Category - General

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Happy 75th Birthday to Fran Hezel, SJ
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Oh Yeah! Now I Remember Why I Missed the Islands So Much!
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Reflections on Two Years Stateside
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Football as Religion
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Christmas Eve, 2011
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Christmas Preparations in Oceanside
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Christmas 2011
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Why Blog?

Happy 75th Birthday to Fran Hezel, SJ

As the youngest of Fran Hezel’s four brothers, I am taking the owed prerogative of commandeering Fran’s blogsite for this occasion.  Yes, he owes it to me, because all these years it’s he who has won all the attention.

Today, January 29, 2014, is Fran’s 75th birthday, and I want to capture for all of us and from all of us a sense of our deepest appreciation Read More

Oh Yeah! Now I Remember Why I Missed the Islands So Much!

Reflections of a recent returnee to Pohnpei:

  • Basketball games every afternoon, not just with guys my age but with speedy, sharp-shooting 20-somethings who won’t give away anything to a geezer.  If you are lucky enough to have one of them on your team, you might win a game or two.  But even without them, you’re playing with old friends.  Afterwards, the return home with shirt sweat-soaked and lips parched.  What a way to prepare for dinner!
  • Walking into a US Embassy reception at a local hotel and being able Read More

Reflections on Two Years Stateside

Let’s just call this blog posting an update.  Since my time here in the US is coming to an end, let me offer a few thoughts on what these past two years here have given me.  They’ve been very different years–last year at America Magazine and this one at a parish.  Each has played to one of the two facets of ministry that has been especially important to me in the past: speaking to public issues, and personal care for the needy. Read More

Football as Religion

Many times over football has been declared America’s religion.  Maybe it is.  When I was saying mass last Sunday, the day that the New York Giants was to play the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC spot in the SuperBowl, there were lots of heavy jackets bearing the Giants’ logo.  There were also plenty of remarks after the mass about where people expected to be when the game started at 6:30 that evening.  The two religions–the one I’m supposed to represent and the one symbolized by those jackets–were meshing very nicely that morning. Read More

Christmas Eve, 2011

Christmas Eve here in Oceanside.  A half hour of confessions in the early afternoon-–a nothing assignment compared with the hours we used to spend in the box in Chuuk and the afternoons of penance services on Pohnpei.  Mass at 4 PM in a crowded church, with Christmas mass celebrated in two other locations at the same time.  Here as everywhere there are crowds who haven’t seen the inside of a church in months, but people who seem to cherish even these occasional ties with the parish.  The traditional Christmas hymns, a homily that tries to speak to our lives on the day after Christmas as much as on the day itself, and communions that seem to go on forever.

Right after mass a visit to the hospital here in town to see a woman with one leg amputated and another Read More

Christmas Preparations in Oceanside

While I was in the gym working out the other day, I heard a voice coming from the other side of the alcove.  “Hey, Tony, whatsamaddah wichya?  You can’t even do one push-up?  Dere’s a guy 93 yeahs old doin pushups.  Whatsamaddah wichya?”

At that I stopped my 20 push-up routine and looked around the gym to see who this 93-year-old wonder might be.  I scanned the gym before I realized that there was no one doing push-ups but me.  (Gulp!)


The face of suburban poverty is becoming real here in Oceanside.  Read More

Christmas 2011

As you may know, I’ve been in New York for the past year–working for several months at our Jesuit weekly magazine, America, before moving to Long Island to begin a stint of pastoral work in our parish at Oceanside. The parishioners here are warm and welcoming–and so made my transition much easier. But they’re also transplants from Brooklyn and rather old. So we often chat about the old Brooklyn Dodgers and the traumatic day the decision was announced that the team would move to LA. You have to love the people here. The other day one of the parishioners brought me a pair of lined winter boots, thus capping off a large winter wardrobe provided over the past year by family and friends. Another man, a warm and gregarious Italian, looked me in the eye and told me not to worry. “You have a family here, Father,” he said. “You belong to us now.”

Still, you won’t be surprised to hear that every morning I wake up with thoughts of Micronesia, and it’s the last thing I think about before falling asleep. Read More

Why Blog?

Why blog?  To keep in touch with our friends out there, some might say.  But it could also be to while away lonely hours in front of their computer, they might admit.  Yet, there’s another class of bloggers: old-timers who feel the compulsion to share life’s lessons with others.  That’s where I fit in.  Years ago in Pacific Island Monthly there was a regular column by a retired minister who had served many years in Papua-New Guinea.  If anything had gone wrong there recently–and usually there was plenty–he took the liberty to point it out and suggest what could be done to correct it.  Joe Murphy, the former editor of what was once Guam’s only newspaper, might do the same thing in his own tongue-in-cheek fashion.  Both could be called bloggers before the invention of the term. I used to wonder how these people, both as white as I am, could get away with it.  Why didn’t they let local people solve their own problems? Read More

Copyright © 2015, WHERESFRAN.ORG, Francis X. Hezel, SJ.