I was inspired by the pilgrimage I made here in New York last weekend. Not to a church or a holy site, but to a secular shrine. Not even to the World Trade Center, the scene of the terrorist attacks 12 years ago and a site visited by millions each year.
It was to the Statue of Liberty, that towering bronze woman, a gift of France in the late 19th century, the symbol of what this country stands for. “I lift my lamp” says the verse on the plaque at the base of the statue. But what lamp is that? What does the torch that the robed woman holds aloft mean? Continue reading →
Nate and Trisha, Newlyweds
A week ago I had the honor of doing the wedding ceremony of a cousin (Nate) and his wife (Trisha) in a small New Jersey town near Paramus. Nate met his wife, whose parents were born in India, at Fordham University several years ago. Since then they have had very different careers–Nate is a lawyer, while Trisha is a CPA with a fine job with a good Manhattan firm–but love conquers all! For those who have never seen me wearing more than zoris, shorts, and a polo shirt, let me offer proof that life in New York calls for adaptation even from such as me. You can also see the newlyweds, by the way. Continue reading →
New York! The Big Apple! “The city that never sleeps,” as Sinatra sang. But I can’t say, along with Sinatra, that “it’s my kind of town.” Traffic noise and horns honking in place of church bells. Not very many hellos on the street here. Where have all the palm trees gone? For that matter, what have happened to all my friends? (Relax. They’re just half a world away.) Continue reading →
Joe Cavanagh–or Cav, as we knew him–would have thought of himself as just another of those grunts who worked well out of the limelight in a distant part of the world. He never founded a school, as his fellow Micronesian missionary Hugh Costigan did. His image was not projected onto the international screen, as were those of Hugh’s and some of his other predecessors like Jake Walter or Len Hacker or Bill Rively. His contributions were simply of the grass-roots sort that nourished the life of the people of Pohnpei, where he spent nearly all of his fifty years in the mission. He was a village pastor, who was once known for his informal liturgies in traditional meeting houses that he called the “missa banana” after the banana leaves on which he was seated. That is to say, when he wasn’t at the side of Bill McGarry training island deacons and catechists who would become the heart of the local Pohnpeian church. Or when he wasn’t giving retreats to any who needed his help. Or when he wasn’t working with people to resolve the marriage problems that kept them away from the sacraments, often for years. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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 Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
Tosiwo Nakayama…Tom Remengesau…Darlene Keju…Charlie Gibbons…Kimiuo Aisek. What do they share? Well, they are all islanders, for one thing. They are also subjects of biographies that will soon be coming out. There are books on the history of the islands (I’ve done a couple of those myself!), but now we have stories on the lives of islanders. Continue reading →