The official blog of Rev. Francis X. Hezel, SJ

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Too Late for the Party?
2
Typhoon Mawar Up-Close
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RIP: Dan Mulhauser, Seminary Director and Universal Pastor
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Elsa’s Funeral at Mindinao
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The Passing of Elsa Veloso, Godmother of One and All
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To Palau and Back to Welcome the Bishop
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Send In the Clowns
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Christmas, 2022

Too Late for the Party?

Many years ago I was invited to a party at the home of an acquaintance who lived out a ways on the southern shore of Long Island. It wasn’t just another party, but something special in a home that was more than just a house. Let’s call it a mansion. The locale was not just any old suburban town, but it was like one of the Hamptons—a plush community that could have been the setting for “The Great Gatsby.”  I didn’t know the hosts too well, but I was looking forward to the party for other reasons, as you might suspect.

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RIP: Dan Mulhauser, Seminary Director and Universal Pastor

Dan and I first met in 1955 at Canisius High School where I was a senior and he a newly assigned Jesuit scholastic starting his teaching stint before ordination. We were surprised to find out that he was a veteran—who had lost one of his lungs in service, for that matter. None of us ever imagined Dan in military uniform. To us he was an unimposing, kindly figure who seemed temperamentally well-suited to be moderator of the poster club and the prefect of the school’s book store. We liked his friendly smile and wished him well, but no one regarded him as a contender for the faculty Wall of Fame. Dan just wasn’t the kind of heroic figure that we Crusaders took to heart as our champions.

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Elsa’s Funeral at Mindinao

On April 12, very early in the morning, I left Guam to attend the funeral of of Elsa Veloso, the “co-founder of MicSem” and a dear friend over the thirty years of her work with us. After seven hours at the airport in Manila, I caught a flight to Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao. There I was met by my old friends Danny and Arlene Dumantay, along with Elsa’s niece Melba. It was dinner time and we all had so much catching up to do that we decided to spend the night in the city and make the three-hour drive to Kinoguitan, Elsa’s hometown, the next day.

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The Passing of Elsa Veloso, Godmother of One and All

She arrived at Micronesian Seminar in 1977 while in her mid-thirties—a country girl from Mindanao who had spent the last several years as a classroom teacher. Elsa had never traveled abroad before. She was demure, even shy—a “church-mouse” is what some of us called her. By the end of her 30 years at MicSem, however, no one would have described her as that any longer.

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To Palau and Back to Welcome the Bishop

During the last full week of February (20-24), Palau held a national health summit attended by guests from throughout the region and beyond. Jimmy Arriola from Saipan and I were among those asked to speak at the summit. Jimmy talked about various behavioral issues, while I spoke on suicide and social change. It’s an old theme, but still relevant to Palau these days as its suicide rate continues to climb. But that was not the only problem troubling Palau, as I learned from the old friends I ran into. Many pointed to the population decline in recent years: more locals leaving for the US and Filipino workers having a difficult time re-entering after the Covid years. Then, too, the number of deaths now surpasses the number of births each year, we were told.

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Send In the Clowns

That’s the title of a haunting melody from Stephen Sondheim’s 1973 musical “A Little Night Music.”  It was a big song in its day, with some 500 versions including those by Judy Collins, Frank Sinatra, and Barbra Streisand. It’s the sardonic reflection of a woman who realizes that she and her boyfriend will never find a happy life together.

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