Christmas greetings from the Bronx campus of Fordham University, where I have made my home for the past year. But my time here has always been with computer on and bags packed for forays to other places. Most of the trips have been to where the coconut tree grows and waves lap on warm shores. With five trips to Hawaii and beyond, as well as a recent spurt of trips to the islands for a total of ten weeks since September, my air travel was enough to win me platinum on United Airlines? mileage program?a status I never achieved in all my years living in Micronesia! Read More
Dr. Joe Flear?s visit to New York for a couple of days seemed to trigger a series of reunions. Joe (standing second from the left in the photo) worked in Yap for several years during the 1980s before he moved to Pohnpei to teach at the medical school there. Since 2000 he has been teaching and doing clinical instruction at the Fiji School of Medicine.The evening of his arrival, he joined a couple of us for dinner Read More
It?s home for the holidays for me?again for the third time in four years. But where is home? Where I was born and raised? Or where I spent two-thirds of my life? Or is home anywhere I happen to be assigned as a Jesuit? Read More
If you?re looking for the presence of a Micronesian religious community in the US, you?ll have to go to the Midwest to find it. But if you visit during December, be prepared for temperatures hovering around zero. When I woke up this morning, the thermometer registered five degrees, but everyone says it?s even colder at night. This place makes New York City seem like Miami Beach. Read More
After all those years in Micronesia, I fancied myself an old hand in Christmas devotions: incensing the manager scene in church, and especially presenting the infant to people after mass for them to venerate.? But never anywhere have I seen this as often as I have during the past week. In Pohnpei and Chuuk, we honored the old Spanish practice of presenting the image of the infant Jesus to those who attended the Christmas masses.? People would come up in long lines to kiss the infant after mass, leaving an offering in the basket nearby if they were so moved.? But this island has taken the veneration to a whole new level.? In one church Read More
Christmas greetings from Guam?”Where America?s Day Begins,” as they once called this island. Since my return to the Pacific in September I have been residing here, living in the rectory attached to the cathedral with three other priests, two diocesans and Fr. Tom McGrath, a fellow Jesuit. Besides doing masses and other pastoral work for the parish,?I’ve?been teaching a course at the local seminary on Pacific Church History. The greatest challenge for me so far has been getting up on time to say the 5:30 AM mass, something that requires a serious change in lifestyle for an old night owl like me. Read More
Christmas Eve here in Oceanside.? A half hour of confessions in the early afternoon-?a nothing assignment compared with the hours we used to spend in the box in Chuuk and the afternoons of penance services on Pohnpei.? Mass at 4 PM in a crowded church, with Christmas mass celebrated in two other locations at the same time.? Here as everywhere there are crowds who haven?t seen the inside of a church in months, but people who seem to cherish even these occasional ties with the parish.? The traditional Christmas hymns, a homily that tries to speak to our lives on the day after Christmas as much as on the day itself, and communions that seem to go on forever.
Right after mass a visit to the hospital here in town to see a woman with one leg amputated and another Read More
While I was in the gym working out the other day, I heard a voice coming from the other side of the alcove.? ?Hey, Tony, whatsamaddah wichya?? You can?t even do one push-up?? Dere?s a guy 93 yeahs old doin pushups.? Whatsamaddah wichya??
At that I stopped my 20 push-up routine and looked around the gym to see who this 93-year-old wonder might be.? I scanned the gym before I realized that there was no one doing push-ups but me.? (Gulp!)
The face of suburban poverty is becoming real here in Oceanside.? Read More