[dropcap type=”4″]S[/dropcap]ix years ago, Bernie Capulong thought he had it all. A stunningly successful businessman who owned five homes, he traveled the world, drove a Porsche and counted Donatello Versace and the Nordstrom heirs among his dining companions. Then came the crash of 2008. It was after he lost his job and almost everything else that God showed him life isn’t about money.[quote_box_right]
Parish: St. Thomas Aquinas, Avondale
Apostolates: healing and deliverance ministry; music leader; core team for charismatic prayer group; Extraordinary Minister; Catholic Renewal Ministries
Hometown: San Fernando, Philippines
“God actually took everything I thought was important, which was money, and brought me down to humility,” Capulong said.
Prior to 2008, he admits he was a nominal Catholic. When his family managed to show up at church, they were generally late.
“During the homily, I’d always whisper to my wife, ‘What are we eating for lunch?’ After we got Communion, we’d rush out and high-five each other because we beat the traffic. It was horrible,” Capulong said of his barely lukewarm days.
And then he was out of work for 18 months. After getting the kids off to school — his wife had to return to work after a 10-year hiatus — he was plagued by self-doubt.
“That’s when you feel the attacks of the enemy. That’s when he’s telling you how worthless you are,” Capulong said. He began sitting in church, talking to God.
“I said, ‘Lord, I am so embarrassed to come to You because when things were good, I never acknowledged You,’” Capulong said as he wiped away tears. “‘And now, I come to You at my worst time.’ I said ‘when — not if, but when — You get me out of this mess, I’ll never forget You and I’ll proclaim Your name.’”
And that’s exactly what Capulong has been doing ever since. He rediscovered his faith through the charismatic prayer group at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. God, he says, continually brings him men who are facing the same challenges he once encountered.
He spoke of a neighbor who’d lost his job and home and was renting the house across the street from him. Capulong, a daily Mass, daily rosary guy, would see the man picking up his newspaper at the curb each day as he backed out of the driveway to go to church.
“Every day I would pull up beside him, roll down my window and say, ‘You know where I’m going — you can come with me.’ And every day he’d say, ‘No, I don’t do that. My wife does that.’”
After about a year, the man’s wife was ready to leave him. Capulong asked if he could speak with him first. After he and a friend shared what God had done in their lives, the man broke down in tears and agreed to be prayed over. Today, he’s an active member of the prayer group at St. Thomas Aquinas.
Before he rediscovered his faith, Capulong said he and his wife were on the verge of divorce and that they argued a lot about money. A renewed faith in God and practicing Natural Family Planning has brought them closer and healed their marriage. Capulong’s passion for telling others about Christ continues to grow. Men who have fallen from the heights of material success and are now down on their luck seem to keep finding him.
“They are lost — they don’t know what to do,” Capulong said. “God teaches me to guide them to Christ. It’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit — He just brings them to me.”