Friday, December 19, 2014


The novitiate community in front of the outdoor Belen

Ever since Guam novices started entering the program at San Lorenzo Friary in Santa Ynez, California, they have lead the efforts year after year to build a large, outdoor nativity scene or creche, called a Belen in Chamorro.

This year, Brothers Cody Lizama and Sean Rodriguez oversaw the building of the Belen.

Notice the windmill in the Belen, a tribute to nearby Solvang's Danish heritage.

The Belen was completed in time for the Hispanic community in the area to come to the Friary to celebrate the Posadas tradition, commemorating Joseph and Mary's pilgrimage from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


It started some years ago when the Guam Medical Referral Office thought it would be a good thing to enshrine an image of Our Lady of Camarin, Guam's patroness, in the chapel of Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, where many Guam patients receive medical care when referred to mainland doctors.

Once that was accomplished, an annual Mass to celebrate her feast of the Immaculate Conception began, observed on the Saturday closest to December 8th or on the actual date when it falls on a Saturday.

Since 2009, a Guam Capuchin, Father Eric Forbes, has come every year to celebrate and preach.

There are always a hundred or more participants, mostly from the Southern California area but there are always a few from Guam and elsewhere.

Whenever there happens to be Guam patients in the hospital, especially in ICU, Father Eric goes to their rooms to visit and sometimes anoint them. One year, a family, not Chamorros, were looking for any Catholic priest, as their loved one was close to death and Father Eric anointed the patient moments before death.

Every year, the standing committee of volunteers who organize this event reach out to the Chamorro community to help provide for the luncheon after Mass. There is always a nice spread of food and people spend hours after the Mass in fellowship.



I think growing up with a sister exposed me to movies I would never have watched on my own. The kinds of movies my sister enjoyed watching were the romantic kinds. Honestly, I dreaded watching them but I saw value in the stories. Especially the stories when the lover has to leave everything, sometimes kingdoms, titles, and money to win the heart of the beloved. Usually a king would renounce his crown, or the businessman would quit his job.  All this done out of love.

However no matter how much my sister and many others enjoyed these movies and thought how beautiful they were, I think that the most important love story of all time outweighs them. Yes you have the king that leaves his kingdom but what about the God who left His heaven? What about the loving God who would rather be among His people on earth than in His heavenly glory? I think God leaving heaven for His beloved is way better and even more powerful of a story than any king. This is the story so powerful that it is retold every year in very moving ways. Whether the story is read out in front of crowds, or memorialized in our homes in the form of the Belen (nativity scenes), the story is the same. And that story, the Christmas story, is a love story. We need to remember the whole point of Christmas, the whole reason for the season, is love.

God became man, dwelt among us, and experienced all that it means to be human except sin. That truth is often forgotten and sometimes pushed aside. That is a sad situation if we think the Christmas story as only that..…just a story. When in reality, it is not that.  IT HAPPENED! We can point to a period in history where God became man. About two thousand years ago God took on human flesh and embraced His creation in a way that was thought to be impossible,  yet God did it. This “story” happened and is not a legend or fairy tale. The more we think of it as a nice story the more we begin to believe it is a myth. The more we think of it as a myth, the more we live our lives as if it is a myth. In other words, if we really believe it happened than would we be living the way we do now? If we believed in Christmas, which is as real as you or me, what more would I be doing that I am not already doing? Going to Holy Mass and Confession more? Praying every day? Feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless? All of this we should be doing if we truly believe in Christ and His birth, and all this we should be doing for one reason, the same reason why God came to earth, and that is love.

So we know that God became man, in Christ Jesus, and that His reason for doing that is simply out of love. Like the lover who gets down on one knee with a ring in hand so does God came down from heaven to be with us and to extend to us the invitation. After all this we simply have to ask ourselves the same question that God asks us - “Will you love me?”

Brother Cody Lizama

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Advent is a liturgical season in the Catholic Church; it is the season that starts off the liturgical year. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means coming. Advent is the time of the year where we anticipate the birth of Jesus as well as the second coming. The beloved traditions of Advent such as the lighting the Advent wreath, decorating the Christmas tree, watching Christmas movies, and putting up Christmas decorations have always brought me such fond memories of childhood. Advent is the first season in the liturgical year; I say it is the season of new beginnings, a new start as Catholics.

The season of Advent always comes around with a beautiful spirit of generosity amongst people. A spirit originating from the three Magi giving our Lord gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. A spirit continued by Saint Nicholas of Myra, the actual Santa Claus, and continues today with all of us who share the tradition of gift giving on Christmas day. People give gifts to fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters and friends bringing everyone together.

The season of Advent seems to be the happiest time of year for families. The parents think of their children and try to find the perfect gift for each one of them. It fosters a mindset of selflessness, love, and connectedness between family members. It is a time when the whole family tries to get back together to be with each other for a little while. When we put aside our differences, difficulties and forgive each other to begin again as a happy family.

Advent is the season of the most happiness and joy because it prepares us for Christmas. The happiness and joy that comes from generosity, love, and togetherness embody the spirit of Advent. The joy that flows from Advent, builds up to the high point of Christmas, which fits wonderfully because we remember the greatest gift given to the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, is what it is all about.

