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.Read More
What happens when a society reaches its peak? When the age of discovery—not just of far-off lands but of life-changing inventions—ends? This is the subject of Ross Douthat’s recent book The Decadent Society.
“Where are you, Thomas Edison?” the author implores, sadly noting the drop in meaningful patents in the last couple of decades and the failure to produce life-altering changes like the electric refrigerator, the vacuum cleaner, the horseless carriage, the jet plane, the atomic bomb, and even the moon shot. But the last on this list, the moon landing, took place in 1969. What do we have to show for ourselves since then?Read More
I knew there was something special about 2021, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, just the other day, it came to me. This year–in fact, this month–marks one century of Jesuit work in Micronesia.Read More
“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.Read More
You’ve heard enough about COVID and political warfare, one as toxic as the other and both of them shrouding much of the past year. I won’t mention them again. Instead, what if I just repeat a line that I often use at the close of these Christmas letters when I wish you… peace and a heart open to all.
That’s not just a pious wish. It’s a passionate pursuit of mine and a lifetime goal in my ministry from the very start—and that, my friends, is a long time ago! Please permit me to track a few of the big steps along the way.Read More
She was one of the pioneers of the “new Xavier” in the early 70s when she arrived from the Philippines. Since the school’s founding 20 years earlier, nearly all on the staff had been Jesuits. Upon Rosa’s arrival in 1972, she was still one of a very small number of staff who didn’t have “SJ” at the end of their names.Read More
Bear with me, folks, but we have to go back to the 60s, when the big movement for freedom, at least in its recent incarnation, began. When those hippies, with their long hair and their outlandish dress, flourished. You might not have witnessed it yourself, but you must have seen it on the screen. Shots from the Woodstock Music Festival in 1968. Or in “Forrest Gump” during flashbacks on the life Jenny, Forrest’s girlfriend, lived when she left him.Read More
Once upon a time all the Sunday services were filled—or at least so we imagine. Where did all those former worshipers go?
Let’s go back to the 1960’s when the drop-off in church attendance began. The ‘60s was a time of social revolution when people protested on all kinds of issues: Black rights, the Vietnam War, and free speech. By the end of that decade, however, the clamor was for the freedom of the individual person from social conventions and anything else that might confine it. “Give me the freedom I deserve to become whatever I wish. Let me be me!”Read More