Sunday, 1 December 2013


Assumption Church 2nd Collections . . . $875.11
Prefecture Apostolic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$500.00
Vincent & Asma Muller . . . . . . . . . . . . $402.10
St. Francis Xavier Church (Laura). . . . . .$80.50
Jaluit Catholic Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$100.00
Likiep Catholic Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$50.00
TOTAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,007.71 (US Dollars)
The extent of destruction caused by this super-typhoon is of catastrophic proportion and defies our imagination. At 195 mph, it is believed to be the strongest typhoon in history to ever make a landfall. 
The small Republic of the Marshall Islands (pop. 52,500) and the Prefecture Apostolic do not have much and the modest amount we raised is a collection of our two small copper coins. Our Lord Jesus Christ also welcomes and appreciates small coins.
The contributions took place last November 17, 2013 and were submitted to the parish priest of the Assumption Cathedral parish,  Fr. Tito Maratas, MSC who sent this amount to the Philippines. May the good and compassionate Lord bless and assist all those who generously contributed to this noble cause. Thank you ever so much.
Prefect Raymundo T. Sabio, MSC

Friday, 29 November 2013

Christ the King Celebration (Nov. 24, 2013)

     We prepared the people for this event for several reasons. It was explained to them that the Feast of Christ the King highlights the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the loving and compassionate Ruler and Master of the world. Secondly, this feast closes the Calendar Year of the Catholic Church (Year C) and we commence the Year A. Thirdly, it also the closing day of the “Prayer for the Year of Faith” which was proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI to be a time of grace and renewed commitment for all Catholics. In practice, it meant deepening their knowledge of the teachings of the Church; strengthening their personal faith and proclaiming the message of the Scriptures with much joy and deep conviction.  We have been praying this prayer  since October 11, 2012 until November  24, 2013.

     To highlight the Kingship of Christ, it was planned that before the 9:30 AM Holy Mass, there will be a solemn procession around the campus of the Assumption School and of the Assumption Cathedral grounds. Unfortunately, it was raining and so the procession was cancelled.  The Holy Mass was celebrated with much devotion and enthusiasm by all those present.

     In the St. Paul Chapel, a sub-parish located in Tinak, Arno the procession took place.  It was raining heavily in the early morning but at 8:00 AM the rain stopped and shortly after the sun shone.  The procession took place at 9:00 AM and this was followed by the Holy Mass with hymns sung wholeheartedly by the people.  A festive meal and party of the community took place in the evening,  at 7:30 PM.  It was indeed a fitting tribute to our Savior Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

An invitation to the Blessing and Dedication of the Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier in Laura, Majuro. 3:00 PM, June 23, 2013, Sunday.

In the name of the Prefecture Apostolic of the Roman Catholic Church in the Marshall Islands,  I  Fr. Ray T. Sabio, MSC cordially invite you to the blessing of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Laura.

Date:  June 23, 2013 (Sunday)
Time:  3:00 PM
Venue:  St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Laura

The Diocesan / Prefecture Pastoral Council

Prefecture Apostolic of the Marshall Islands
Assumption, Uliga, Majuro
P.O. Box 8 Majuro MH 96960
Marshall Islands

The Diocesan / Prefecture Pastoral Council

A. Purpose of Diocesan / Prefecture Pastoral Council (Commission) 
The pastoral council exists to investigate, consider and propose practical suggestions and conclusions about those things which pertain to pastoral works in the diocese/prefecture  The diocesan / prefecture pastoral council (commission)  is envisioned and recommended in the following documents,
1. Vatican II  “Christus Dominus” ( “Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops”)  No. 27 of this decree states:  “It is greatly desired that in each diocese / prefecture a pastoral commission  will be established over which the diocesan bishop / prefect  himself will preside and in which clergy, religious and lay people will participate. The duty of this commission will be to investigate and weigh pastoral undertakings and to formulate practical conclusions regarding them. (Vat. II, Decree concerning the Pastoral Office Bishops in the Church or "Christus Dominus." 1965)
2. The “Code of Canon Law” (CIC, 1983) No. 511 states: “In each diocese / prefecture in so far as pastoral circumstances suggest, a pastoral council is to be established. Its function, under the authority of the Bishop/Prefect is to study and weigh those matters which concern the pastoral works in the diocese/prefecture and to propose practical conclusions concerning them.”  Thus, it is accurate to identify the work of the pastoral council as “pastoral planning.”

