Father Victor Olvida comes to St. Joseph's

Starting over is a constant theme throughout the Bible.

For Father Victor Olvida, it has happened six times since moving to America.

Olvida, the new priest for St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, started on July 1.

He succeeded Father Henry Mulindwa, who was reassigned to St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Port Orchard and Belfair's Prince of Peace Church.

Born in the Philippines, Olvida knew at a young age that he was destined to serve God.

"In the third year of high school is when God called on me," he said.

Olvida entered seminary in the Philippines for four years and then received five years of theology schooling at the Regional Major Seminary of Mindanao in Davao City, Philippines.

He was ordained on Dec. 1, 1982, and then served eight years at the Mati Diocese in the Philippines.

Olvida came to serve in Seattle's archdioceses in June 1991.

His first American assignment was at St. Anthony Parish in Renton, followed by South Seattle, Skagit Valley, Long Beach and Enumclaw. He was an associate or parochial pastor until he served in the Long Beach area. From 1998-2005, he served there as lead pastor and concurrently in Raymond.

Before coming to Sequim, he served four years at Sacred Heart Church of Enumclaw.

Familiar territory

Olvida isn't a stranger to Sequim.

He first visited the area in 1996 when a Filipino family asked him to bless their home. Later in the year, he went on a scenic drive around the Olympic Peninsula with family members.

Olvida is the only one of his seven siblings living in the United States, although his mother's sister lives in North Seattle. The last time he visited his siblings was in 2005. He plans to return to the Philippines in 2011 for his 36-year high school reunion.

But for now, he is happy with how things are progressing in Sequim.

"People are very friendly," Olvida said.

"They have welcomed me and seem happy here."

Being here just more than a month, Olvida said he still is in the process of getting to know people.

"I want to see what keeps them practicing their spiritual life, so I can affirm and recognize the strengths," Olvida said.

"I want to know their life and the church's part in the community."

He called it "symbiotic learning" because he wants to learn much from the church and community, too.

Olvida worked with ecumenical groups in his former parishes. He said they planned and worked together to help poor people and he would be interested in continuing ecumenical work in Sequim.

"I'd be interested to join them if they invite me," Olvida said.

Those interested in meeting Olvida in a social and question-and-answer session can sign up in the church foyer for scheduled meetings or call 683-6076.

Reach mnash@sequim

Where and when

Mass is celebrated at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, 121 E. Maple St., Sequim, at 5 p.m. Saturdays and at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sundays.

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