Category - Transitions

1
Juan Ngiraibuuch: A Life Too Short
2
Bill Rakowicz, Famed Horror Movies Fan and Much More
3
Angken Rapun: Deacon and Friend
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Jack Curran: The Fading of an Old Trooper
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Farewell to Rosa Mormad
6
Farewell, Nico
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The Mischievous Kid from Eauripik
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Jojo Peter: A Tribute from a Former Teacher

Juan Ngiraibuuch: A Life Too Short

The photo of Juan that is unforgettable, at least for me, is the 1987 shot of him seated between his two fellow novices and their novice director, Fr. Felix Yaoch. in the rectory in Palau. They all have beaming smiles on their faces, as well they should. They were making history in an island group that had long been a mission served by other countries. Now Micronesia had its own Jesuit novitiate, its own Palauan novice master, and three island seminarians. It was a key event on the path toward the truly Micronesian church that we had all hoped for.

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Angken Rapun: Deacon and Friend

About 50 years ago–it must have been in the early 1970s–I first met Angken Rapun on Tol, the westernmost island in Chuuk. Angken was hard to miss. He was a rugged, good-looking young man who told me he had played football on Guam during his high school days. That was easy to believe, given his size. In 1968, not long after his return to Chuuk, he married Kintina. They had several children–most of them as well-built as their dad–and the couple would have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary next year if Angken had lived. 

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Jack Curran: The Fading of an Old Trooper

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” Douglas McArthur used this saying to describe himself after his removal from the Korean War in the 1950s, but it could just as easily apply to Jack Curran. Jack did die, on January 4 this year, but only after a long decade of fading away due to his Alzheimer’s. He may not have intended it to happen that way, but Jack certainly made good on his promise to surrender to the Lord his “mind and memory” along with life and liberty. Not only that, but he did it with his characteristic good grace. His caretakers at Murray-Weigel loved him, people there say.

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Farewell, Nico

Everyone used to call him Nico, but I preferred using first names. So I asked him one day why his parents had named him Adolfo. He smiled as he reminded me that Spain was involved in a violent civil war when he was born, and that the leader of one of the nations strongest in its support of the “Catholic side” of the war was a guy by the name of Adolf.

Nico, Adolfo, or whatever you want to call him, was the provincial of Japan about the same time I was superior in Micronesia. That was how we became friends. At the weekly semi-annual meetings of the superiors in the assistancy, I came to know and like him more and more during our time together.

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The Mischievous Kid from Eauripik

Attending Xavier High School in the early 1970s was John Hagileiram’s introduction to the wider world. For those of us who got to know this friendly young man with the mischievous twinkle in his eye, it was our only introduction to Eauripik–a tiny islet with a population of barely a hundred that made that rest of the Outer Islands of Yap look like downtown.

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Jojo Peter: A Tribute from a Former Teacher

We called him Joachim in those days. In 1980, as a freshman at Xavier High School, he was a new arrival from Ettal in the Mortlocks… young, playful but polite, everyone?s friend. Neither a standout student nor a trouble-maker, he was just an outer-island boy eager to make it at a school with a big reputation. Even then he was known for his ready smile and his warm personality.

Then, during the summer break after his freshman year, everything changed. While climbing the waterfalls at the Wichen River, he slipped off the ledge and broke his spinal cord. He was sent to Hawaii for treatment, and soon afterwards went into rehabilitation for the rest of the year. The doctors informed him that he would never walk again.

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