The pastoral issues to be investigated and considered by the pastoral council may come from a variety of sources. The pastoral council, under the leadership of the bishop / prefect        investigates, considers, and proposes practical conclusions about those things which pertain to pastoral works.
Its membership includes clergy, members of institutes of consecrated life  and especially lay persons. Since the majority of the faithful of the diocese / prefecture  are lay persons, it is reasonable that the majority of the members of the diocesan / prefecture pastoral council are lay. The bishop / prefect determines how the members are designated. They should represent the diversity of the diocese / prefecture.
B. Manner of Operation
The pastoral council operates in a consultative manner. It means, the pastoral council performs its function in a consultative (decision-recommending) manner, not in a deliberative (decision-implementing) manner. It offers recommendations, but does not have the power or the role to execute them.
The pastoral council is a consultative body which plans. It is a planning council which operates in a consultative manner.  It is only reasonable to expect that the bishop / prefect will sometimes approach the pastoral council for advice on matters of pastoral concern, to get a sense of the diocese / prefecture. This is a perfectly legitimate activity, and can result in much pastoral good within the Church.
The support of the bishop / prefect is essential for the success of the pastoral council, whether he proposes questions for the council to study or receives questions from it. Indeed, the council exists to give practical conclusions on pastoral matters to the bishop / prefect.  He designates its members, convokes it, makes public its activities, and receives its conclusions.

C. Practical Considerations
1. Composition of the Prefecture Pastoral Council: the members will be the clergy, religious sister, lay representatives of various sectors in the prefecture.                                                           2. The members are appointed by the Prefect for a term of 2 years, renewable.                             3. The Pastoral Council will meet at least three (if needed, four) times a year.                                   4. The points on the agenda related to the pastoral works in the Prefecture will be collated from the suggestions of the Prefecture Pastoral Council members.                                                           5. The date and venue of the meeting will be indicated by the Prefect Apostolic.
D. Conclusion
The diocesan/prefecture pastoral council finds its origin in Vatican Council II, and in Code of Canon Law.  These documents show that the pastoral council exists to investigate, consider, and propose practical conclusions about those things which pertain to pastoral works in the diocese / prefecture. This may be called pastoral planning. While planning is common to so many groups and individuals in the Church, the pastoral council is the body which exists solely to do pastoral planning. It performs its important function in a consultative  manner.

The pastoral council is composed in such a way as to represent the diversity of the diocese/prefecture.  When the pastoral council performs its role effectively and appropriately, much will be done to further ecclesial communio.

The pastoral council will assist the program for the Church in every age, found in the Gospel and the Church"s living Tradition, to be enfleshed in the pastoral plan of each particular Church.
Fr. Raymundo T. Sabio, MSC                                                                                                               (Prefect  Apostolic)                                                                                                                             July 25, 2013                                                                                                                                   Feast of St. James the Apostle

Prefecture Apostolic of the Marshall lslands
P.O.Box 8  Majuro MH 96960
Marshall Islands


