People sometimes think that religious things come easy to those of us who are priests and sisters. But the truth is that we have to learn how to pray. People may think that prayer, which can be so boring and dry for them, is a garden of delights for the “pros”–those whose name is prefixed by the title Father or Sister. But even those of us who have been trying to pray for many years would never claim this.
At a Christmas party thrown by the archdiocese on December 30, I was surprised when a number of people approached me holding copies of a booklet that had just been published and asked for my signature. It seems that the pastors and the heads of schools had received wrapped copies of the book at the party. For me the luncheon quickly turned into a book signing event.
Giff Johnson’s latest work is a call to serious planning and more. The author summons leaders to recognize that life has changed in the Marshalls and the status quo is the road to disaster. There was a time when this might not have been true–when people who wanted to kick back and live a simple island life could quietly opt out of school and retire to the family land to provide for themselves as their ancestors had done for generations in an island society that offered the resources, physical and social, to support its population.
The island team was in Washington the week of January 13th to do a presentation at the Department of Interior on the performance of the Micronesian economies over the past ten years (2003-2013). This marks the half-way point of the new Compact funding period, so it was a chance to find out how well the island nations are doing. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
Pardon the self-promotion, but University of Hawai’i Press has just announced that my new book has just hit the streets. Don’t expect to see it on the New York Times best-seller list anytime soon. The title, Making Sense of Micronesia, is precisely what the book tries to do. As the blurb puts it:
Why are islanders so lavishly generous with food and material possessions but so guarded with information? Why do these people, unfailingly polite for the most part, laugh openly when others embarrass themselves? What does a smile mean to an islander? What might a sudden lapse into silence signify? These questions are common in encounters with an unfamiliar Pacific Island culture. Making Sense of Micronesia is intended for westerners who find themselves in contact with Micronesians—as teachers, social workers, health‑care providers, or simply as friends—and are puzzled by their island ways. Read More