When I say “white”, I don’t mean caucasion. I mean people that aren’t a rawhide, wrinkly leather brown, nor bright red (because an excruciating and dangerous sunburn is a great way to get a headstart on getting “colour”). I went to Mass this morning, and everyone was just so normal. And pretty much everybody (except of course for Asians and native Hawaiians), and some of them were locals, were varying shades of pink and white. Like me. Now, you all know that I’m big on science and being scientific about things, and since there were hundreds of people there, filling all the white chairs outside, for four masses, I think it can be said to be statistically proven that church goers aren’t idiots.

They were selling leis to raise money for World Youth Day:


I saw the stands as I got in line to go in (I got there at 8, just as the 7am mass was filing out, and boo-yah, I got a seat indoors (it’s smarts like these that keep me pink and not scarlet)), and thought “Oh look, they’re taking advantage of all the tourists who can’t skip Easter Mass even though they’re on holiday”, but they were kids raising money to go to World Youth Day. Evidently they lack my cynicism.

I think I’ve sussed out the true Right of Passage for a young man, and I think a social anthropologist needs to pinpoint exactly where in a man’s life this happens, that is: The time in which a boy goes from wearing logo-and-slogan tee-shirts to mass, and starts wearing golf club casual.

This, truly, is a church after my own heart. Many a time I’ve reached in desperation for the bulletin of our church at home, looking for something to read with my breakfast or whatnot, but always toss it aside because it’s useless. This one? Filled with funfacts. And not cereal box funfacts written by idiots for people who don’t care, but good ones. For instance:

Treasures From Our Tradition

Easter is a full two weeks earlier this year than last. Why does the date wobble around the calendar so? The way of calculating the date was set by the Emperor Constantine in 325. The decision ended a very bitter controversy in the church. Some people wanted to synchronize the Pasch with Passover on the fourteenth day of the Jewish month Nissan, and their opponents wanted it after the Passover was complete, on the Sunday after the first full moon of springtime. The ecclesiastical rules do not exactly connect with the astronomical rules. The emperor squashed the hopes of the quartodecimans, as the fans of 14 Nissan were called, and chose Sunday. The traditional rule is that Easter is the first Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or after the vernal equinox, the fourteenth day of the new moon, and later than March 21. Thus, Easter wobbles between March 22 and April 25.

The actual tables and methods for computing the date are extraordinarily detailed, with subtle variations and mind-beinding exceptions and charts with “golden numbers,” “dominical letters,” and “epacts” measuring leap years.

And it goes on like that!

And man, no church, not even I think St Peter’s, knows how to do a crowd like Maria Lanakila Church.

(That’s what it’s called: Maria Lanakila Catholic Church, or Our Lady of Victory Church. “Cradle of the Catholic Faith on Maui… Royal Capital of Lahaina, Maui, 1846″. Cute, huh?)

(Oh, and the Bishop? I’m used to hearing “John Paul our Pope and Pierre our Bishop” or lately “Benedict our Pope, Patrick our Bishop, and Pierre our something Bishop” (dowager? no.), but today it was “Benedict our Pope and Larry our Bishop”. Larry! The Bishop of the diocese of Honolulu is called Larry!)

(And the priest is still the same guy who once tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to bring up the gifts at the last minute because someone wasn’t there back when I used to come here with Grandpa.)