Last Monday, July 29 at 12:00 noon at DAR,  the first meeting of the Prefecture Pastoral Council took place. Present were: Fr. Ray Sabio, msc; Deacon  Alfred Capelle;  Donald Capelle; Veronica Kiluwe; Sr. Kantarawa Yee-On, fdnsc; Ted Stepp;  Miriam Balico; Luke Roverove.  Invited but unable to come were: Marie Maddison and Tone Herkinos
The meeting started with a prayer led by Deacon Alfred Capelle.  Afterwards, the participants, one at a time, introduced themselves to the group.  A word of warm welcome was given by the Prefect Apostolic.
Then followed a period which was given to the reading of the statement of the purpose of the Prefecture Pastoral Council and to subsequent clarifications, in the light of the two Catholic church documents:
1. Vatican II  “Christus Dominus” ( “Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops”)  No. 27 of this decree states:  “It is greatly desired that in each diocese / prefecture a pastoral commission  (council) will be established over which the diocesan bishop / prefect  himself will preside and in which clergy, religious and lay people will participate. The duty of this commission will be to investigate and weigh pastoral undertakings and to formulate practical conclusions regarding them. (Vat. II, Decree concerning the Pastoral Office Bishops in the Church or "Christus Dominus." 1965)
2. The “Code of Canon Law” (CIC, 1983) No. 511 states: “In each diocese / prefecture in so far as pastoral circumstances suggest, a pastoral council is to be established. Its function, under the authority of the Bishop/Prefect is to study and weigh those matters which concern the pastoral works in the diocese/prefecture and to propose practical conclusions concerning them.”  Thus, it is accurate to identify the work of the pastoral council as “pastoral planning.”
Then a sharing followed on points or issues of importance to the prefecture. First is the issue of  integration of the various ethnic and language groups in the prefecture (Fijians, Kiribati, Filipinos, Americans and other nationalities)  in order to enhance the pastoral and liturgical activities. There is some kind of a distance between the 6:30 PM Saturday Mass (in English) participants and the Sunday Mass (in Marshallese) participants.
Finally, after a good period of discussion,  all agreed that in an effort to better integrate the worshipping community, special masses involving all sectors of the community (ethnic/national groups, language, speaking and musical talent) should be planned approximately four times a year, e.g., Feast of the Assumption (August 15), Feast of Christ the King  (end of the liturgical year), Christmas, and Easter.
The group participants think  that  the upcoming  “Feast of the Assumption”  would be a good time to make an effort in this regard.  Various members of the group were asked to contact liturgically active members of their communities. 
1. The couincil recommends that the Mass for the Feast of the Assumption will be celebrated at 6:30 PM in order to enable  those working to be present and participate  at the Holy Mass.  Aug. 15 is a working day.                                                                                                                               2. A suggestion came up on the possibility of  two choirs at Mass.  The Assumption Choir will give 3 Marshallese Mass songs;  and the 6:30 PM Saturday choir will give 2 English songs.  In this way, the Saturday and the Sunday groups could come together in the great celebration of the parish feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother Mary.                                                      3. At the party that follows the evening Mass,  each ethnic group will be requested to give one or two numbers  during the parish program.                                                                                           4. Other topics discussed were:                                                                                           a)Prefecture Pastoral Assembly (with representation from all parishes and chapels) in summer 2014.  There might be a need for a facilitator.                                                                                    b) Diaconate Program to be explored and resumed if possible . . .                                                 c) Try to put up a Prefecture Pastoral Council Newsletter (suggested: 3 of 4 times a year) to be edited by Ted Stepp.                                                                                                                              d. The issue of homelessness on Majuro, and  the needs of the poor, particularly children in the urban area (Uliga and neighboring areas)                                                                                 
e. A suggestion was made on the need for training and rehearsals of liturgy participants (readers, commentators)  to improve their contributions towards a meaningful liturgy.  This also includes the proper and effective use of microphones.

(Fr.) Ray Sabio, msc


Planned Diaconate Program in the Prefecture Apostolic

Planned Diaconate Program in the Prefecture Apostolic
1. On Feb. 2, 1986, three permanent deacons were ordained for the Prefecture Apostolic of the Marshall Islands. They were Deacon Alfred Capelle, Deacon Tony Mamis and Deacon Thomas Makiphie. No other deacons were ordained after them. Deacon Mamis and Deacon Makiphie died several years ago. Only Deacon Alfred Capelle is serving the Catholic Church, assisting at Masses, doing Gospel reading and homily every other Sunday, and at times performing the sacrament of Baptism.
2. There is a plan to revive the Diaconate Program in our Prefecture Apostolic.
3. The program is open to all practicing and active Catholic Marshallese men: at least 30 years of age.
4. The program will last for 3 years. There will be a weekly session of an hour and a half.
5. The wives of the candidates are required to attend these sessions for the purpose of understanding the diaconate and consequently, to be supportive of their deacon-husbands responsibility in the Church. The wives are not candidates for diaconate.
6. With God's guidance and blessing, this program could commence possibly in mid-January, 2-14. Let us remember this intention in our prayers.
Fr. Ray T. Sabio, MSC
Prefect Apostolic
Nov. 3, 2013

