Category - Transitions

1
Peace on Earth? Not the Other Night at Hemlani
2
Dan Berrigan, Prophet of Peace… and More
3
Taka Alphons: A Heart That Keeps Beating
4
Paul Horgan: A Man of Quiet Dedication, A Friend of All
5
Two Fresh Faces
6
Back to the Big Apple
7
The Passing of a Grunt: Fr. Joe Cavanagh

Peace on Earth? Not the Other Night at Hemlani

A couple of nights ago I attended a wake for a Pohnpeian youth who had been stabbed to death two days earlier. It happened in a drunken fight here on Guam outside the Hemlani Apartments–a low-end unit situated right next to what looks like might be the island dump. The Hemlani Apartments have made the front page of the local newspaper quite a few times over the past year, usually because of some minor crime or drunken brawl.

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Taka Alphons: A Heart That Keeps Beating

Less than a month ago, on January 18, we gathered in a church in Kaneohe, Hawaii, to be with Taka Alphons and Pat Billington as they solemnized their marriage after 30 years of life together. It was clearly a touching moment for them, with joy radiating from their faces, and for all of their friends who were there to cheer them on. We already knew that Taka and Pat would leave Hawaii two days later for California where Taka was scheduled to have a heart transplant.

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Paul Horgan: A Man of Quiet Dedication, A Friend of All

Paul spent much of his adult life in Yap doing parish ministry, but with so little fanfare that many Yapese wouldn’t have been able to tell you much more about him other than that he was a priest. He was quiet, something of a church mouse, unless he was riled. But if you made friends with him, you had a friend for life. For most of his life he smoked a pipe. Sometimes the only way you could tell he was around was the curl of pipe smoke from his room.

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Back to the Big Apple

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.) Read More

The Passing of a Grunt: Fr. Joe Cavanagh

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. Read More

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