JESSE Manibusan’s favourite Father’s Day gift is not only his trademark outfit but is also a gentle reminder to remain joyful despite his bout with depression.
The United States lay Catholic musician and popular comic evangelist who wrote worship favourite Open My Eyes said he received his first smiley-face T-shirt from his children more than 20 years ago.
“My daughters are all grown and out of the house, and my son, but when they were little they brought me my first smiley-faced shirt because I suffer from depression,” Mr Manibusan said.
“One side of depression is anger, irritability, so for Father’s Day they bought me a yellow smiley-faced shirt, with the declaration, as they gave me the gift, saying they got this because of my anger issue.
“It got my attention.”
Joy is “one of the core elements” of the Californian musician’s message to students and young people and the reason he dons his smiley-face T-shirt regularly.
“It’s a reminder of joy, that joy is not the absence of happiness or depression,” Mr Manibusan said.
“I think joy is knowing that you’re loved, and there are gifts to be shared.
“You know that joy is the lifeblood of our faith.”
His love for sharing musical gifts took Mr Manibusan 36 hours from his hometown in San Francisco for his visit to Villanova College, Coorparoo, and first visits to students at San Sisto College, Carina, for Catholic Education Week.
Jamming with 30 students on Monday, July 27, Mr Manibusan was excited to tell his mum that he finally started a band.
Mr Manibusan met Villanova College chaplain Augustinian Father Peter Wieneke through a youth leader months before the 2008 Sydney World Youth Day and asked the US musician to share his evangelical comedy with Brisbane students.
Mr Manibusan has served the Church as an international catechist and musician for 30 years but the 56-year-old had initially dreamt of being a member of The Beatles.
“I saw that Ed Sullivan clip when the boys came to the States for the first time and thought, ‘Man, I’d love to be able to play music and make people do that’,” he said.
“Our parents even cut our hair like the lads from Liverpool.
“We were just really trying to imitate them.
“We had no idea Mum had ulterior motives for letting us play guitar because two years later we were playing at Mass.”
After playing at Mass, they got their big break playing at a nursing home and then a juvenile detention centre, but all three occasions taught Mr Manibusan the power of music.
He said he and his eight siblings “were hooked” on Mass because of their love for music.
“To this day all of us are still plugged in, doing something ministerially, mostly volunteer,” he said.
Mr Manibusan said performing gigs in bars was no comparison to leading worship at Mass.
“When I was 21 – I was 17, 18 when I was already playing in bars, concert halls – I learnt very early on that I didn’t want to do that,” he said.
“There was something going on at Mass that was really rewarding, something fulfilling, that you could feel like you were really being helpful.
“I’ve always felt drawn to that sense of giving
“I still have a cousin who played with me in those clubs, and still to this day plays in those clubs, but he loves it when I invite him to play with me and the things that I do.”
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.