Cultural Insights - The Palaka Shirt

The palaka shirt is the one I am wearing on the far left
The palaka shirt, with its distinctive checkered pattern, has a rich history deeply intertwined with Hawaii's cultural and social fabric. Originating from the time of King Kamehameha the Great, the palaka pattern found its way to Hawaii in the late 1900s when Americans imported checkered-patterned cloth from England for field worker uniforms. Initially a design for English sailors, it was affordable due to its plainness. The Hawaiians and Issei (first-generation Japanese immigrants) named this pattern after the Hawaiian word for 'frock', which was a mistranslation for "checkered". This pattern became synonymous with the working class, especially during the plantation years between 1885 and 1941. Zempan Arakawa, recognizing the need for affordable clothing for workers, began producing long-sleeve work shirts, making palaka a staple in every Hawaiian's wardrobe. By the 1930s, palaka shirts were worn for various occasions, from school to parties, symbolizing its widespread acceptance and significance in Hawaiian society.

However, as time progressed, the palaka's dominance began to wane, especially during the Silver Screen years between 1945 and 1960. While palaka had its moments of popularity among tourists, it was the vibrant and colorful aloha shirt that began to captivate both locals and visitors. The aloha shirt's appeal was further amplified by Hollywood's portrayal of Hawaii, with movies promoting the "go Hawaiian" theme. The palaka, once the emblematic shirt of Hawaii, started to be overshadowed by the allure of the aloha shirt, which was seen as fresher and more comfortable due to its rayon fabric. Despite this, the palaka remained a symbol of local identity, especially during the 1960s to 1980s, when it became a sartorial emblem in local politics.

In recent years, the palaka's popularity has diminished, particularly with the closure of iconic palaka producers like Arakawa's in 1995. The decline in the quality and availability of the fabric, coupled with changing fashion trends, has made the palaka less prevalent. However, its significance in Hawaiian history cannot be understated. As Zempan Arakawa aptly put it, "palaka is more Hawaiian than the Hawaiian shirt." Today, while the palaka might not be as ubiquitous as it once was, its legacy as a symbol of Hawaii's unique culture and identity remains indelible. It stands as a testament to Hawaii's rich history, representing the islands' spirit of unity, resilience, and aloha. 

The Early Church On The Real Presence: EPIC Ministry Faith Sharing (6/12/23)


    Transubstantiation, a term coined during medieval scholasticism, refers to the belief that the substance of the bread and wine in the Eucharist changes into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, while the tangible aspects remain unchanged. This concept, also known as the doctrine of the real presence, was present in the Church from the beginning, as seen in the teachings of Jesus in John chapter 6 and the earliest Church Fathers. Although the term "transubstantiation" is not used in the Eastern Orthodox Church, they share the same belief, expressing it in their own terms. The doctrine is not a development in the Church; rather, the term itself took time to develop to explain the concept. 

    The Catholic Church uses Aristotle's philosophy in its doctrine of transubstantiation, the belief that during the Eucharist, the substance (the concrete entity) of the bread and wine change into the Body and Blood of Christ, while the accidents or appearances (akin to Aristotle's "essence") remain as bread and wine. This means that what is fundamentally the bread and wine (substance) transforms into the Body and Blood, despite retaining their original physical characteristics or essence (like taste, texture, and color). This application of Aristotle's ideas allowed for a philosophical explanation of a key theological mystery within the Catholic faith.

In this lecture we will cover the many sources of from the early church that give witness to belief in the Real Presence and will also layout a course of self-study for those that would like to study the Eucharist more in depth

Lecture Google Doc Resource - CLICK HERE

Audio Recording - CLICK HERE 

The 'AwaCast - Theology & Culture

Introducing the ʻAwacast! I will be using the Swellcast platform to upload weekly 3 - 5 minute short podcasts to share some Catholic thought, insights into the Hawaiian culture, and thoughts on my other avocations. Take a seat around the kanoa and let's inu a few apu while we share mo'olelo and engage in enriching conversations.

Ka Manuale Kakolilka - 1896 Hawaiian Roman Missal

I feel privileged to have come across a rare gem, a pdf of the 1896 "Ka Manuale Kakolilka," a Roman Missal created specifically for nā Kanaka 'Ōiwi and other speakers of ʻŌlelo Hawaii during that time. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the Catholic worship practices of the Hawaiian people in 1896, and is a treasure trove of Hawaiian translations of important Catholic prayers, including the Our Father, Hail Mary, the Creed, the Act of Contrition, and many other prayers.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share some of these specific prayers for anyone interested in learning more. I will start with "Pule Ala" (Prayer upon waking) and "Pule Hiamoe" (Prayer before sleeping), I hope these translations will provide insight into the rich cultural and spiritual Catholic heritage of Hawaii's people.

Pule Ala

"E kuu Akua, aia no au imua o kou alo, ke haawi aku nei au ia oe i koʻu naau a pau. E malama mai oe iaʻu keia la, o lilo aku au i ka diabolo"

(My God, here I am before you, giving you all of my heart. Please take care of me today, so I don't become a devil)

Pule Hiamoe

"E kuu Akua, e hoomakai mai oe i koʻu hiamoe ana keia po. E hoopakele mai oe iaʻu i na hoowalewale ma o ka diabolo a me ka poe hewa"

(My God, please bless my sleep tonight. Deliver me from the snares of the devil and wicked people.)

ACCE 2023 - The Holy Eucharist "Behold, I make all things new" (Resources from presentation)

Resources shared during the presentation

• Diocesan Resource Page -
• -
• Aleteia -
• Magis Center -
• Franciscan University Institute -
• Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement -
• Knights of Columbus -
• Hallow -