Father Pascual Abaya, 38, was born in Candon City, Luzon, Philippines. He has one brother and two sisters. Father Abaya earned a philosophy degree before finishing the seminary and being ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia on April 26, 1996. In more than 10 years of ministry in thePhilippines, he served as an associate pastor and pastor, as the editor-in-chief of a church paper, in a media apostolate doing radio and broadcast media, and as a prefect of discipline at a minor seminary. In July 2006, Father Abaya came to Hawaii on a three year “loan” to the Diocese of Honolulu. He is the associate pastor at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace.
Father Pascual Abaya was incardinate by Bishop Larry Silva on January 23, 2011 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace.
1. What is your favorite childhood memory?
The fact that I was introduced into church life at an early age, particularly as an altar server. At the age of maybe 8, that was the first time that I said to my mom that I wanted to become a priest. It was when we attended a celebration and there were lots of priests there. I said to her, ‘I want to be a part of that, that celebration.’
2. If you hadn’t become a priest, what would you have been?
My father dreamt of at least one of his children becoming a lawyer. I was on a break from the seminary at one point. In the process of finishing my philosophy degree it moved me to think that after graduating I would opt to take up a degree in law. But the priesthood is a vocation, it’s a mystery. Probably God called me back to the seminary.
3. What is your favorite book and why?
“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. The book talks about the experiences of those people who were in Auschwitz [including Frankl]. He looked at how people there, despite the fact that they were suffering, were able to make the most of their lives, to search for a meaning in what they were experiencing. He translates that into the ordinary experiences of man, how we can find meaning in our lives and work. I relate that to the mission that I have been entrusted to here.
4. Do you have any hobbies?
I started playing tennis during my last years in the seminary and I play tennis at Ala Moana Park occasionally. I also recently started going to the gym.
5. What is your hidden talent?
I’ve played the guitar since high school, I’m learning the ukulele by self-study, and I like to sing.
6. Who would you have most liked to have met?
I really longed to meet Pope John Paul II. First, because the pope is the Vicar of Christ, and it was during John Paul II’s papacy that I got ordained. Also, it was his outlook of the Church’s reaching out to all nations that paved the way for communications with other religions. And I admired his energy, vigor and gentleness of approach in ministry.
7. What is your favorite movie and why?
A current favorite is "The Kite Runner." It's about the challenge of friendship and courage, about redemption, being able to correct past experiences with the good things that we can do in the present.
8. What is the biggest challenge facing the Catholic Church today?
I would say evangelization, because the Lord said, “Go to the whole world and proclaim the good news.” The church is really trying to do that, but it’s really a big challenge because of other faiths that would block that message from being conveyed to the people.
Source: Hawaii Catholic Herald