By Patrick Downes
Catholic Herald of Hawaii
Matthew Lonoikamakahiki Wah Tim Yim, son of Judge Patrick and Santa Marie Yim of Holy Trinity Parish of Kuliouou, was ordained a deacon Oct. 23 by Jesuit Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, Calif., at the Cathedral of Christ Light of Oakland.
Yim, a Jesuit, was one of nine men ordained to the “transitional” diaconate, which, unlike the “permanent” diaconate, is a step towards the priesthood. He is expected to be ordained a priest on June 11, 2022.
He told the Hawaii Catholic Herald ahead of the ordination via email that he was “praying for wisdom and compassion to outwardly reflect the joy and gratitude I feel inwardly as I strive to authentically live the gospel counsels. poverty, chastity and obedience”.
His parents attended the ordination. A cousin living in the Bay Area, a longtime friend from the University of Washington, DC, and other Jesuits and friends from the parish were also present.
Yim joined the Jesuits in August 2010 at the age of 32, taking his first vows in Seattle on August 12, 2012, after a two-year novitiate.
Now 43, he is a member of the Western United States Province of the order, which covers 10 western states.
Born in Honolulu into a long line of Catholics on both sides of the parents, Yim was baptized at St. Pius X Church in Manoa by Msgr. Daniel Dever, made his first communion at Holy Trinity Parish Church in Kuliouou and was confirmed there by Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo.
He attended Iolani School from K-12 and graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with degrees in East Asian Studies and English Literature.
After receiving his certification to teach English as a Second Language, he traveled to China’s Shanxi Province to teach English in Taigu County. While in China, he learned to speak Mandarin.
Back in the islands, Yim earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He worked as a librarian at the Bishop Museum for a few years while exploring career opportunities. He spent a year of discernment with the late Jesuit Father Russell Roide, then pastor of the Newman Center at the University of Hawaii, before joining the order.
As a Jesuit, he earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University, New York, while volunteering at St. John Chrysostom School in the South Bronx. He then taught philosophy at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, for a few years, followed by a year at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Sacramento, California, leading religious sharing groups and leading small retreats.
He began studying theology in 2019 at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, doing fieldwork at the Center for Ignatian Spiritual Life at St. Agnes Parish in San Francisco , online and via Zoom due to the pandemic.
This year he will travel to Sacramento to help as a deacon at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish.
“My prayer this year has focused on gratitude,” he told the Hawaii Catholic Herald. “I’m so grateful.”
He thanked the women and men who had guided him and befriended him over the years, especially those who had recently passed away, including Father Roide, the first Jesuit he met in Hawaii.
“I am grateful for the experiences I have had in my life and how gentle God has been with me over the years,” he said. “I am grateful to my parents and my family.”
“I am also touched by the immensity of trust and responsibility that I am steadily progressing towards,” he said.
“Gratitude, humility, responsibility, joy and sadness – all together and sometimes all at once. I think this is also part of my prayer as I continue to move towards ordination,” Yim said.
“The reasons why I joined the Society of Jesus are not the same that allowed me to stay,” he said. “Rather, it is my deepening relationship with Jesus Christ and the many good examples of Christian lives well lived (lay and religious) that continue to elicit from me a generous ‘yes’ to God’s invitation to co-operate with so many others.”
Yim said, “These past 10 or so years as a Jesuit have made me reflect more on the words of the ‘raised prayer’ that Saint Ignatius of Loyola wrote: ‘Take, Lord, and receive all my freedom, my memory, my understanding. and all my will, all that I have and call mine.
“When I pray this prayer, I know that I am asking infinitely more of God than I can offer. Freedom, memory, understanding, will – all of these pale in comparison to the gifts that God gives in superabundance, the love of God and grace of God.
The Jesuits, founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius of Loyola and officially known as the Society of Jesus, are the largest order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church.
The order has a dozen priests who were born in Hawaii or who have strong ties to Hawaii.