Holy rosary

“You just have to present Jesus to them”

VIRIDITAS: GREENING OF THE SOUL

Interviewed by Sister Malia Dominica Wong, OP
Catholic Herald of Hawaii

By the grace of God, I am just happy to live each day. When I made my first profession, I said to myself: “I offer my life to God in thanksgiving for all he has done for me. I don’t remember where I read this line. Perhaps it was from a book, or from the writings of Saint Agnes of Montepulciano studied during my days of novitiate. However I met him, I was so impressed with it. Of course, I didn’t anticipate all the hardships that would come in life, but I always held on. Acknowledgement.

When trials come, I take the sky by storm with prayers even when I feel the prayers are meaningless, empty. In addition to sharing my trials with Jesus, I find it useful to share them, to unload them with the sisters and certain others. For example, the first time I died, the death of my brother, I really needed help. My brother was shot and left dead by the side of the road. I needed to stay strong and have faith in my family. I didn’t know what to do, or how to get out of it.

Previously, I had befriended a Jesuit priest, Father Thomas Green, author of several books on prayer. He is invited for a year to preach at the annual sisters’ retreat. I wanted to stay in touch with him, so I tried to send him a letter in the hope that he would respond. He did, and we became mail order friends. Father Green was one of those God sent to save me. Truly, it is the grace of God revealed through others that makes me constantly grateful.

In my current job, I am responsible for the faith training program at Holy Angels Parish (California). I am always enthusiastic about the work. Compared to Catholic school students who have regular religion classes, I can really sense the thirst of public school students and their parents to know the faith. Although parents are their children’s first teachers, some do not know how to make the sign of the cross.

So I started programs giving workshops and seminars to parents. When they thank me, I tell them to thank the Lord who inspired me. It is so gratifying to hear parents say, “Thank you very much, my son is now leading the prayer at meals. Or: “My child asked me to go to church on Sunday because he received First Communion. These graces are more than anyone could ever ask for. I still have tears in my eyes at First Communion or Confirmation. I thank God for making me an instrument of their faith.

However, as the challenges continue, some catechists have complained, “It has been almost a year and the students cannot memorize the Our Father. “I always tell them,” Just keep working with them. As the director of the Office of Faith Formation for the Archdiocese of San Francisco said, “Just introduce them to Jesus. Students may not be able to memorize the Our Father because no one at home is praying. But, if they have a relationship with Jesus, they know how to pray. Continue to pray for them; they will remember it.

Sister Ma. Delia Obenza is a Dominican Sister of the Most Holy Rosary. She is the youngest of three family members from Davao City. She is 33 years old in profession. During her four years in Hawaii, she served at St. Elizabeth’s School in Aiea and St. John the Baptist School in Kalihi. She is currently assigned to Holy Angels Church in Colma, Calif., Where she directs the religious education program.