes and churches in serving and reaching out to their kababayans, especially those who are in need of spiritual counsel and guidance. She also assured them of the continued support of the Philippine Consulate General in their programs.

In response, Father Barut and Reverend Lazo thanked the Consul General for continuing the Consulate General’s engagement with the religious leaders, which unites all Filipino religious groups in Hawaii, regardless of affiliations, sects and denominations. (END).