The Caroline Islands: History of the Diocese.? The book was intended to celebrate the centennial of the Catholic Church in Chuuk, the 25th anniversary of the episcopal ordination of Bishop Amando, and the 125th anniversary of the founding of the church in the Carolines. The book is just what the title says it is?a history of the Catholic Church in the Carolines. The book contains many historical photos, some of them the same ones found in my old volume, The Catholic Church in Micronesia.? But this new book is much more elegantly produced: it?s in full color and it features a page or two on each of the parishes in the diocese. Read More
Victor Levine, an education consultant with lots of experience in the Pacific and beyond, has done a study of the Chuuk education system and published a long article for the East-West Center entitled ?Education in Pacific Island States.? Victor and I are planning to collaborate on a new project aimed at developing a set of objective indicators that can be used to track improvements in the education system in that part of the northern Pacific that we still call Micronesia. The point of it all is to Read More
That?s the question that I found myself trying to answer last week in Hawaii. The ?strange people? were, of course, Micronesians who have moved to Hawaii over the past years. They include 8,000 FSM citizens, another 3,000 or 4,000 Marshallese and hundreds of Palauans.
The East-West Center generously paid my way to Hawaii and set up a number of interviews, talks and radio and TV appearances during the week. Most of the events highlighted two recent publications of mine: Making Sense of Micronesia, the book published by University of Hawaii Press, and Micronesians on the Move: Eastward and Upward Bound, a monograph that EWC is releasing in a week or two. The first is on my struggle to understand island custom, and the other is on the migration of FSM people over the years. Read More
This is a shortened version of a talk I gave at Yap Homecoming Day on June 15. The theme of the event was the link that binds Yap and Palau.
Yap and Palau, at the extreme western end of Micronesia, have always had an air of mystery around them–at least to us Westerners.
For one thing, their languages are so different from the rest of Micronesia–Palau the Polish of Oceania with all its consonants, and Yap with its closest relative being a Guatemalan language, a linguist friend tells me. Read More
Fr. Diego Luis San Vitores, a Jesuit like the pope (and myself), has become something of a fascination here on Guam these days. His claim to fame is that he first brought the faith to the Marianas in the late 1600s. In fact, he was the first missionary to reach any of the Pacific islands. Nowadays little cards with a portrait of the man and a prayer for his canonization can be found everywhere on the island. There are relics on the altar that people venerate after mass, and even an old black habit that was said to have once belonged to him among the museum holdings. Read More
I’ve been back in Chuuk for the past week as part of an effort to push education reform there. Toward the end of the week, I found myself back at Xavier High School–the place where I was first introduced to the islands just 50 years ago. Xavier is also the new home for the MicSem library. So this trip was something of a sentimental journey for me.
But the flow of memories took some strange turns. Barely an hour after my arrival at Xavier, a man came up and introduced himself as Basilio, one of the workmen at the school. When I told him that I was once director of the school, he said that he remembered me at that time. I asked him how long he had been working at Xavier. ?Six years,? he said. ?Not far enough back,? I replied, ?I was director long before then, during the 1970s.? He smiled but insisted that he knew me long before he began working with the school. ?Don?t you remember?? he said. ?I was the guy you tackled and arrested when I was drunk one day.? Read More
I?hadn’t?seen a movie in months and had almost forgotten how films can be a tonic for the spirit. Earlier this week it was ?Gangster Squad,? set in Los Angeles in the late ?40s when gangs first threatened to steal the soul of the city. I suppose you could have put the underground police squad, fighting against big odds to undermine Mickey Cohen, the mob boss who wanted to own everything, on horses and given them cowboy hats. The Magnificent Seven (for those old enough to remember them) ride again. It was good against evil. ?Good? in this case was a team of war vets and other prickly individuals who decided that they?didn’t?want to see their city lost. Sometimes we need those white and black hats, if only to reassure ourselves that there are still causes worth losing life and family for.
But tonight?s movie, the musical ?Les Miserables,? was more than a pick-me-up.? For me it was the confirmation of a vocation. Read More
What are the major problems and opportunities in the development of small Pacific Island nations? What are the pathways for the future in Micronesia? What directions should governance take in the light of all this?
These were the questions posed in a televised three hour forum discussion held in Palau last week. Read More