Remember these two men shown with me in the photo? The tall one is Fr. Jim Croghan, former director of Xavier who worked in Micronesia for many years up to 2010. In that year he returned to the US to work in Jesuit education in the New York area and hasn’t shown up in the islands until just the other day. He is with us for the summer in his new role as Assistant to the Provincial for the International Apostolate (what we used to call missions).
The other, younger fellow is Dickson Tiwelfil–-a young Jesuit from Woleai who is going to begin his regency teaching at Xavier this fall. He’s an old basketball buddy from his college days at COM-FSM on Pohnpei. He entered the Jesuits in 2011 and is about six years away from his ordination as a priest. We played basketball together in Buffalo, Syracuse, Washington, Guam and Saipan–-and we’re always looking for new courts to bond on.
We Jesuits working in Micronesia gathered on Saipan for ten days for a retreat and a planning meeting. Just like old times in some ways, except that the numbers were fewer–-14 this time compared to the 30-plus we might have had in the late 1990s. Our old friends, the Mercedarian Sisters, hosted us at their prayer house on Maturana Hill.
The week and a half together was wonderful for the spirit, we all agreed. The purpose of it all was to renew ourselves spiritually while strengthening the bonds of brotherhood among us, so that we might serve the people of these islands more generously. The bottom line, as always, is service to the church and the society of the islands we have all learned to call home.