Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Recently canonized St Pope John Paul II has a special connection not only with Guam, but also with the Capuchins Friars on Guam, when he came to visit the island in February of 1981 - the first and only (so far) papal visit of this Pacific island.

First of all, the Overall Chairman of the Papal Visit was a Chamorro Capuchin, Father Daniel Cristobal.  He was responsible for everything on the Guam side.  For months, he ate, slept, drank the papal visit.

Secondly, all the friars, at the time, had a chance to get very close to the Pope, touching his hand. Some exchanged a few words with him.  He saw some friars and asked, "Cappuccini?  Where are your beards?" Some of the friars wore white habits, so it was harder to tell if they were Capuchin. But others, like Fr George, always wore brown so that's how the Pope recognized the friars.  In Italy and other countries in Europe, all the friars wear beards and it is their trademark.

Thirdly, the rector of the Cathedral, where the Pope's audience with the clergy, religious and leading lay people was held, and who helped coordinate the Papal Mass the next day, was the present-day Archbishop of Agaña, Capuchin Archbishop Anthony Apuron.  During the Papal Mass, he was an assistant MC and held the umbrella for the Pope.  Other friars also had a part in the liturgy, besides concelebrating.

Lastly, the Friary hosted a good number of visiting clergy from all over the world.  Some friars vacated their rooms in order to give their beds to these visitors.

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