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Waimea man marks 70 years as altar server

KEKAHA — Westside faithful are celebrating Waimea man Martin Costales, who achieves 70 years as an altar server this month.

Costales, who volunteers in St. Theresa Parish in Kekaha, started serving in March 1952 as a sixth-grade student at St. Theresa School.

“There was a family that lived in back of the church in Waimea (Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary),” he said in a recent interview. “I asked them if I could serve my grandfather’s funeral … and ever since that time, bingo.”

Costales says his stint as an altar-server was interrupted for about 10 years, three of which were spent in the U.S. Army. But he returned to the Catholic parish sometime in the 1970s, and has been there ever since.

More than 37 priests have served at St. Theresa Parish after 1952, according to rolls provided by Costales.

Costales is described as a man quietly dedicated to his community.

“He’s willing to serve the Lord and to serve the people entrusted to his care,” said the Rev. Danilo “Danny” Galang of Holy Cross Church in Kalaheo, formerly pastor of St. Theresa Parish. “He’s willing, also, to empower a lot of people, especially the young ones.”

Costales teaches St. Theresa School students how to perform altar service every Wednesday. It’s his favorite aspect of the altar-server’s role.

The Rev. Edwin Conselva, St. Theresa’s current pastor, joined Galang in expressing appreciation for Costales.

“He opens up for church every day. He’s been to every Mass and most every funeral and baptism — and he teaches our baptismal classes,” Conselva said.

Costales, who is also a sacristan and Eucharistic minister, once helped recruit a group of nine adult altar-servers to the parish. However, the program ended after three years.

When asked why, Costales chuckled.

“People were getting old … that wasn’t me,” he said.

The priests Costales assists aren’t alone in recognizing his importance to the parish.

Worship Committee Chairperson Chantal Duarte issued a release to The Garden Island and Hawai‘i Catholic Herald, the Honolulu diocese’s weekly newspaper, noting the altar-server’s accomplishments.

“We are so blessed to have Martin serving in the capacity that he does, and thank God for this good and faithful servant,” Duarte wrote. “God bless you, Martin, and happy 70th anniversary!”

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Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or syunker@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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