After two dedicated years in Sequim, The Rev. Victor Olvida follows his duties with a reassignment from St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church. He now serves in Vancouver, Wash., with St. John the Evangelist Parish. Olvida has served as a priest for 29 years in duties as a pastor and associate pastor both in the Philippines and the United States. He is one of 14 Filipino priests in the Seattle Archdiocese and one of 900 Filipino-American priests in the U.S. The Rev. Thomas Nathe, the church’s pastor, and the Rev. Jean Pierre Kasonga, church priest, will take up Olvida’s Sequim ministry.
Two teens from St. Joseph’s, Carlo Juntilla and Eric Hermosada, conducted a farewell interview with Olvida. Both said they gained knowledge and a new understanding of him.
“I will remember this interview for the rest of my life,” Carlo said. “He has inspired me to better myself and my community.”
Carlo & Eric: Is it difficult to move each time you leave your assigned parish? How do you deal with each new assignment?
Father Vic Olvida: The challenges of a new assignment are to start new relationships, learning about different ministries in the parish community, learning about the parishioners’ gifts and talents, listening to them and establishing trust in each other and moving personal belongings. All are very challenging, but it helps me to be more reliant on God’s providential guidance.
Carlo & Eric: What is your advice to those seeking a vocation for priesthood?
Olvida: First, to discern the call of the Holy Spirit for guidance; second, to have a devotion to prayer and meditation; third, to go to Mass daily and engage himself in the parish life and ministries, especially in the pastoral works and worship; and lastly to seek spiritual direction from a pastor or from any holy priest of his choice.
Carlo & Eric: You have been a priest for 29 years. What would be your advice for our young priests today?
Olvida: Young priests are filled with the spirit of fresh energy, idealism and eagerness to fulfill the responsibilities in the ministry entrusted to their care. My fraternal advice for them is to maintain a spiritual balance between a life of service and of prayer.
A life of service means being active, being with people, walking, teaching, preaching, caring and celebrating. A life of prayer means having a holy moment with God to nourish a priestly loving relationship with him. Reading on sacred scriptures regularly and being faithful to our priestly duty on the Office of the Hour, taking some moments of the day for reflection, meditation and discernment of the Holy Spirit are all significant means for continued spiritual communion with Lord Jesus Christ who called us to remain in him that we may bear much fruit.
Carlo & Eric: You have spent about two short years in Sequim. What do you consider your accomplishments during your term?
Olvida: My life here at St. Joseph is filled with joy and spiritual enrichment. My mission is to build a prayerful community of love filled with a joyful spirit of unity in faith and in service. It is my great desire to foster the awareness of our reverential celebration of the holy sacrifice of the Mass. I wanted also to develop and support devotional celebrations of Catholic Feast Days …
I have created different ministries and committees to form collaborative and unified administration of our spiritual gifts of time, talent and treasures. The committees are as follows — Respect Human Life Ministry, Gabriel Project Ministry, Healing Prayer Ministry, Simbang Gabi Apostolate (a Filipino-American Ministry), reactivation of Hispanic Ministry, Music and Liturgy, scholarship committees, and I called for the formation of the Sister Parish, which is still on the way to be a completely organized one.
Through our collaborative efforts, we established annual celebrations of St. Joseph’s Feast Day, Feast Day of our Lady of Guadalupe, Simbang Gabi Mass, including fellowship and entertainment programs following the Mass.
I continued, of course, to support and strengthen existing programs on Religious Education in elementary and Youth Ministry as well as all other organizations and services in the parish; empowering the lay leadership participation in the life and works of the church. I think all of these activities, services, pastoral care, Eucharistic celebration of our faith, program events and entertainment contribute to a new spirit of community-building at St. Joseph’s Church as God’s people living out the Gospel values.
Most recently, I have solicited funds through a private donation in replacing an old and aging sound system with a brand new one that would enhance the quality and clarity of the words and music during liturgical celebrations of the Mass …
Also, we have accomplished the project of having a new roof for the church building. We have a new television and a DVD player for youth and adult religious education for educational presentation as well as for entertainment purposes. All of the St. Joseph Feast Days and the Simbang Gabi events were all donations of time, talent and treasures mostly by the Filipino-American community. Also, the parish hall was redesigned and there was a plan to paint the exterior and interior walls of the church building. I have continued the ministry of outreach to parishioners who are homebound and living in assisted-living and nursing homes, having a regular once-a-month Mass in each nursing and rehabilitation home in town and supported fundraising activities for the benefit of the community.
Carlo & Eric: What would be your parting words for St. Joseph’s parishioners?
Olvida: I would like to express my gratitude to all of you dear people of God. Thank you to all, especially, those who ushered me in and accepted me as I am and as your spiritual leader with your prayerful support, assistance and understanding. I want to leave my heartfelt thank you’s to my staff, parish pastoral and finance councils, coordinators, chairpersons, officers and members of different ministries, committees and organizations.
Thank you so much to all volunteer ministries and servers in our liturgical celebrations of the Mass and sacraments. Thank you to you, young people of God, the youth and the children who serve in the Altar of the Lord and in many different services in worship. Through our concerted efforts in working together in the vineyard of our Lord supported by our spirit and understanding, patience, humility and perseverance, we have all done well.
I would like to encourage each one of to continue actively engaging yourselves in the life and works of your church community, be it prayer or apostolate in service. In building up the Body of Christ as a worshipping community active in the saving mission of Christ realizing the Kingdom of God to be at hand will never come to an end. It is an ongoing process, for the one who shares his/her gifts of time talent and treasures and prayer for the works of the church is rewarded with a life full of peace, joy and the love of the Lord. I love you all. May God keep you and bless you with His abundance.
Reach St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 121 E. Maple St, at 683-6076. Mass times are 5 p.m. Saturdays and 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sundays.