Waialua native Jeremy Sabugo is ordained in a vibrant, multicultural ceremony
Story and photos by Darlene J.M. Dela Cruz
Hawaii Catholic Herald
Sacred Hearts Brother Jeremy Sabugo, 29, was ordained a priest in a Nov. 18 liturgy that highlighted the powerful impact of faith and family on a young person’s spiritual journey.
St. Ann Church in Kaneohe was filled that morning with Sabugo’s fellow parishioners from his childhood home parish, St. Michael in Waialua, as well as relatives, friends, and Sacred Hearts sisters, staff and clergy who came to support him from various parts of Hawaii, the U.S. mainland and abroad.
Tahiti Archbishop Jean-Pierre Cottanceau celebrated the multicultural ordination Mass. Archbishop Cottanceau, a Sacred Hearts priest who is a native of France, played a pivotal role in Sabugo’s formation. The St. Elizabeth Church, Aiea, Samoan choir provided beautiful music for the liturgy.
The Rite of Ordination, which began after the Liturgy of the Word, followed a traditional sequence of prayer and profession to elevate Sabugo to the priesthood.
Sacred Hearts Father Johnathan Hurrell, outgoing U.S. provincial for the order, called Sabugo forward to the sanctuary, presenting him to Archbishop Cottanceau as a priesthood candidate. Sacred Hearts Father Richard McNally, post-novitate program director, testified that Sabugo “has been found worthy” of the priestly vocation. “We choose Jeremy, our brother, for the Order of the Priesthood,” Archbishop Cottanceau declared. The congregation voiced their assent with a resounding, “Thanks be to God!”
In his homily, the Tahiti archbishop reminded Sabugo of the words of Father Pierre Coudrin, founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary: “How much I desire that my heart will burn totally in the divine flame of love of my good master whom I serve.”
“You are called to share completely in the ministry of Christ Jesus,” particularly as a minister of the Eucharist, Archbishop Cottanceau said. “Becoming a priest is to lay down your life and follow Christ Jesus, the only one good shepherd … the one who’s still living, the one whose words and actions are still saving.”
After the homily, the archbishop called Sabugo to the sanctuary again. He asked Sabugo several questions about his priestly responsibilities, to which Sabugo professed consent with “I do.”
Sabugo then prostrated himself before the archbishop on a lauhala mat made by the Tongan community of St. Augustine Church in Waikiki. The congregation knelt and chanted the Litany of Saints. An emotional Sabugo, after the litany, knelt before the archbishop.
The archbishop silently laid his hands on Sabugo’s head, ordaining him a priest with a solemn prayer and gesture passed down from the time of the apostles. Sacred Hearts and diocesan priests then each took a turn laying hands over Sabugo.
Father Sabugo was vested with a priestly stole and chasuble. His mother, Lourdes, presented him with a lei and a warm, poignant embrace.
Sabugo’s hands were anointed with the sacred chrism. Bread and wine were then brought to the archbishop, who in turn handed them to Father Sabugo for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The ordination rite concluded with priests in attendance greeting Father Sabugo with the “Fraternal Kiss of Peace.”
Father Sabugo’s brother Joel and sister Janelle served as the gift bearers for the offertory procession. The newly ordained priest assisted Archbishop Cottanceu at the altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
After Communion, Father Sabugo expressed his gratitude to all who played a part in his vocation.
He gave his first priestly blessings to Archbishop Cottanceau, Sacred Hearts Fathers Hurrell and Herman Gomes, his mom and siblings in front of the congregation. Sabugo’s father, Teodorico, was unable to attend the ordination Mass; he underwent surgery the morning of the liturgy.
Father Sabugo celebrated his first Mass as a priest at St. Michael in Waialua the following day. His first priestly assignment will be at Holy Name of Mary parish in San Dimas, California.
Scenes from the priestly ordination of Sacred Hearts Brother Jeremy Sabugo. Clockwise from top: Sabugo is vested with his priestly chasuble; the new priest assists at the altar with Tahiti Archbishop Jean-Pierre Cottanceau and Deacon Keith Cabiles; Father Sabugo embraces his mother Lourdes; Father Sabugo gives his sister Janelle a blessing; lying prostrate during the Litany of Saints.