JejḶōmṇakInJinoJuonBūrokūraaṃ In KatakÑanJerbalinTikōn

1.      IloPāpwōde 2, 1986 eokarjiluTikōniloEklejiaKatlik. Ak jet iiōkoremootḷọk, AnijeaarkūrruoiaanTikōn reinimkiiōjuonwōtejjerbalñanEklejia. EjjipañBata iloJarinMissaimkwaḷọknaanaolepḷọkinruo Sunday otemjejimiloMissakoiloJujeotemjej, imjerbalko jet emaroñkōṃṃaniñanEkejia.
2.      EwōrḷōmṇakkiiōñanjinokōṃṃanejuonBūrokūraaṃ in katakñanjebalinTiikōnilo Prefect Apostolic in ad.
3.      Epeḷḷọkbūrokūraaṃ in ñaneṃṃaan in Katlik in Ṃajeḷroreniknik jar ippāer make, ippānbaaṃlekoaerimippānKatlikro jet, eḷaptatailoJarinMissako. Juoneṃṃaanejaikujdiktata 30 aniiō.
4.      Būrkūraaṃ in katakTikōn innaajjiluiiōaetokan.Juonalenilojuonwiikiienkatakeo. Juonawajilñuulminitaetokanjuoniienkatak.
5.      Kōrārorenaajaikujpādiloiienkatakotemjejippānḷōṃarokōnkerenmeḷeḷekōnaorōkinjerbal in Tikōn. Rejaikujkarejarimrejetakḷōṃaroilojerbal in an Anijim an Eklejia.Kōrārorejjab katakbwereneromTikōn.
6.      Jen jarñanAnijimkajjitōkjipañjānippānbwebūrkūraaṃ in en maroñnaajijjinoilolukwōnḷọkJānwōre, 2014.


Fr. Ray T. Sabio, MSC, Prefect Apostolic

Likiep and the 111th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Catholic Faith.

Likiep and the 111th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Catholic Faith. October 7, 2013

