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Priest was first Filipino ordained in Honolulu

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Father Henry Benedict Sabog, the first priest of Filipino ancestry to be ordained by the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, died May 22 in Waipahu. He was 86.

Sabot served for 57 years as associate pastor or pastor at seven Oahu parishes and was involved in Filipino ministries, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, parish renewal and other diocesan work, a news release said.

Maryknoll Sister Rosalinda Barrozo said in the release that Sabog started the Office for Filipino Ministries in 1985, the local diocese’s first centralized ethnic ministry. It led to the introduction of priests from the Philippines to work in Hawaii, where about 50 priests of Filipino ancestry now work, the highest of any other ethnic group. Sabog also was spiritual director for many years of the statewide Diocesan Congress of Filipino Catholic Clubs.

Sabog was born March 8, 1931, in Waipahu, one of 10 children of Regino Sabog and Esperanza Nicolas Sabog. His parents emigrated from Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Philippines, in 1923 to work in the sugar cane fields of Oahu Sugar Co.

Sabog was ordained a priest in 1960. He served as an associate pastor at St. Theresa Parish and the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu; Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Pearl City; and St. John Vianney Parish, Kailua.

He became a pastor in 1970 at Our Lady of the Mount, Kalihi Valley, followed by St. Anthony Parish in Kalihi in 1986. His final assignment was at St. George Church, Waimanalo, until the late 1990s when he retired.

Bishop Larry Silva will celebrate his funeral Mass at 10 a.m. June 21 at the Co-cathedral of St. Theresa, 712 N. School St.

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