Category - Transitions

1
Wounded Hearts on a Journey with Fr. Bill McGarry
2
Remembering My Playmate, Fr. Wayne Tkel, SJ
3
The Passing of Fr. William McGarry, Architect of the New Micronesian Mission
4
Sr. Dorothy Nook: Incessant Critic and Best of Friends
5
We Can Call Him Bishop Julio Now
6
A New Year’s Prayer: “Let That Little Light Shine”
7
Farewell to the Ageless Fr. Ron Sams
8
Peace on Earth? Not the Other Night at Hemlani

Wounded Hearts on a Journey with Fr. Bill McGarry

The following reflection on Fr. Bill McGarry’s funeral was written by Patty Clemente, a longtime friend and counselee.

Some years back, Fr. Bill gave me a small book entitled “Hearts on Fire,” which contains prayers of Jesuits. In the introduction of this book, it is suggested that the prayers be used “when your own words fail you.”  Since my own words fail me, I am borrowing the prayers of others to describe the highlights of yesterday’s journey with Fr. Bill.

We started the journey with the prayer found in the Spiritual Exercises #233: “In omnibus amare et servire Dominum” (“In all things, love and serve the Lord”).  At the start of his homily, Fr. Thomas O’Gorman bared us his wounded heart by praying, “Bill, help me through this.”  He then went on to console us by explaining the prayer that is also “goodbye.”

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Remembering My Playmate, Fr. Wayne Tkel, SJ

Patty Clemente, a classmate of Wayne’s at the Ateneo de Manila, offers this tribute to Wayne, who died just a few days ago. Patty, born in Baguio, is a practicing lawyer and has two children. -Fran Hezel

One of the happiest times in my life was spent in the company of my dear friend, Fr. Wayne Tkel, SJ.  We were fortunate to be under the care of our “den mother,” Fr. Bill McGarry, while we were students at the Ateneo.

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The Passing of Fr. William McGarry, Architect of the New Micronesian Mission

Finally, on December 29, we received the news that we long anticipated but dreaded: Fr. Bill McGarry died at the age of 90 in the Jesuit infirmary in Manila. The man who more than anyone else had shaped the course of the modern Jesuit mission in Micronesia had left us. The uncrowned (and unmitred) head of our Jesuit band of brothers had passed away.

Bill was born and raised in Brooklyn, but he attended Xavier High School (the Manhattan version, of course) along with just about every other Jesuit who served on Pohnpei–Hugh Costigan, Joe Cavanagh, Jack Curran and Dick Becker for starters.

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Sr. Dorothy Nook: Incessant Critic and Best of Friends

It was sometime the late 1980s, as I remember. Sr. Dorothy and I were driving to some hotel or other on Saipan for the dress-up dinner that was to end a Micronesian library conference. We both heard a pop as our car suddenly began to swerve. It was a flat tire, we saw when we came to a stop. I looked at Dorothy, but she began a long monologue about how she knew nothing about changing car tires. So there was nothing I could do but crawl under the car to position the jack, start loosening the bolts, and find the spare tire. And hope that my good trousers and pressed shirt didn’t look too much the worse for wear when we finally got to the dinner. All the while, Dorothy was chirping away–wishing that we had left a little earlier in case of such emergencies, suggesting that we should have taken the middle road rather than the beach road, complaining about the condition of the highways, reminding me how late we were going to be for the dinner.

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A New Year’s Prayer: “Let That Little Light Shine”

The other night when I was invited to lead prayers at a Chuukese wake, I thought I knew what to expect. First of all, the viewing was not for a single person, but for two young men–first cousins, as it happens, who died violent deaths. The two youths, one of them just 18 and the other in his early 20s, died of gunshot wounds to the head, after another young man, who was hit in the face with a slingshot, caught up with them and killed them both. Who started the trouble? The shooter said that one of the Chuukese did. Who knows? Maybe the court will clarify all this in the course of time. But that evening my job was not to determine responsibility for the crime; it was to comfort the families of these two young men.

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Farewell to the Ageless Fr. Ron Sams

Against all expectations, Ron Sams departed from us for a better life on June 27. Most of us thought of the man as timeless, one untouched by aging. I suppose in later years his hair greyed and thinned a bit, but when you looked at the man you wondered if he would ever grow old. Ron’s spirit seemed just as impervious to old age as his body. His enthusiasm even in his 80’s reminded you of the quality that endeared him to so many in his younger days. Ron Sams was a boy scout in the best sense of that term–one of three Eagle Scouts working in Micronesia in the 1980s, with Dan Mulhauser and Tom Smith being the two others.

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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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