       October 7, 2013  was the Feast of  "Our Lady of the Holy Rosary".  It was a special and big day for the Catholic Church and the parish of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary  in Likiep. This parish celebrated the 111th Anniversary of the arrival of the Catholic Faith.  The parish led by the parish priest, Fr. Yoseph Rettob, MSC and two MSM Sisters: Sr. Anita Selidio and Sr. Marivic Cabote; together with the Parish Pastoral Council and Prayers Leaders; the various small communities named after saints and the Sunday School Teachers did the preparation several months before the big day.  The celebration was graced by the visitors from Majuro:  Fr. Raymundo T. Sabio, MSC (Prefect Apostolic);  Honorable Parliament Speaker Donald and Rosita Capelle; Deacon Alfred and Mwejo Capelle; Mrs. Plu de Brum, Mrs. Emma Riklon; Veronica Kiluwe,  Clement Capelle  and many more.  A procession in honor of the our Lady of the Holy Rosary on the eve of the feast solemnly introduced the festivities.  On Oct. 7, 2013 the Feastday Holy Mass was celebrated at 9:30 AM.  A feastday dinner and a colorful and interesting parish program commenced at 7:00 PM which lasted for about 3 hours.
Brief History
In 1902, two Catholic MSC missionaries:  Fr. Leo Kieffer and an MSC Brother arrived in Likiep from Jaluit and laid the good foundation of the Catholic church in this atoll.   Unfortunately, barely a year after the mission station was opened, Fr. Leo Kieffer (from Strasbourg, France) died suddenly on March 9, 1903. 
        As his replacement, another MSC priest was sent from Jaluit in the person of Fr.Johannes Wendler (from Wroclaw, Poland).  He worked as the pastor of Likiep and a number of young people from the De Brum and Capelle families were baptized.  Fr. Wendler started a day school for boys which later grew to 35 students. These boys were taught by a single MSC brother, Bro. Neumann. In January, 1906  three young MSC Sisters arrived to work in the girls school which had only 12 students. As the Catholic population from the area increased, boarding students were also accepted from the other islands, and by 1911 there were 15 boarders.  Another sad thing happened when Fr. Wendler died on May 13, 1912.  Both Fr. Kieffer and Fr. Wendler were buried on a location close to the right side of the present church. Another priest was sent to replace Fr. Wendler.
       In late September 1914, six Japanese warships arrived in the Marshall Islands.  They took over the islands from the Germans. A week later all the German government officials were expelled, but the MSC missionaries, brothers and sisters were allowed to continue their work without restrictions for another year.  The station on Likiep was shut down in 1916 when the pastor was transferred to Jaluit to replace Fr. Schinke, MSC (Vicar Apostolic).  About the same time, the Japanese issued an order requiring that all Germans missionaries be brought to Jaluit. For the following three years, more than 20 missionaries operated out of their quarters on Jabwor, Jaluit, visiting other places only when they could secure the necessary permission to travel to other atolls.
The Expulsion of all the Missionaries
          It was in June 1919 that the final blow fell; the missionaries were informed by Japanese military authorities that they must all leave the Marshalls. On June 22, a simple mass was said in the chapel, the sanctuary lamp was extinguished, and all the German missionaries were led to the dock to board the Japanese ship which brought them to Yokohama, Japan.  In the absence of the missionaries, the Catholics in Likiep, Jaluit and Arno gathered every afternoon to pray the Holy Rosary, led by one their leaders.  A hymn precedes and concludes the rosary.
The Spanish Jesuits came to the Marshall Islands in January, 1922 to take over the work of  evangelization. They were Fr. Jose Pajaro and Fr. Victoriano Tudanca. They were assigned to reopen the mission in Jaluit. Two more recent arrivals were Fr. Ramon Suarez and Bro. Francisco Hernandez were sent to Arno. Likiep was not re-activated owing to lack of personnel.
       It was only a year after that Fr. Pajaro and Fr. Tudanca were sent to Likiep in June 1923 to see whether prospects for a mission there were any better than on Jaluit. Accompanied by two of their pupils, they worked among the largely half-caste population of Likiep for the remainder of the year and this lasted for about six months. This is the only visit to Likiep done by the Spanish Jesuits. Then Fr. Pajaro became ill and had to be moved out of the Marshalls to convalesce. Finally in early 1934, Fr. Pajaro died.  His death was the end of the resident priest in the Marshalls.  In the next few years, Jesuits from Pohnpei made yearly pastoral visits. Fr. Higinio Berganza, the Jesuit mission superior, paid a brief visit to Jaluit in June 1935 to provide such pastoral care as he could in the three days he was there. Each of the following three years, Fr. Berganza spent about a month in the Marshalls between ships. His pastoral activity was limited to Jaluit because there was no time to visit any of the other islands and atolls.  In 1940, war was fast approaching, and the Japanese authorities forbade the Jesuits to continue their pastoral work.  And so, Spanish Jesuit missionary activity in the Marshalls ended in that very year of 1940.
       The first two American Jesuits, Fr. Thomas Feeney and Fr. Thomas Donohoe, appeared in October 1947, after World War II. The two priests were immediately assigned to Likiep, which was chosen as the main mission station in the Marshalls. Likiep offered several uncontestable advantages at that early date: besides its relatively large number of Catholics and the undamaged state of its old mission buildings, Likiep was close to Kwajalein, the main American base and the hub of air transportation in and out of the Marshalls.
       In the subsequent year, they opened a school which later was named Holy Rosary School. Religion, English and  trade skills along the lines of vocational training were taught. And thanks be to God, in September 1950, three Maryknoll sisters came.  Being good educators, they provided organization to the school and also taught in the Holy Rosary School, thereby raising the academic standard of the school.  They were: Sr. Emily McIver, Sr. Rose Patrick St. Aubin; and Sr. Camilla Kennedy.


