After tending to the spiritual needs of Chaminade University students for the past five years, Bro. Brandon Alana, SM, is becoming a student himself. He’s departing Hawaii and his pastoral campus minister assignment to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Dayton, one of Chaminade’s sister schools.
“I’m going to miss how we do Family Spirit on our campus with that aloha flare,” says Bro. Alana, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies at Chaminade in 2004. He’ll also miss the culture, food and familiarity of Hawaii, where he lived until age 11 before moving to American Samoa with his family.
Looking back at his Chaminade tenure, one of Bro. Alana’s fondest memories occurred in 2012, shortly after becoming campus minister at his alma mater.
Mother Marianne Cope, who treated Hansen’s Disease sufferers on Molokai during the late 1800s, was being canonized by Pope Benedict XVI. To mark the momentous occasion, Bro. Alana organized a prayer service of thanksgiving that honored Saint Marianne’s devotion to the infirmed.
“This eventually became the Blessing of Health Care Professionals – the Blessing of Hands – we have today,” Bro. Alana says.
Looking further back to his Chaminade undergraduate days, Bro. Alana says his commitment to the Catholic Church was greatly strengthened by serving as an intern at Campus Ministry and later as a retreat minister.
“In a sense, it really was in college that I took ownership of my faith,” Bro. Alana recalls. “I became involved in Campus Ministry because they helped me in my effort to be more mature in my faith.”
Directing Campus Ministry at that time was a Marianist Brother who hosted prayer meetings in his Hale Pohaku apartment. These gatherings had a “deep impact” on Bro. Alana.
“Up until this point, my faith life was simply a private matter that wasn’t necessarily shared,” Bro. Alana says. “The prayer community encouraged us to share our faith with each other.”
Upon graduating from Chaminade, Bro. Alana joined the Marianist Brothers and volunteered at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. He later worked in the rector’s office at the University of Dayton before being named minister for spiritual development at St. Mary’s.
Two years later he found his way back to Chaminade as campus minister for the Silverswords.
Looking to the future, Bro. Alana doesn’t know where his spiritual journey will lead him after earning his master’s in pastoral ministry at the University of Dayton. What is certain, however, is his continued dedication to the Society of Mary.
“Of course, returning to Hawaii would be awesome,” he says. “But I remain open to wherever God sends me.”