The spirit of Advent is the spirit of generosity, togetherness, and joy. The new beginning of Advent each year reminds us to be Christ-like and Christ centered. Why can’t the spirit of Advent continue throughout the year? The spirit of generosity, togetherness, and joy all year round doesn’t mean giving gifts for the whole year, it means always being ready to lend a hand, to include others, and to be joyful realizing the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord.

~ Brother Nicholas Martinez, OFM Cap


Every October, Fr Eric gets invited by several Chamorro communities in California to preside and preach at their patronal fiestas and other Masses. This actually lasts into early December, and most years he also conducts Chamorro Culture Seminars.

A large crowd of people gathered on a Friday morning for Mass for the sick, with the veneration of the relic of Padre Pio following Mass.  The Mass was held at the Guam Club in San Diego.

St Francis Fiesta
San Diego, CA

St Jude Fiesta
El Cajon, San Diego

St Jude Fiesta
Vancouver, WA


Four novices from Guam now live at San Lorenzo Friary in Santa Ynez, California. Novitiate is the first formal year of training in Capuchin life. Novices from all over the U.S., English-speaking Canada, Australia, Guam and sometimes from England or Ireland come to this novitiate.

From left to right : Brothers Lawrence Borja (Chalan Pago), Sean Rodriguez (Tamuning), Cody Lizama (Sta Rita) and Nicholas Martinez (Yona).

A Life of Prayer and Worship

...of Work

...and Fraternity


Three Secular Franciscan Fraternities of the Hawaii Region gathered at Blessings House, Ewa Beach, for a day of recollection with their spiritual assistant, Capuchin Franciscan Fr.Gordon Combs on Saturday, September 20. Reflecting on the Testament of Saint Francis, the group prayed, played, and enjoyed God’s beautiful creation at the beach house.


Despite a rainy week, the novena to Padre Pio at the Friary was well-attended. It culminated in a festal Mass, procession and dinner on the final night, September 23.

As usual, the overflow crowd were comfortably seated under canopies to protect them from the rain, which thankfully was mostly light on the final night.

The procession started in dryness but a light drizzle began as soon as it started. That didn't deter most people from joining in the procession.

After the Mass and procession, a wonderful dinner was enjoyed by all.


Every year, around the feast of Saint Francis, the friars gather for a prayer service called the Transitus, to remember the passing (transitus) of Saint Francis from earthly to heavenly life.

It is also a time to remember our brothers in the fraternity who have also passed from this life to eternity.

We read out their names and each friar lights a candle in their memory, as we pray for their eternal rest.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


The Secular Franciscans (Padre Pio Fraternity) on Guam gathered at the Friary on September 13 to elect their leadership. In attendance was a representative from the leadership team in the United States.


Every year it gets bigger and bigger.

In order to raise funds for the loan repayment for the building of the new friary in 2007, the friars hold a Founders Day benefit dinner every August. The first friars (the Founders) came to Guam in August of 1901.

Thanks to the heroic work of many volunteers, the dinners are always a huge success. Many people look forward to it every year.

The dinner, held at Saint Francis School's cafeteria, is beautifully decorated. A hotel-rank chef prepares the dinner for over 400 guests.

Besides the great food, drink and company, auction items,prizes and entertainment make for a merry time.

Father Jose Villagomez is one of several performers at the dinner, but also a regular as well as a favorite performer.


On July 20, four young men from Guam were invested as novices of the Capuchin Order. The novitiate is a year of intense prayer and study of the Capuchin life. The novitiate for the U.S., which includes Guam, and also Australia and English-speaking Canada, is now based in the quiet, peaceful countryside of Santa Ynez, California. At times, England and Ireland send their novices to Santa Ynez.

The four from Guam pictured above are : Lawrence Borja, Cody Lizama, Sean Rodriguez and Nicholas Martinez. Father Michel Dalton represented the Guam and Hawaii friars.

For some years now, the United States, Guam and Canada have been graced with a couple dozen novices or more. Here is the entire class for the novitiate year 2014-2015.

Congratulations and our prayerful best wishes!


Bro. William Paulino (L) and Bro. Jason Chargualaf (R)

After having completed their year in novitiate in California, Bros William Paulino and Jason Chargualaf returned to Guam in mid July to prepare for their First Profession.  It is the time they pronounce the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for the first time, and for one year. They still have several years of formation and discernment before they may ask to make these vows for the rest of their lives.

On Thursday, July 31, at Saint Francis Church in Yona, the two brothers made their First Profession before Father Joseph English, our Custos (or Superior).

Brothers Ryan Charfauros (far left) and Gavin Diego (far right), who made their First Profession some years ago, renewed their temporary professions at the same ceremony.

The church overflowed with family and friends.

Father Andre Eduvala was homilist.

At the dinner after Mass, the Knights of Columbus gave the brothers a donation to help with the expenses of their education. Thanks, Knights!

And congratulations, Brothers William and Jason, Ryan and Gavin!