Feast of the Holy Rosary, Monday.  October 7, 2013
Acts 1:12-14 / Luke 1:26-38

The feast of the Holy Rosary was established by Saint Pius V on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto, October 7, 1571. The victory was attributed to the intercession of the holy Mother of God whose aid was invoked through praying the Rosary.

The celebration of this day invites all to mediate upon the mysteries of Christ, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was so deeply associated with the incarnation, passion and glorious resurrection of the Son of God. It is believed that God has on many occasions rewarded the faith of those who had recourse to this devotion in times of grave danger.

So besides the naval victory at Lepanto in 1571, there were many other occasions like plagues, disasters, disunity and schisms, where the Church has recourse to the prayer of the Rosary.  The original title was "Our Lady of Victory" but it was changed to the present title to give the devotion and the prayers a wider scope and appeal.

Still we are assured that when we stand by God we need have no fear because God will always be victorious.  And if God is for us, then who and what can be against us. For nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.
Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI – Angelus Message 10/2/05 …The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, the unique contemplative prayer through which, guided by the Lord’s Heavenly Mother, we fix our gaze on the face of the Redeemer in order to be conformed to his joyful, light-filled, sorrowful and glorious mysteries."

So despite its repetitive form, the Rosary invites us to join our Blessed Mother to look at Jesus and to pour out our love for Him. We can also be assured that like Mary, we too will be filled with grace and that God will work marvels for us and through us.  Let us always remember that with God, nothing is impossible.



Dear God Please Stop the Rain Fall

Dear God: Please stop the rain fall

By Father Ray T. Sabio, MSC
   It was still raining when I arrived at the ICC (International Convention Center) at around 2:15 PM of September 3, 2013. I climbed the stairs leading to the second floor and there I saw sister Daisy Momotaro and the three ladies seated on the lounging chairs. Parenthetically, sister Daisy came out few minutes earlier from an emergency meeting to change the plan for the PIF Official Opening Ceremony because the prediction was it was going to rain that evening according to the Weather Station and the forecast from the Internet.
   I met brother Antonio Elio and invited him to join me. Without hesitation, I approached sister Daisy and the three ladies and suggested that the six of us pray and request God's assistance to stop the rain and if possible generate  good weather.
   So much work has been done in preparation for the Pacific Islands Forum. And I made a brief comment that if God could open the Red Sea and let His chosen people pass, He could possibly reverse the weather.
I started with a short opening prayer and then we prayed one “Our Father,” one “Hail Mary” and one “Glory Be.” Then I gave a copy of the beautiful picture and prayer to “Our Lady of the Sacred Heart” to sister Daisy, to the three Ladies and to brother Antonio Elio. I requested the group to offer the special prayer "Memorare to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart" requesting her maternal intercession. She is a Mother of Jesus, the Mother who lovingly cares. She is given the subtitle, “Hope of the Hopeless.”
   At the end of the prayer, I gave the blessing and thank them wholeheartedly for their participation. It was only later on that I was informed that the three ladies were the First Ladies of Cook Islands, Palau and Tuvalu. My special thanks to them for joining our prayer.
   While it was still drizzling, I left the ICC and proceeded on foot to Delap Park (the Old Weather Station) to update myself on the island-style huts constructed by the local governments as well as the palm branches decoration surrounding the Delap Park done by the Filipino community members. This was inspired by the Palm Sunday decoration done by them for the Assumption Church. Everything at the Delap Park looked beautiful. About 15 minutes later, I noticed the sky gradually cleared. And then after another 15 minutes, sunshine came in. “Wow, a miracle is taking place,” I said to myself. “Thanks be to the Almighty God.”
Well, the weather forecast can make predictions. But God after all, who is the great author of the weather, can reverse the forecast. Glory and praise to the Lord forever. Thanks and honor to “Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.”

(Marshall Islands Journal - Friday, September 13, 2013)